I don’t know whether you’d die laughing or of embarrassment, but you’re trending on Twitter. ‘Trendy Den’. Not sure if you ever watched Eastenders, but one of the main characters years ago was ‘Dirty Den’. So, ‘Trendy Den’ it is.
Everyone is having a bevvy in your honour & reflecting on how much of yourself you gave. I only have flat champagne. A swell time was had by all last night. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say I thought it was a good idea to open another bottle of champagne at 4.30 am(ish). I look like the wreck of the Hesperus, as Dad used to say when I would surface from my bedroom after a night out, last night’s mascara still on. I like to think of you having a quiet chuckle about me using old phrases like that.
Of course I cried like the over-sized toddler I am when I found out. I don’t know what I thought would happen, but I sat here & sobbed, head in hands. That you were so loved we could stop you dying, not through prayer, but the force of the Twatters. Bollocks, the tears again. Taking glasses off. I can’t see the screen.
Twitter has been a bit awful of late. Our level engagement with each other, without care for the person at the end of our derision, anger & jokes. It’s never going to be sunshine & unicorns, you know that; but we’ve lost a bit of common fucking decency. I sent something the other day, that people who deride Twitter or scorn the idea of online friendships had never had the joy of a @deniswright tweet. There are few truly kind people; you’re no angel, mate, I know that but I never saw you delve into cheap nastiness for the sake of appearing smarter or smarmier than someone else. Perhaps that’s because you are better than us. Were.
I will miss your dry, wry wit. The tales from your childhood, so full of colour they carried me to Calliope. The posts about the disease, and its march. The stark detail. That staggering mind, taking me effortlessly back to parts of India, walking through Jain temples. I loved the architecture. You taught me abut the religion. My heart is swollen with with the exquisite pain of regret. There will never be another tweet, another DM waiting for me when I wake. Your handle slowly disappeared from my timeline, the brutal nature of the end of an online friendship. I didn’t email you often enough. I never heard your voice. You always said you would call before it was too late. I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to tell you how much I loved you. That I’ve been spending more time at home. That I have a beautiful new baby niece. That I got stuffed around again by that bloke & feel like a bloody idiot, but I met someone who intrigues the hell out of me this week. That I was published in The Age – on foreign policy! There seemed to be so much time. Things would get bad & you came back. I thought there would always be time. I was wrong.
I know you’ll hate me for being so maudlin, so I’ll sign off with the joy you brought into my life. To be told that you are valued, that you write well, that you are compassionate and good, & be able to return that love & respect without the fear of being ignored. In the darkness, at my most self-indulgent, you delivered wisdom and kindness & the occasional rebuke. There’s an old Irving Berlin song lyric I love:
Be careful, it’s my heart
It’s not my watch you’re holding, it’s my heart
My heart is swollen with the sweet pleasure knowing you brought. I will always remember you & the depth of our friendship. I’m publishing an email which I think says it better than I am now.
Go gentle, dear heart.
Love & smiles, always.
14 May 2013
Dear Kimberley,The birthday hoohah is over, more or less. It did feel somehow satisfying to make it to 66. I’m having a little period of grace I’m hoping will last a few more days at least while my daughters visit, for the last time So now I feel I can ask you without throwing in my selfish medical crap the thing that’s been going round and round in my mind. How is your Dad?And, is all OK with you?
I think of you so often, though we don’t say much on Twitter. Neither of us tends to make chitchat there just for the sake of it. You know that.
Much love, [the only person – with the occasional rare exception – I send public kisses to on Twitter, because I want people to know you’ve always, always been the special one to me! Just saying.]