I missed the way his hair fell on his face when he got out of the shower. Those two tiny birthmarks just behind his ears would show and I would remember the first time I connected the dots. It wasn’t the way he shook his hair like a cute little puppy and his stubborn refusal to use a towel. It wasn’t the way he’d get into stealth mode when he would try to get me away from the book I was reading. There’d be giggle fests and pillow fights. He’d always tap out – I used to think it was cause I had battle skills. I learnt later that he enjoyed how I ran my fingers through his hair just as much I did. It probably wasn’t how he’d try to be understanding of my culture but completely failed at it. He was a no bullshit guy. Maybe that’s why I kept our conversations going.
If you had met him, you’d have liked him a lot. Everyone does. He’s the guy who asks you how you are doing today and actually waits around to listen to what you have to say. He’s the kind of guy who smiles often and who says things that make the people around him smile. He’s smart, intelligent in a way that does not make people uncomfortable. Sometimes, I suspect, he dumbs himself down because having a good, meaningful conversation means more to him than throwing words around. He’s the kind of guy who expresses himself so beautifully you feel that he’s saying exactly what you have in your mind but hadn’t found the right words.
I remembered the time we let our feet hang from the bridge on one of those random adventures he insisted on taking me to. It was always like that. In the middle of a corporate meeting I would get a text asking me to look out the window – which I always did. Of course he was there with a packed bag and we’d leave … just like that.And we had little rituals. I would come back from one of my long trips with a book and he would bring me a six-pack and we’d swap. He would read to me – that’s the thing about him. He was a story-teller – He’d use the curtains as his cape and random things around the room as props. He once walked around with an antique phone receiver around his head pretending to be Princess Leia.To say he was melodramatic was an understatement. When he whispered stories in my ear in the elevator or in the airplane, I forgot my claustrophobia. And when he sang lame show tunes, it was the only way I could sleep.
He can think like you, so he understands you. I always admired his perceptions – while we had limits, he had this incredible talent to empathize. It was his gift. We understand jocks but not the geeks or maybe it’s the other way around, but somehow, he got all of us. He had a knack for making an incredible memory out of anything. And once you returned home after spending an unforgettable evening with him, you’d catch yourself grinning from ear to ear and thinking that the world could use more of him, maybe more people like him? because if there was, there would be less to worry about.