I received this email this morning:
My response may come as at least something of a surprise to you.
I have given the matter much thought, and have decided to favour directness over tact.
Simply put, I have no desire to see you or communicate with you again.
The first line was indeed accurate. At the very least, it was a surprise. It felt like a kick in the heart.
It’s been about five years since Nigel (name changed to protect, etc.) seen each other. Last time we were together was shortly after my friend Andy’s funeral. Both Nigel and I had known Andy when we were younger. It was, in fact, Andy that introduced Nigel and I to each other. Nigel had elected not to go to the funeral, a decision I totally understood. I went. It was on my 30th birthday. It was a hard day, but it was nice to hug Andy’s family and give my condolences. I sent along Nigel’s wishes as well. We spent that evening together sipping beer and sharing Andy stories.
More recently, I had invited Nigel to a gig I have coming up. As I said, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and I thought it might be a great time to catch up, and I know Nigel is a big fan of good music.
Nigel and I had played music together when we were younger. We had both come from pretty dark childhoods, and we were a natural fit for each other. He was instrumental (ha, no play on words intended, but I’ll take it) in my pursuit of the electric bass, and many were the night we sat in his mother’s living room – him on his white Strat, me on my black P-bass – grooving out Cream tunes, Zeppelin tunes, and all sorts of blues jams. We were pretty good together, and his classical training as a guitar player helped me become a much more technically proficient bassist.
Nigel introduced me to my favourite beer, Sleeman’s Cream Ale. He opened the door to the great 60’s blues bands to me, made me appreciate bands like Cream and Hot Tuna. Classical music like Paganini. Modern glam rock like Queen.
We discovered cigarettes together. And pot. And hangovers. Repo Man and lime pickle and hot peppers and chutney. He taught me a bit about British culture, and I taught him how to quarter a chicken in ten seconds and drink coffee. We had good times in those dark days. I guess we grew up together.
As often happens with these things, we grew apart. Nigel went away to university and I ended up having kids and getting married.
Maybe the time between Andy’s funeral and now was just too long. Maybe Nigel is trying to cut away the parts of his life that he associates with bad times. There certainly were enough of those. Maybe he’s building a new life, one that’s not going to painted with those familiar colors of the past. Maybe chickens are coming home to roost, or the planets aligned in a weird way. Or it’s Friday. Or my feet smell. Or something.
It’s likely I’ll never know why Nigel sent me this response.
Maybe some day he’ll read this and know that I miss him.