Sometimes it’s hard not to employ a cliché. Like the way people say, ‘He was the nicest guy I knew. No one ever saw him bitch about anyone, be angry or rude.’
He was one of the nicest people I ever knew. He was kind, intelligent, wildly funny, and a brilliant musician. I had known him for 15 years. He sat at the back of the class and drew absurdly funny doodles. He was the definition of cool when we saw him on stage, wearing that hat low over his eyes and spinning those drumsticks like a magician. Thirteen years ago, he lent me his Nevermind cassette.
I last saw him at a party more than a year ago. He had recovered from a bone marrow transplant and was laughing his infectious, high-pitched laugh like he used to.
The there was the horrible banality of the relapse. I went to Mumbai specifically to see him. I didn’t. Maybe I was scared. The chemo had already begun, again. Maybe it was because the hospital was 2 hours away, and it was raining like the end of the world. Not enough to stop me from going to pubs in the middle of the night, though. I suppose you don’t always get the friends you deserve.
The second transplant was too much for his frail body. I imagine it would be for anyone.
No. I can read Pulitzer-winning books about it. I can read articles about how targeted gene-therapy is revolutionizing medicine. But I can’t imagine.
A month ago, I wrote to him. I asked him if he could meet. He never replied.
In the end, he was surrounded by people who loved him. I hope that gave him some solace, some joy. And I hope I never forget.