best friend

24 07 2010

i’d never used the expression “best friend”, ever, until “one of my closest friends” Tony passed away suddenly & unexpectedly (brain aneurism) just over 3 years ago.  “best friend” always seemed too exclusionary to me. *i* had an *inner circle* of friends, where all were equal, thankyouverymuch!

it’s his birthday today, and a bunch of his inner circle & family are descending on Melbourne for a warm dinner of reminiscing & laughs, should be a great night, & brunch with some of them again tomorrow.

call me lucky (particularly with the AIDS epidemic deaths of the 90s), but other than my grand parents, Tony is by far the closest person i’ve lost to the randomness of death.

we met at the Flinders Hotel (twinkville, ah those were the days ;), one dark wintery night in ’95.  my version of the story is that it was him who tried to pick me up, tho he always politely begged to differ, as apparently it was me who offered my phone number first ;).  whilst we never actually got around to doing what two gay guys do so readily, thus began the closest and most intimate friendship i think i’ve ever had.

Tony was awesome.  i could list two dozen superlative adjectives right off the top of my head now and still not come close to doing him justice.  despite having an enormous circle of friends all over the world and Australia from his extensive travels, somehow he was able to make each one feel like the most important person in the world, when ever he was able to spend time with them – and he always went out of his way to do so.  i often felt a little intimidated that despite having so many extraordinary friends from such diverse walks of life, i held a place in his life that few did.

out of the blue one day around christmas 2005, he pensively confessed he was in love with me.  i was gobsmacked.  why now, after a decade of friendship?  such is the mystery of love.  whilst he was the closest person to me in the world, and i loved him greatly, it just wasn’t that kind of love.  but could it grow to become that, given this prod, this opportunity with a man who had such a huge heart?  i’m ashamed to say, i never gave it a chance.  and for many months our friendship suffered, including a very awkward holiday to Perth & Byron Bay a month later.

time passed and wounds healed, and Tony’s heart moved on – though sadly, to someone else who didn’t reciprocate his love.  in that, Tony & I were also alike, having not found true equal love for great stretches of our lives.

i’ll never know now if that could’ve worked for us.  but i wish it had.

Happy Birthday my dearest Tony.