It’s a funny old place, the blogging world. You never know what wonderful people you’re going to meet, or what kind of things will jump out from the shadows and grab you firmly by the tear-ducts.
Some people enter your life through the front door, with a firm handshake and a confident introduction. Others come to the party as a plus one… and I must say that, at least in my life, these have turned out to be some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Mike, Farnsworth, Richard, Kitty, Frank… I’m talking about you. There are occasionally those who enter through an open window, and you don’t even notice what good friends they’ve become until they tap you on the shoulder and say “I refilled your toilet paper and impregnated the dog. I hope you don’t mind. Here… I also got you a Whisky & Coke.” Arnie, JB, and Jess are such friends, and all you can do is laugh till you cry when you notice these lovely people.
Just once or twice in a long lifetime though, a person comes along whose presence begins as a bright spot in the corner of your eye that you can’t ignore. So you turn to look at them and your vision fills with a light so blinding it makes everything else around them look slightly dimmer by comparison. Just two such people have ever entered my life. They both read this blog, so I hope they both know who they are. I think we all know by now that one of them is the lovely Swedish Flowerpot (who I may start referring to as Amki, because 1: It’s easier than saying The Swedish Flowerpot every time, and 2: Well… it’s her name after all).
The thing is, we’re always so preoccupied with our own little patch of ground, our own history and experiences, that when someone like this comes along we often overlook the fact that they have experiences and history of their own that began long before you were there and have nothing whatsoever to do with you; the same way my daughter believes that I popped magically into existence, like a big Yorkshire genie, on the very day she was born. We might even foolishly believe the reason that person was meant for us, is that we are the first one ever to notice just how brilliant and blinding they are. Sure, you swap stories of dangerous childhood experiments and old friends who held back your hair, or said “I told you that was a bad idea” as you watch a frightened hitch-hiker running off across the fields (don’t ask), but how often do we honestly get a real glimpse into the past life of a loved one?
As many of you reading this will now know, I first met my girlfriend through this blog, but we didn’t really start talking as friends until just about the time she returned to her Swedish homeland, after almost 3 years in Canada. I remember feeling badly that she had to leave that life behind, but Newfoundland’s loss is Sweden’s gain, I thought, and happily… mine. The thing about Amki though, is that she has that blinding light affect on pretty much everyone she meets, and a way of looking at the world which leaves even my skewed, childlike perspective hanging its head and feeling like Lou Ferrigno at the opening of the new Avengers movie. She alters the lives of everyone who gets close to her and leaves them a slightly better person for having known her, and never was that more clearly illustrated to me than in this blog post – and then later, this one – written by one of her best friends from Newfoundland. Sarah tells stories of their friendship that make me extremely proud to be a part of Amki’s life, but which also, rather oddly, left me feeling such tremendous sadness for them, and the gaping hole she left in theirs. As Sarah so beautifully put it:
“If there has been anything that pretty Swedish princess has taught me? Goodness wins. Beauty triumphs. Power is found in the one who believes they have it.”
Incidentally, the song Amki is singing there is one of her own.
It’s a strange thing to get such a painful insight into the empty space that would surely be left if a person you care so deeply about was suddenly gone.
As you may or may not be aware, the flat I now share with Mr. Farnsworth is my 25th address (Or is it 26? I’m starting to lose count), and as such I sometimes feel like a much more inept, and much less cool, Sam Beckett… Leaping from life to life, hoping not to put wrong something that was perfectly alright before I got there, and hoping each time that the next leap will have affordable rent and a place to hang the Greenscreen. My substitute for a wise-cracking, cigar-chewing hologram is a tiny cloud of very mild bad luck that rarely leaves my side, and my version of “Oh boy!” is a slightly less family-friendly utterance to say the least. At any rate, I never seem to stay anywhere long enough to make a lasting impression, and the only gaping holes I leave are those I have accidentally blown in the walls of buildings in which I was supposed to be teaching safety! (Again… don’t ask)
The way we have affected the lives of those around us so rarely gets back to us, especially if you move away before you can find out that the potted plant you peed in was a gift from a long deceased relative (OK… that one never happened), but most especially not in such a positive, life-affirming way as exists in Sarah’s posts. The people close to us deserve to know how important they are, and we should never let them forget that they are appreciated, and missed when absent.
If nothing else, it is a stern lesson in why you should never take those you love for granted. Because, as Don Henley would say: Everything can change in a New York minute.