Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Remember

Much has happened down in our quiet little pocket of Victoria, and I've been remiss in updating this, but I want to post today to remember an old friend and everything he means to me.

Yesterday I received the shocking news that my best friend in primary school had died last week in a terrible car accident. He was on holidays in Kakadu with his partner, a trip together before Jordan was leaving to go overseas and study for a year.

This is some of what I remember about my friend. I could write a thousand books about the fun we had, but here's the highlights.

We met on the first day of school when we sat next to each other, and both drew our J's back to front. Instantly we were fun little friends, we found everything hysterical and were soon separated in class for causing a ruckus. It didn't matter, because every playtime, lunch, after school and weekend we were inseparable.

It didn't take long for the unthinkable crime of being boyfriend and girlfriend to be the taunting finger pointed at us by most of the kids at school, but we didn't care. Well ok we did, but as future homosexuals of Australia we found familiarity and adoration in each others company and it was worth it.

If we weren't playing at each others houses we would be on the phone for hours and hours. I don't remember what we talked about, just that we had a LOT to say and most of the things we said, we said over and over again. Once we found a good joke or a good story, we'd stick to it and use it up til it was sucked dry, and then use it some more.

One of our favourite jokes was Jordan ringing me up and asking "Have you seen Problem Child 2?" I would feign annoyance and say "NO!" then we would crack up and end the call. To this day I don't understand why we found it so funny, but it still makes me smile. I still haven't seen the movie either.

I remember Jordan got a skateboard for his birthday, maybe when was 7 or 8? Mum and I went shopping to find knee and elbow pads for his birthday present, they were rainbow of course.

Jordan had the best house and the best toys, he had an Apple IIE computer, and we would play Space Invaders, Sammy Lightfoot and Lemonade Stand for hours. He had all the cool boy toys like Transformers and cars and stuff, and a giant stuffed tiger. He got an awesome bike for his birthday one year and we would ride around the streets of Somers all the time, getting lollies from the general store and playing at the beach. He even had bunk beds and stairs.

Jordan introduced me to Lucille Ball, Labyrinth and the many films of Bette Midler that were big in the 80s  and 90s. We both adored Beaches and Big Business. Camp as a row of tents and I loved him for it, because I was too.

We would make his little brother David cry by singing the alternative version of the Play School theme song that involved an electric chair and hand grenades.

Both of us found farts to be the funniest thing the world could offer up, and were fascinated by them to the point of discussing them for hours. What colour were they? How were they made? How many could we do in the space of an hour?

We never wanted the fun to end, and one day when Jordan was at my house and night had fell, his mum came to pick him up and we hid - climbing up a massive tree in my front yard so they couldn't find us. I fell out of the tree and got a huge scratch up the back of my leg. It was really funny at the time.

I still have the polaroid his dad John took of us the day he drove us to the football together for the first time, we all barracked for Carlton and I think Jordan and I were six years old. It was a long drive up to the G, listening to Young Talent Time cassettes and eating little packets of chips, then we chucked the wrappers out the window to watch them flying into the sky. Forty minutes later we would say we could still see the packets up in space.

Apon arriving at the football, we got pies, I lost my beanie and scarf that my brother loaned me and after the first siren I chucked my pie on the ground and we both announced we were bored and wanted to go home. Poor John! He drove us all the way home again and probably wanted to listen to the match on the radio, but we demanded more YTT even though Courtney was a mole.

Jordan was loved as a member of my family, even though my mean older brother would call us Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumbest. I remember on mum's birthday he would always make a point of talking to her and wishing her a happy day, making home-made cards. Unlike other kids he would always ask my parents how they were and have a chat - quite unusual for kids under ten I think.

He was quite the practical joker, and had me convinced for years that every time he sneezed he couldn't help saying "Ah-chooey-pooey!"

One year he even arranged a surprise birthday party for his mum Gervaise, hatching an elaborate plan with mum and I to arrive after he took Gervaise out to the movies, and on their arrival home the house was full of friends and music and tiny food (the greatest of all the foods) and drinks and laughter.

Jordan changed schools in grade four I think, he went to a boys school closer to his house after his mum and dad divorced, and we stayed friends. I even remember us going out in groups in high school - me and a bunch of girls from my school and him and a bunch of boys from his. Movies and timezone and pizza hut in Frankston.

We drifted apart after he went to France after high school finished, but he found me on facebook a few years ago. It was a dazzling summer Saturday when we met in the afternoon at Southbank for a few beers and a catch up. How strange to see my little friend with facial hair, so tall and broad-shouldered and in love with another man. So happy and lucky and blessed. I think Jordan made his own luck. He worked damn hard in his studies, had a brilliant career in law and a great love in his life. He was the light in so many peoples lives, and he listened with great excitement to all my tales of happiness, and truly empathised and felt the pain of the sadder tales for myself and my family.

He was so, so thoughtful and had such a big heart. I can't believe I'm using the past tense to describe the man who is my oldest friend.

Jordan, I have thought of you so much throughout our adult lives. There's no point in regretting not spending as much time together in recent years, but I want to thank you for giving me such a happy start in life. Thank you for teaching me about the boundless love of friendship and all the comfort that brings. Thanks for letting me play on your computer, we didn't have one at my house and it was really cool of you to let me play yours for hours on end. I'm sorry I cracked it at you that day the women's mud wrestling was on tv and you found it funny and I was being a staunch feminist at age 9 and told you that you weren't allowed to be my friend anymore (an empty threat that lasted all of five minutes, but five minutes is a long time when you're a little kid).

I'm finding it hard to understand that this is so final. I keep thinking of you, and in a single second my heart feels so happy to have you in it, and then remembers that you're gone and is crushed, all the wind and light gone from my sails.

Until we meet again, lovely Jordan. My heart aches for your family and friends.

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