My high school years were the inspiration for “That 70’s show” except, at our hangout, there were a lot more of us and “Eric” had a black lab named Duke. It is inconceivable to me that it was fifty years ago that we threw the caps of our little brown stubbies into a giant basket by the basement TV while his Mother baked pies upstairs. Weather permitting we would move our partying to bonfires at Spanish Banks West.
Over the years, one of the high school gang would give me a call if he was in town, and we would go for a drink. Once his parents were gone he had no reason to come back to Vancouver. He could never understand why I never left, he couldn’t wait to leave. We met in Kindergarten and he was a part of most of the major events of my formative years. We progressed from elementary school to hanging with the high school gang in a basement to, I don’t know how to describe it… He taught me how to do my taxes, lectured me on skipping out of high school classes and at one point, when I was 20, drove me to Abbotsford and forced me to meet my father for the first time. He took me to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid on a motorcycle over the Lions Gate Bridge.
In ’81 he flew in to see his parents and we met for our usual drink. It was different this time though ’cause I had met, and was living with E. He said to me “you seem different”. I told him I was really happy and was going to marry “this new guy”. He promised to come back from Saudi for our wedding, and he did.
As E and I now sit in the hot tub when the sun goes down, enjoying the view with sea lions randomly peeking their heads up to look at us, we acknowledge that we are indeed living our best life. We are so fortunate to have each other and to have these days still together. Life is so friggin’ short, we do not take them for granted.
The last time I saw Bill was at the local Ladner pub in 2008. He called, ’cause he was in town wrapping up his Mom’s affairs. I managed to track down three of the other guys and E came to take a picture. After 60 years of friendship with you Bill, and yes you will always be Bill to me, not Stu, I just assumed our random drinks together would go on ’til, well forever.
I didn’t realize this would be the last time
I would see you