One of the first things Regular John ever said to me was how it was his dream to be a police man in Australia. That was on msn messenger in 2005 perhaps. Seems a lifetime ago. In the early hours of Tuesday morning he went to Belfast to get the first of 4 flights that would take him to the land of Oz. I can’t believe it! He is my M’s best friend and is a great, great friend to us. He is planning at least two years, I have a feeling we may never see him again.
In the kitchen there is food and friends, there is teasing and in me a growing panic at the moment of goodbye. I creep upstairs to the loo. Behind one of the dark doors a little brother is sleeping. He will struggle in the next few weeks. In the bathroom the rain taps and lashes against a shrouded skylight that I had never noticed before. The sound is turbulent but comforting like the atmosphere downstairs and my mixed feelings.
We will miss him.
I think of him, tomorrow. a lone figure in Singapore airport waiting for his next flight. Maybe listening to Queens of the Stoneage, his namesake song Regular John. Tears needle my eyes.
We stand, awkwardly in the hall. His hug lifts me off my feet. The two men friends shake hands before resigning to the hug. Say your prayers. Keep in touch. Look after yourself. It’s what you’ve always wanted, man. Happy days.
No words enough. His face suddenly downcast. I cry on the drive home. M holds my knee. ‘It’s a good thing.’
Maybe I’m being overdramatic. I’ve had an emotional week so far. Our twenties seem difficult. Everyone finding themselves, or trying to….
Good luck my friend. Until we meet again.
*From the chorus of Regular John by QotSA (why are all the videos so sleazy?!) See what I did there.