23 June 2016

Paul is a friend of mine

Cancer you suck.

Paul. We became friends when I was about 16 or 17 and stayed that way despite a couple of marriages, different states, different countries, different life paths and different communication styles.

We spent a lot of years talking all the time and a lot of years talking rarely and then... well you get it.

Paul was a pretty relaxed guy. I used to joke that he was so relaxed he was practically in a coma. That was until I saw him in a coma this week and realised that there was no comparison.  None at all.

We weren't friends because we did everything the same way or agreed on all the same things.  I think Paul has called me a "fucking idiot" more than most if the truth be told.  For all that he was relaxed, he was a cantankerous soul when the mood took him.

He was a gentle man though. And a kind one. 

When I was driving down to Canberra to say goodbye to him a couple of days ago, I was thinking about him and some of the funny things that happened during our friendship.  I remember watching Silence of the Lambs with him and some other friends and one part of the movie made me start so badly that I accidentally bit him on the shoulder. Don't ask me how - but I couldn't have bitten a nicer man.

We did some crazy stuff Paul and I. One time, just to see if we could, we climbed over the back fence of the Governor General's house and went for a wander just to see if we could get away with it. We could. We did. We also learned it's harder to get out of the Governor General's back yard than it is to get in. 

I wouldn't try that now kids. It was a different time. 

We had fun without breaking the law too. Just the ordinary kind of fun you have with friends. We all went on road trips, camping, pub nights, house parties, the usual. 

He was the guy who loved your boyfriends when you did, and hated them for you afterwards. He was the guy when you went caving that was quite happy just to faff about and wait for you. He was happy to hang out, or to go adventuring. He had a bizarre soft spot for soft animals and was completely liquid about real ones. He drove like a lunatic. He thought too much and could sulk to Olympic standards. 

He gave great hugs. And because he didn't say much, he was the perfect companion for somebody who says too much. He had a happy laugh. The kind that made you laugh even if you didn't know why. He was encouraging. He was interested. He had a terrible sense of humour. He had the best sense of humour. 

Paul briefly regained consciousness while I was visiting him. While it was harrowing to see him so ill, that final visit is always going to be one of the most beautiful memories I have of him. The room was full of the love his family had for him. They held his hand, they held his gaze, they were able to tell him how much he was loved. They helped him fight, and then yesterday, they let him go.

Paul will always be a friend of mine. And I will always miss him.

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