We have a date now. 25th September. It’s still very far away and it won’t be a funeral per se.
I won’t be at the graveside service tomorrow. I’ve been though. In October, on the eve of England’s second lockdown. There is that at least. I couldn’t not have gone.
September will be much different to now. It will be torture if “social distancing” is still going on, but I feel like there’s a strong chance it won’t be. We’ve nigh on vaccinated ourselves and we’re giving doses to other countries now. The virus is no longer a deadly one for old people and it’s going to get harder for the government to justify this half-life they’ve mandated for everyone for the past year.
I’m reminded of Charles in so many small things. Inconsequential, mundane things.
Drinking tea – I don’t really drink tea, only if the alternative is unavailable. But even that. I was reminded of that cup of tea we had in the Meadows in exam leave. He wanted another but negotiated with the guy to get a top up of hot water rather than him charging a pound extra, which in all fairness was the practical solution.
Or that tearoom amid the trees near Blackford Hill. No fancy coffees, just tea in a Styrofoam cup with blue top milk or nothing.
Or Gullane, the town with the name that sounds nothing like it’s spelt. Us the sole customers after I’d pretended to be interested in bric-a-brac you were earnestly surveying at a charity shop for two minutes until I cracked. Gaudy oilcloth tables, the rugby on TV in the background.
Far from the hipster vibes of Cult Espresso, here there was no pressure to be anyone cooler than you were. But such was always the case in his company. I was happy to be wrapped up in the bodywarmer he’d offered me on that bitter cold, frosty day; walking boots caked in sand from the infinite beach.
Microwaving my mixed bean, sweet potato, curried lentil fibrous amalgam takes me back to 50 George Square that April/May of studying for finals, making use of that communal kitchen. We’d sit in the Meadows for lunch. Or that night after the Russian art lecture I felt was too Tsar-deferent under the red sky corrugated with cloud. We were approached by the ruby glint of drunk guy swigging echo falls – you and he exchanged a few lines, and he stumbled on.
Listening to Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I know I’m remembering you from an earlier phase, but you loved that song – I-so-la-tion. I can hear you sing it now, like so many of your greatest hits.
It’s been a year. And sadly, I think it’s likely I wouldn’t have seen you anyway. But I’d at least have heard your voice, been able to share my plans and you’d have told me about all your projects and schemes – I knew you would have had so many. There was no one like you and there won’t ever be again. I miss you every day.
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