Dear School Friend,
Day after day, year after year, we walked those grey corridors and talked about the homework that was due that day.
Neither of us were what you’d call ‘cool’, yet we were both good at things we did in our own ways.
You were one of four super brains that always sat up front.
I wasn’t far behind, usually in the 2nd row.
Us girls chatted about what was on TV. You didn’t really watch much TV. You spent your time practising the piano and becoming fluent in French and Spanish.
No one really knew how you did that. You still managed to be in top sets for pretty much every subject. I know I was working my ass off to be there, and you just seemed to blag it without trying. OK, so your shirt was always hanging out, shoe laces undone, and you’d be finishing your homework whilst queuing up for lessons, but you still pulled it off.
People laughed at you
I am sure I did at times too. You had quirky ways but you weren’t bothered what anyone thought.
My parents knew yours though and for that reason, I felt more loyalty towards you.
I didn’t like to see you sad.
We didn’t chat on the phone or hang out on weekends, but it didn’t mean we didn’t feel comfortable enough to chat in lessons. We often helped each other out with homework we’d forgotten or misunderstood.
When the time came to leave, although we went to the same college, we went our separate ways.
I wasn’t really sure what happened to you after that, but I always knew you were pursuing what you loved.
Fast forward 11 years and there you were at a mutual friend’s wedding.
We were both completely different people, yet we had a riot together.
We drank wine and danced our socks off. You sat on my knee and we posed for photos together.
I really liked the person you had become.
The next few years saw the occasional message, comments and likes on each other’s posts, and gestures to meet up (which never transpired).
And then today
I learned that you’d passed away.
I don’t know how to express how utterly shaken and saddened I am by the news.
I wish we’d met up. I wish we’d made more of an effort.
I wish it hadn’t happened. You are far too young.
People have had nothing but good things to say about you today. I wish you could have seen them and to know how much you’d touched people’s lives. Even me, a friend on the periphery.
The people we grow up with are not always the ones who stay around forever, but they are the ones that give us memories. The times shared help us become the people we grow into.
We can all try to turn our backs on those times and aim to be ‘new’ people, but we can’t forget the parts of the puzzle.
I am sorry that I wasn’t a better friend to you at school, and I am sorry that I didn’t keep in touch more.
I am sorry your family are now grieving the loss of a much loved son, brother and partner.
It is just not fair, and my heart is heavy tonight.
But you have taught me one final lesson…
Stop putting things off, appreciate what I have now, and worry about tomorrow if it happens.
Rest in peace, Friend. x