A few weeks ago my friend Daniel died, by his own hand. It's taken me a while to be able to consider writing a few words about him.
Daniel was a writer, a scholar, a songwriter, a poet by vocation and by nature. A natural eccentric, angel headed hipster, one of the bohemian men of Sydney's Kings Cross, one of my people.
I haven't investigated his death. I don't want to know. Something went wrong, something broke, he wasn't the first good man to choose his own way out. Whether this was a considered choice or an accident of mental illness, I guess I'll never know. It doesn't matter now.
I'll miss a mind that always understood, a brain that stored more information than any other I've encountered. I'll miss a tough guy who never employed a physical threat, no matter how he was provoked. I'll miss an authentic individual. I'll miss talk of cooking, talk of cricket, talk of life and love, talk over coffee and cigarettes, and then some more talking. I'll miss my friend.
It can be difficult to reconcile with the idea of suicide. I can't imagine the pain for his loved ones. Daniel spent some of his forty years addicted to heroin. He'd beaten that, so why couldn't he beat whatever it was that caused his final decision?
I guess if Daniel were here we'd shrug our shoulders and laugh, "none of us are going to live forever mate, fancy another coffee? My shout . . . ", but he isn't here, and there won't be another coffee, and we'll never talk together again.
I'm crying as I write this, and laughing, knowing Daniel would have written it better, and knowing now it is still too soon to think about it too much.
There was a brotherhood between us, we'd both been broken hearted, broke, both paid a price for following our own paths, but our paths met, so I rejoice in the time they ran alongside each other. We both lived knowing that none of us are going to live forever. I mourn the passing of a fellow traveller.