A friend of mine died a few days ago.
His name was Matt.
I met him while I was at university. I’m not entirely sure how he joined the circle of friends I was in then. It was via someone who wasn’t me. If I’m honest – and I suppose I should be – I have to say I didn’t particularly like him at first. Now – this was ultimately due to me rather than him. He kinda breezed into the group with what seemed like a pretty effortless charm and confidence. The masses flocked to him, and I – who had been, and still am, fairly socially awkward and self-conscious – was jealous.
There – I said it.
But, it was hard not to fall into the gravity well of his personality. He was, as I said, charming. And funny. And intelligent. In great abundance.
We were very different people. Back then especially - but I’ve grown up a little since. It was only as he was leaving the country that I really getting to like him.
Typical, huh ?
But over the years I got to see him now and again. He’d come back and we’d see him for an evening or two. On one occasion Viv and I were in England and got to see him on his ‘home turf’. It was always good to see him and hear about his exploits.
When my boys were born we sent them really thoughtful gifts. Angelo got a little plush robot and soft toy rabbit. Lorenzo got a really neat soft toy tiger. While Lorenzo is still too young to really appreciate the tiger ( or any toy really – his favourite toy at the moment is a cooling rack for baking ), Angelo came to LOVE the rabbit. It’s one of his three special bed-time toys, and he always has to have the bunny when he goes to sleep.
I was thinking just last week how I should send Matt a message through FaceBook and tell him how much Angelo loves the rabbit.
On Friday I came home, and Viv told me that Matt had died.
It shook me up – I can tell you. He was older than me – but not that much older.
It’s been playing on my mind these last few days.
If there’s something good I pull out of this terrible, sad, unfair thing, then I guess it’s this.
Okay – so it’s clichéd. But it’s so, so true. Don’t wait. Do the things now. Before doors close and they’re lost to you forever.
I should have messaged Matt last week when I thought of telling him about Angelo’s rabbit. He would have liked to know that. I should have told him. Why didn’t I ?
I thought there would be time. Why wouldn’t I ? It wasn’t like Matt was old or sick. I had all the time in the world to tell him how much my son loved the gift he’d been given.
Only I didn’t have time. Time ran out on Friday. And now I’ll never be able to tell him and he’ll never know. And that saddens me on a profound level. Not being able to tell him that small thing.
We never know when our number is up. Do the things.
Goodbye Matt. I’m glad you got to meet Angelo that New Year’s Eve in 2010. I wish you could have met Lorenzo.
Thank you for the gifts you got my boys. Angelo really loves that little blue bunny you got him. It’s one of his special bed-time toys – he’s got to have it with him every night. There have been some nights where Dada has had to launch special search parties to find and retrieve him before going to bed can happen. I’m sure Lorenzo will come to love his tiger just as much.
I’m sorry I was a bit of a jerk in those early days. It wasn’t you. It was me.
I’m sorry I never did you the painting I always promised I would.
I’m sorry you didn’t get more time.
I’ll always remember roleplaying with you at university, and that time at my 21st where the glass of water you gave me turned out to actually be vodka – with suitably hilarious results. And walking around London with you, telling me about the history of the Michelin man. And all the other memories I have – that are still far too few.
You were a good guy Matt. I still can’t believe you’re gone.
I’ll miss you.