I remember the day I met him, I remember the exact location to within a few feet, I can see it now in my mind like it was yesterday.
I was freaking out, everything was hyper real that day.
A city and a country which now are so familiar to me, on that day were like something from the most intense acid trip I’ve ever had, like a dream, a beautiful dream but one in which the blackness is palpable just out of the range of your peripheral vision.I was scared shitless.
I can still remember the exact shade of the sky.
As he still does, he made me feel relaxed that day, took away my fear, he is I now realize a bodhisattva, a word I barely knew then, but now almost 10 years later is the only word I can apply.
When I think of the things that he has led me too, the things we have shared, the 2 very real occasions where he literally saved my life, the countless other times he has helped me financially, emotionally and spiritually, I wonder where my life would be, who I would be had we never met.
The coincidences, the story that leads to that first meeting are so crazy, that if I told you, you would smile politely but inside you’d be thinking that I was making it up.
But every word of it would be the truth, a story that began 2 years before the day in question in a country thousands of miles away from that Delhi roof top.
Of all the people I have ever called friend in this life, many of whom I love to this day regardless of how long it is that we haven’t seen each other, He is the one with whom I feel most free, most utterly accepted.
Our conversations can span everything from ‘2girls1cup’ to the Mahayana philosophy of emptiness and everywhere in between and I don’t think I have ever seen even a trace of judgment in his eyes.
We have meditated together at 5,800m on Drolma La, swam in bath tub temperature crystal clear water off perfect white sand beaches, destroyed and rebuilt grade 2 listed buildings and so many other stories that to tell them all would require a talent for words far greater than mine to do them justice.
So what exactly is the point of this post?
Well, today we spoke, across the world, 13,000 miles of separation, not an unusual situation in our friendship.
But today he made me cry.
And I deserved it.
The point of this post then, is the most public of apologies.
I fucked up, I excluded him from something, and I made him feel bad.
It was not my intention, but that was the result.
You see, despite my rampant misanthropy and downright arrogance in the face of the world, I don’t think I’m better than anyone else and when it comes to him I have always thought of him as ‘Bigger,Faster,Stronger,Better’ (to misquote Daft Punk).
For me he has always been on a pedestal, my friend , my dear dear friend but always and forever better than me in every way.
Anything I can do, he can do better – usually much better.
The years of Buddhism, that he led me to, made me see how much of a better human being he is than I am.
It made him seem untouchable, unhurtable.
But, of course, he isn’t.
Bodhisattva he may be, human he definitely is.
So, sometime ago, we found ourselves in the same country. A place where I had built a life, found a niche of sorts, and begun to feel like I’d found something I was better than mediocre at.
It was so good to be together, hanging out in the same city, drinking in the same bars, letching at the same miniskirted lovelies and then heading home and deconstructing the very nature of the ‘reality’ in which we swam, fighting hard against the ceaseless flow of samsara.
I was part of a loose collective of artists who regularly got together to drink and discuss our work, and had grand plans for working together on exhibitions and book projects. There was a core membership, the people who had been there at the beginning when the thing had turned from just being some guys in a bar to something (however vaguely defined) with a name and aspirations to something greater than the individual members.
One of the other members wanted my friend in the group ‘officially’, even though at that point we hadn’t done anything but sit around and make big talk and even though there wasn’t anything official to be a part of.
It came to a vote, was he in or not?
I voted ‘no’.
Now, I could justify it a million different ways, but in truth there were only 2 reasons.
1)We had said ‘no’ to others before, hoping to have that particular project limited to just the original members, so for whatever fucked up sense of principal, it had to be a ‘no’.
and 2) A reason I’m not proud to admit and at the time was a tiny part of my decision, but a part that I now see was an influencing factor that cannot be ignored – I wanted this to be mine, for despite all that he had given me (and the worth of that could not be measured by all the Louis Viton in this fucked up city) I knew if he was part of this, he would be better at it than me. It was jealousy of his talent for everything, plain and simple.
Now, I’ve made some bad decisions in my life, selfish, stupid, truly deplorable decisions, but that decision, right now as I write this, that one tops them all.
It changed something in our friendship, made a little tiny dark corner in a hitherto limitless sea of light.
That’s what my tears were for earlier tonight during our conversation.
That little dark place that I made.
Brother (and I use the word with zero irony or ebonic intonation), you are the greatest person I have ever called friend, I respect you and your beautifully flawed (as we ALL are) humanity more than I respect anyone else who has ever called me friend.
I love you and I’m sorry.