Dear Clare

I’ve been doing some soul-searching recently. A post by another blogger upset me and I’ve been trying to work out why. It brought up a lot of feelings about a friend who died when I was a child, feelings I thought I had moved past. I was wrong.

I think the reason it upset me so much is because I’m not religious. I respect people who are but I don’t believe in Heaven; I believe I will never see my friend again and being confronted by her death was very painful. It actually made me cry and I haven’t cried in a long time.

What I realised from it is that I’ve never really said goodbye to Clare; I was too young to understand and I’ve never had a chance to make peace with her death. I wrote this by hand last night and the pages are still wet. I thought I’d make it public, as a tribute to my friend… and as my way of saying goodbye.

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Dear Clare,

When we were young we were close friends. What I remember about that time often feels more like a dream than something real, it was so long ago. And yet other times it seems as clear as yesterday. I remember how you could be so serious and yet your smile could light up the room; how your hair used to fall across your face. And how you were a loyal friend. I was never able to tell you what that meant to me… and then you were taken away.

I didn’t understand what had happened to you for a long time; how do you explain death to a child? How do you explain that some of us are born to live long lives and others to die as their lives are just beginning? Now when I think of you it’s tinged with sadness, not just for your loss, but because I never had the chance to say goodbye.

There’s so much of you I don’t remember, so much I wish I could. Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? A doctor? A dancer? When I think of you now I find myself wondering if you knew you were about to die. Were you afraid as you fell? Was your last sound a scream or is the last thing we should remember of you your sweet laughter?

I think about you often and wonder what kind of person you might have become. You’d be out of university now; or would you have chosen another path? You might have been married, a mother; a writer, an artist… you could have been so many things but we will never know. The only thing I know is you would have been a wonderful person, because you already were.

In many ways all that I am today I owe to you. When I remember all your potential and who you could have been, it makes me want to be a better person. The lives we might have chosen might have been very different but as long as I hold a piece of you in my heart, I feel that perhaps your death was not so meaningless and that you share in my life. It’s not much to offer but it is all I have to give.

Your death has stayed with me all these years and I realise I must allow myself to say goodbye. But it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I don’t believe in God or Heaven; to me you are gone forever and I must accept that I will never see you again. That I will never see you smile or hear you laugh again; never be able to tell you what you meant to me. While I hold on to your death I cannot celebrate your life. And so I must let you go.

Clare, you mean so much to me and you always will. You will be in my thoughts and my heart; in my dreams and my words. I will never forget you and the joy your brief life brought to mine. I am who I am because of you and I hope you would be proud of me, as I have always been proud of you.

Goodbye, my friend. I miss you. I love you. I’ll remember you. Forever.

Christopher.

Turn off your damn phone

No iPhones!

Dear Mr. Inconsiderate,

Remember me? I’m the young man who had the misfortune of sitting next to you on the bus the other day. Yes, the bearded guy with the big nose. So you do remember me. I’m glad because I definitely remember you.

Could you do me a favour? The next time someone sits next to you, do you think you could turn off your phone and spare them and the rest of the bus the details of your love life? I mean, seriously, when you weren’t deafening me and swearing like a maniac, you were busy reading your texts aloud. Can’t you be out of touch for 10 minutes? Will the world implode?

Don’t get offended. I’m sure you’re a lovely guy when you stop shouting. I just don’t see why, when I’ve been out for hours and had a rotten day, that I should have to listen to your conversation. It’s got nothing to do with me. And I don’t want to have to listen to you having phone sex with your partner either.

The truth is I like to keep to myself. I don’t mind it if people talk around me but can’t you give me a little privacy? Perhaps talk more quietly and turn towards the window? It was bad enough when everyone’s mobiles rang at once and sounded like an opera (Wagner’s Ride of the iPhones) but with you talking near my ear the whole time, I felt like I was eavesdropping and didn’t know what to do.

I just don’t see why it’s so hard to be out of contact for a few minutes. Is something so urgent that you have to speak to someone at that moment? Cnt ur txt w8? A long time ago we didn’t even have mobile phones; I know, I’m shocked too! I think it was back in the 18th century, just before Al Gore invented the Internet. What would you have done then? Read a book?

I’m saying this because I think it’s something you should know. Maybe you’re a loud talker; maybe you’re half-deaf. Maybe you’re just a pervert who enjoys having phone sex in public. Whatever. If you show a little courtesy, it’ll come back to you. So next time you’re on the bus, could you turn off your damn phone, or at least be more discrete? I know I’ll thank you and I’m sure the other passengers will too.

One last thing. You might want to lay off the aftershave. Just saying.

Insincerely yours,
CJ Writer.


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So I might have gone a bit overboard. 🙂 Do mobile phones bother anyone else, though? I hate it when people use them on buses and trains; they always start shouting and seem oblivious. Can’t I have a little peace on the way home?

And then there are those sex moan ringtones. I heard one on the bus the other day; I guess it was a joke but there were kids on the bus. I wasn’t laughing. 😕