fountain-pen

Childhood Friend

Toe ek 'n kind was,,en,Ek het 'n vriend in die buurt gehad,,en,'N slim,,en,en effens nerdig,,en,kind,,en,nie anders as myself nie,,en,Ons het gewoond geraak,,en,speel pluimbal en doen fisiese eksperimente,,en,Teen die tyd was ons tieners,,en,ons het van mekaar af weggedryf,,en,soos ons paaie afwyk,,en,Ek het die IIT-VSA gegaan,,en,globale-burger-roete en beland in Singapoer,,en,hy,,en,van meer beskeie ambisies,,en,by die huis gebly,,en,en het 'n werk gelyk aan wat my pa gebruik het,,en,Ek het gehoor van hom,,en,alhoewel ek nooit regtig in hom gehardloop het nie,,en,Hy het getroud,,en,het waarskynlik 'n paar kinders gehad,,en,en alles moes glad gegaan het,,en,selfs 'n bietjie dully,,en,Maar 'n paar jaar gelede het hy skielik aan leukemie gesterf,,en,vriendskap,,en,parker pen,,en,N ander dag,,en,Nog 'n Amerikaanse skoolskietery,,en,Die voorspelbare nasleep sal wees,,en,gedagtes en gebede,,en, I had a friend in the neighborhood. A smart (and slightly nerdy) kid, not unlike myself. We used to hang out, play badminton and do physics experiments. By the time we were teenagers, we kind of drifted apart, as our paths diverged. Later, I went the IIT-USA, global-citizen-route and ended up in Singapore. He, of more modest ambitions, stayed back at home, and got a job roughly similar to what my father used to do. I kept hearing of him, although I never really ran into him. He got married, probably had a couple of kids, and everything must have been going smoothly, even a bit dully. But a couple of years ago he suddenly died of leukemia.

The news of the death of a friend is a bit of a milestone in life. It is a reminder that your generation is beginning to wilt and wither, falter and fall. This particular death was actually the fourth one (that I know of) among my contemporary friends and classmates. Ja, we have begun to fade away.

This death also gave me a sense of incompleteness, or the opposite of closure. In order to explain it fully, I have to tell you about my strange relationship with pens. It started early. When I was about four, Ek smashed my dad’s favorite pen, as a favor to him. About ten years later, I lost another fancy pen, which resulted in a lesson in tough love – presumably a favor to me. The tough-love treatment probably left me depressed for a while, en hierdie kinderjare van my het my vriendelik en onbaatsugtig my eie, fyn Parker-pen gegee om my pyn te verlig,,en,Dit was 'n geheime projek van my om hom 'n ordentlike Parker-pen te kry,,en,Ek het altyd gevoel dat ek tyd gehad het,,en,en het nooit rondgekom om dit te doen nie,,en,Ewe skielik,,en,Ek vind myself te laat,,en,Ek het 'n paar ander geheime projekte soos hierdie een,,en,Ek hoop dat die teikens en ek lank genoeg bly om hulle deur te sien,,en,Maar wie weet,,en,Die voltooiing van die projek kan dalk 'n flop wees,,en,'n anti-klimaks,,en,Wanneer ek my kosbare geskenk oorhandig,,en,swaar met lang jare van afwagting en emosies,,en,die ontvanger kan wel iets sê,,en,Ek weet nie waaroor jy praat nie,,en,mate,,en,maar dankie in elk geval,,en,Ek dink die geskenk is nie so baie vir hulle nie,,en,maar vir myself,,en.

It was secret project of mine to get him a decent Parker pen some day. I always felt that I had time, and never got around to doing it. All of sudden, I find myself too late. I do have couple of other secret projects like this one, I hope the targets and I stay alive long enough to see them through. But who knows, may be the completion of the project may have been a flop, an anti-climax. When I hand over my precious gift, heavy with long years of anticipation and emotions, the recipient may well say something like, “I don’t know what you are talking about, mate, but thanks anyway!” I guess the gift is not so much for them, but for myself, en ek hoop dat ek nie weer tyd loop nie,en.

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