Friday 6th January, 2012
Please excuse the crappy yellow legal pad. Had I waited to find fancy stationery, I might never have sat down to write. Your parents are still listed at Blecker Street, so I’m sending the letter there and hopefully they’ll pass it on to you.
Why don’t I just ring your dad, see if you’re alive and well, and get your phone number or an email address? I can’t. I need to write and do it old school with pen and paper. Think about each word before I put it down (and swear because my hand is already aching from writing more than I have in a decade). To send an email would be like warping the fabric of space and time. But then again, writing a letter to you after so long feels a little like that anyway.
When we sat at The Point watching the sun come up on 1992, I believed in an eternity of New Year’s Eves with you, my best friend, by my side. I had no idea it would be our last.
Just so you know, it hasn’t taken me twenty years to forgive you for not showing up at my farewell party. Or at the bus the next day. You did me a favour. Had you come to say good-bye, I don’t think I would have had the courage to go and leave you behind.
I quit my job at the end of last year. Decided it was time for a sea change, to reassess what’s important in life. Important to me. I’ve bought an old weatherboard cottage just up the coast from Coffs Harbour. It’s not Piper’s Reach (I couldn’t go back there) but I’m near the ocean again. I can lie awake at night and hear the crash of the waves, smell the salt and seaweed.
Finding the shoebox with your letters and other teenage stuff (I still have the chewie wrapper you gave me the first day we met) it felt like no time had passed. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve lived several lives since then. Guess I have in a way.
Reading your old letters, there were events I remembered and others I’d forgotten — like the first thing I ever said to you was I didn’t kiss boys, so you thought I was a lesbian until I pashed Bart Lehmann at the Year 10 social. Shit! Some things and some people are best left forgotten. But you are not one of those people, Jude. Despite the years of silence, I never forgot you.
You always said The Waterboys wrote ‘The Whole of the Moon’ about us, and while you said it was me seeing the whole of the moon, it was you who was the optimist. No one has ever filled those shoes since I left Pipers.
I’m done with the wandering in the wilderness. I want to reconnect with what I left behind. I hope you have the time and inclination to write back. I could use a friend like you in my life (and no, that’s not code for ‘I’m going through a messy divorce’).
P.S. I realised I still press hard enough for your patented brand of reverse Braille. Some things never change!
P.P.S: Placebo’s ‘Pure Morning’ is playing. The mention of stormy weather, friends in need, and thoughts compressing all seem rather fitting as I fold this up and go in search of an envelope.