Saturday, April 01, 2006

He Chose Something Else

Then God slapped me in the face and said to me, look somewhere else other than yourself for a moment. And he showed me my friend Ashley. Ashley walked into an O Porto Chicken Hut on Tuesday night. He made a phone call to his business partner, S. “The doctor tells me I need to admit myself to hospital tonight. I just finished what we were working on, I’m getting a bite to eat and I want to brief you on some stuff in case I’m out of commission for a few days”. S called back 90 seconds later. Less than two minutes. A young waitress answered the phone “Do you know this man? He’s just collapsed”.

By the time the ambulance and S arrived on the scene, Ashley was completely unconscious. He was pronounced Dead on Arrival at the hospital.

He had thirty-three years. That’s all he got. A massive heart attack at 33. Ash. Funny Ash with the most absurd sense of humour. He would have found it ridiculous that he died at a take-away joint. Now everyone knows he cheated on his diet. Ash who had recently met a woman he was finally prepared to commit to. He and I had a long chat about relationships. I’m scared, he told me. Because it’s real, I told him. This is it, he told me. She’s it.

Ash who looks like everyman. So much so that R and I had a way of spotting people who looked like him everywhere we went. We’d give each other points for each Ash-a-like we saw. Then we’d report the numbers back to the original Ashley. There seem to be a concentration of them all around me this week.

Ash who always wanted to make a movie with me. “Let’s make a movie” he said. “But Ash, you have no film-related skills”. “That’s where you come in” he’d tell me. Can’t fault logic like that.

Ash who gave R a job when he was retrenched. R quoted him a price and Ash refused. You’re worth far more than that. R kept suggesting appropriate salaries and Ash kept bidding him up. What a mensch.

Ash who used to travel a lot for work. If an air hostess asked him if he had baggage to take on he’d smile “Oy, do I have baggage!”.

Ash who just gave us the most generous gift when the twins were born. Ash who taught the Rabbi’s son to cheat in cards. Ash who would have been the most fabulous father. If he’d only had time.

Ash who had only just started.

Ash. Gone. And my stupid complaining about shopping malls is an empty ball of fluff because an entire universe died with Ashley.

So we’ll never make that movie together. And you’ll never be a father. And you’ll never ever be replaced. And wherever you are, sweet Ashley, I’ll keep looking for you in a crowd. I’ll keep belly-laughing at the way you saw the world. I’ll keep you close.


Blogger Ova Girl said...

That's terrible. I'm so sorry. What an awful waste. Thinking of you and R.


8:47 pm  
Blogger Neil said...

I'm sorry for this tragedy and the pain.

10:21 pm  
Blogger Urban Chick said...

oh god, how awful

life is unbelievably unfair sometimes


10:26 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

I am so sorry, that truly is a waste of a future.
I recently lost a dear friend unexpectedly and someone told me: 'Grief is like a hole. It never gets any smaller, but in time you eventually get bigger around the hole.'
Thinking of you.

12:24 am  
Blogger Louise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:25 am  
Blogger Dunn Family said...

SO sorry! Having lost two good friends in the last couple of years at the ages of 40 & 41, I know exactly how you are feeling. The truth is, we are not in control. This is a reminder to all of us that we have to make each day count. There might not be a tommorrow. Thanks for sharing with us, your friend sounded like a great guy, it also sounds like (from the little you shared) that he spent his time here on earth wisely. I hope the saddness gets better for you...a lurker, Kim

3:20 am  
Blogger Calliope said...

so so sorry. What a tragedy for someone so young.

11:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry.

3:38 pm  
Blogger LJ said...

I'm so sorry, YC.
This is a beautiful tribute to a friend.

11:58 pm  
Blogger shlinki said...

that is so sad. i'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

7:26 pm  
Blogger surly girl said...

sorry for your loss. that's the second time i've said that today..what a world.

8:15 pm  
Blogger -Rama said...

What a wake-up call to value what we have in our worlds! I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend and my heart hurts thinking of your hurt - love to you both

8:16 pm  
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7:04 pm  
Blogger surly girl said...

time to switch on the word verification, yc.

stupid fucking spammers.

7:48 pm  
Blogger Van Dino said...

There are no words. Only to say I'm thinking of you.

9:49 am  
Blogger Lin said...

And the world is so very much poorer when it loses someone like your Ash.

Twenty years from now, when you and R are sitting quietly together reflecting on life and your almost adult children, you will talk about Ash with the very same fondness and sadness that you feel today. Some people are just like that. They matter too much to be gone.

6:30 am  

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