Thursday, February 05, 2015

parallel universe lives

The sad news came via Facebook, another old f/Friend has died way too young. We hadn't seen each other in over twenty years, possibly as many as twenty five. But somehow those intervening years disappeared with the morning dew as I read the tributes flooding in. Names are popping up in the comments out of what yesterday could be described as the dim and distant past, but today feels like a few weeks ago.

Crispian was an hour older than my brother Jon. A very important hour apparently, well you'd think so the way it was rubbed in over the years! That connection Jon & Crispian shared by being birthday twins overflowed into me thinking of Crispian as 'my other little brother' ('little' becoming increasingly inaccurate in both cases as the years went by, but like that hour, you have to make the most of such tenuous things to keep the upper hand in sibling relationships, even acquired ones!).

When I saw the news I messaged Leo on Facebook to find out what had happened, and asked if he hadn't already if he could let Jon know as I knew Jon had abandoned Facebook (again...) and so wouldn't have seen the messages. As we were chatting Jon rang me on skype having already got Leo's text (which bless him he'd already thought to send), making sure I'd heard.

Both conversations reflected the same sentiment, it might have been years since we'd seen him, but we'd miss him still. Miss knowing he was out there, and that in the way of such things, the usual knowledge that our paths would cross again through happenstance if not intent was now gone. Our everyday lives would remain unchanged, and yet be different, be somewhat less for the loss. And the 24th October, the one day of the year we were all guaranteed to think of Crispian will never quite feel the same again.

Jon described it like being in some weird parallel universe, where everything was the same, yet something was missing. You couldn't see what it was, but you knew it wasn't there.

Living half a world away from the first 35yrs of my life, it is a feeling I'm more familiar with. I know that when I go back next there will be a number of faces I can't see again, not because of time and travel limitations, but because they simply aren't there any more. But on the other hand, there is a whole new generation born since I left who I've yet to meet, but more scarily there are those who have reached the age, or are older than I was when I last saw their parents.... it's that wibbly wobbly timey wimey thing again; on the one hand we're still not much older than 16 surely, yet on the other there are 18yr olds off to uni proving otherwise.

Several names I've spotted today were only a part of my life in my late teens, in fact if you added up the number of days we spent in the same place (Yorkshire Friends Holiday School and reunions) it's often less than a month, yet each of those few precious days counted for years in their own way, in that other parallel universe of life where time twists and stretches and does strange things. But as soon as I've seen the names, the memories have rolled by crystal clear.

Luckily Crispian was one of those I saw at other Quaker events too over the years, but even so those extra weekends probably don't add up to much in real-time. But there are many memories, of an increasingly scruffy and eccentric character, much loved by many, full of banter but also deep thoughts, seldom far from a guitar... Another who is in many of those same memories was also lost to us some years ago, as have been several other Holiday School faces from years past. I never really know quite what to believe about life after death (although I'm rather partial to Terry Pratchett's Discworld theory) but a part of me is really hoping Josh was there with guitars ready for Crispian's arrival, and that there's a wee Holiday School reunion going on somewhere with those from Heidi through to Crispian gathered together, probably with a few others from YFCC joining in too.

Meanwhile no doubt there'll be another reunion of many of those left behind, to mourn, but also celebrate, not just Crispian's life, but the intertwining of his with ours and ours with each others. Those connections that run deep and remain strong regardless of time, place and which layer of the universe we're in.

ps I was looking for photos to share, and the two that jumped out both turned out to have Eddie in too; another one long gone now, but far from forgotten.When I posted the first one on Facebook a while back Crispian's comment was "oh man - was just about to launch in with with 'you bastard....' but was stopped in my tracks by a flood of Eddie memories...." So I'm guessing he'll forgive me for sharing it again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That second photo is so much my mental image of Crispian. He wasn't someone I'd been in touch with at all since the YFCC days but still such an important part of them.