I was sorting through some old video footage and suddenly there he was. Crossing a beach towards me, carrying a bottle of champagne, saying something silly, lit by the most gorgeous end of perfect day light.
And it made me cry.
We haven't seen him for 3 years, but he used to be a very special friend. He's not dead, he's not even very far away, he's just gone, and there's nothing we can do about that.
It's not that I even want to see him, he's caused so much pain and been such a silly, stupid stupid person that the friendship, the fondness, the intimacy we had no longer exists.
To see him now would just be upsetting, ethereal and pointless. Like a ghost.
In so many ways it would be much easier if he was. If he'd died we could've mourned him. We could remember him, the times we had, without the hurt and the anger. If there was a grave or a memorial place we could visit it and laugh through our tears. We could share memories with the others who knew him, some of whom carry a much greater hurt, we could reclaim, untainted, that part of our lives we shared with him.
As I looked at that body that, for never having known (in the Biblical sense,) I knew so well, as I looked at those hands which played music, made beautiful things, remembered the texture of that crazy hair, heard the voice with which I'd talked and laughed so much, for the first time in 3 years I no longer felt just anger.
I just felt sad.
Ghosts walk among us. I felt the presence of one today, and after all this time I still can't help wondering if he ever feels mine.