He knew my friend from the Scouts, but he was also in the school's theatre club, as was another friend of mine. He was nine months younger than me. As we now shared a circle of friends, we got to know each other. I fell in love with him. Apparently for everyone else it was quite obvious that there was something going on, but for me not so much; though of course I hoped.
We became close friends. When watching Interview With The Vampire together he got me to promise to tell him who I'm in love with. I was terribly nervous. I didn't know what to do. But somehow I managed to kiss his cheek and say "You know very well who it is that I'm in love with" (sometimes probably it's best if you just do something without thinking). He said he had hoped I'd say that and we kissed.
He was amazing. He was highly intelligent, one of the most intelligent people I ever met. He joked about inventing a number that will turn every calculation true and will be divisible by zero. He was funny, he made me laugh. He loved to discuss things and wanted to become a lawyer. He loved Star Trek and did role-playing (pen & paper and live-action). He smelled good, I think he used Tabak Culture. He was handsome, he had very blue eyes.
Actually... one blue eye. When he was 13 he had a tumour in one eye and since then had a glass eye (which was blue, too, of course). I think it was something very rare and usually not malignant.
It didn't last that long. I don't know how long exactly, maybe three months. I have forgotten what he said when he broke up with me, but he was charming. I can remember that he put a hand on my shoulder as I cried. He said we could stay friends, but soon later seemed not interested in it anymore. So for a while we had not much contact.
But he still owed me a pizza because of a bet he lost. So sometime later we had dinner together and got along well. Very slowly we became friendly with each other again.
By that time I had finished school and didn't see him so often anymore. He was preparing for his finals. But he had been ill for a while and they couldn't quite figure out what it was. At one point they thought it was hepatitis, something with his liver. I had been trying to call him for a while, but couldn't reach him. Finally one of his parents answered the phone. They told me he was in hospital - and the diagnosis was cancer. At that time I was too dumbfounded to say or ask anything more. Later, through friends, I found out he had cancer in his liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. As I understood it, it was something very rare and there was no best practice treatment.
Of course it sounds like a death sentence. But somehow, hope always remains.
He was treated with thermotherapy and chemotherapy. It was hard trying to reach his family. By a friend I was told that he didn't want visitors, but when I finally got his brother on the phone, he said it was OK, except during thermotherapy when he wasn't feeling well. To this day I'm mad at this girl - I suspected she was in love with him, but saying something like this in such a situation...
So it came that I only saw him once more. I visited him in the hospital and as usual he was joking around with the nurses.
I got the call some time later, from a friend. She told me he had died. I stayed calm; she said she was glad, she had been afraid of telling me. My parents were in the living room, my mum was ironing and my dad was watching TV. I was trying to tell them, but I couldn't say anything. What are you supposed to say? "He's dead" - just like that? I started crying. My mum somehow understood what happened and hugged me. My dad was asking us to tell him what was going on.
He had been Catholic. I heard there were so many altar servers wanting to serve at his funeral that they couldn't let all of them. It was in March. He was 19, he would have had finished school that summer, no doubt with top-notch grades.
The chapel was full of young people.I sat apart from my friends, the girls of my class; I can't really remember why. I remember a friend of his sat beside me, he had been doing live-action roleplaying with him and his girlfriend had known him since they were kids. There were some speeches. When the priest said that probably all the people here were asking themselves these questions: Why? Why him? Why so early? - that's when I started to cry. I remember the guy next to me putting his hand on my shoulder. He left it there throughout the whole service, his crying girlfriend in the other arm. Someone of the family held a speech, too, and a friend. I wondered back then and I still do, how he managed to do this, how he could be so brave to stand up there and talk about one of his best friends who just died. He said if he could see him standing there in a suit and telling everyone what a wonderful person he was, my ex-boyfriend would probably laugh and say "nah, enough, it's ok". He reminded us of all the good times we had together. It was heart-breaking.
There was a memorial at school, too. And his family rented the café we were always going to for one evening and invited all of his friends. Reminiscing, sharing stories. There were a lot of young tough guys that night, being drunk and crying.
Actually it's that time that made me realize that rock guys are the best. It wasn't my friends, the girls from my class, taking care of me at that time. It was the guys, his friends. It was his friend, putting his hand on my shoulder when I cried. Other friends kept looking out for me, telling others to wait when we were walking somewhere and I was falling back.
I forgot a lot about my first love. I forgot how he sounded, I forgot his laugh, I forgot his smell. Sometimes I find myself wondering what he'd be doing today. Would he be a lawyer? Would he have his own family (he loved kids)? I find myself thinking "oh, he would have loved that" about some new movie or something. Sometimes I might miss him a little. I wish I could call him and talk things through with him, and maybe then I'd know what to do.
He's burried in the same grave as his grandparents. It's not far from where my parents live and sometimes when I'm visiting them I go there and put up a candle.
Next to his name there's a sign, a circle with a dot in the middle. I've been told it's a sign the Scouts use, it means "I've fulfilled my task here and went home".