You know, every now and then God throws you an orange starburst; a Catherine wheel of a starburst which spins and envelops you in its fiery glow and you twirls in crazy fashion, you are all liquid smiles, floating three feet above the ground. That happened to me lately. A strange confluence of circumstances brought back to me the my closest friend ever, the buddy of my youth.
More then fifty years ago we pranced around the streets of Colombo along with our other friends. We drank, we smoked cigars and quoted poetry and prose at each other. We acted in plays and we walked the paths under rain soaked trees. There were Brian, Pip, Chandra, Austin, Owen and a few others. But Peter and I formed this special bond. We both read voraciously and Peter opened to me whole boxes of dreams. There was a whole world out there I did not know existed. Being brought up in a sheltered village I did not know for instance that Western classical music existed. I remember vividly him taking me upstairs, seating me in a comfortable chair overlooking the garden and putting on a record and saying to me, “now imagine an autumn scene, the leaves falling and it is late, the sun is going down; listen and sense it in the music”. Then he would go off to have a bath leaving me with a jar of his mother’s home made fudge and a cup of sweet milky tea.
Then there was the whole raft of European writers he introduced me to and plays and songs and ideas. That was my coming out! Then we parted. He to Australia and me to England. We wrote letters, in long hand, and we read, and re-read and treasured each others letters. Then, time spun us into our own smokey world and we lost touch; each of us busy with life, work, family. We had both grown older by the time I woke up to the loss and I tried, trawling the net for any news of him. Miracles still happen to those who wait, or maybe it is a concentration of wills. This came about as a true confluence of circumstances. The beautiful Fiona, the daughter of one of Peter’s closest friends brought us together. How that happened is unbelievably intricate. But the miracle happened.
I was in trepidation thinking Peter would have changed and grown stolid and self contained like so many of my other friends. But to my utter delight he is just as I left him all those years ago. We talked and we talked on the phone. Memories came flooding back and choked tears at the memories, such sweet times we had.
We talked back our youth. It was as if the ravages that time has wrecked on our bodies did not exist; or it was irrelevant. I am breathing again the bliss of life, the fizz of life. That is what my friendship with Peter has always done to me, releasing me to float with the stardust.
So folks, be optimistic. Life has strange promises up its sleeve. The photo was taken many years ago around from where I live. It shows I think best my mood of hope and sadness.