I met him when I was 23 on my first official office job. The years before I had spent travelling and then working as a sales rep for a liquor company. The nine to Five stint was going to take some getting used to. He was a fast talker. Afrikaans, dressed incredibly smart for his age. Everything about his look suggested a serious young man, brought up adhering to strict standards and ready to conquer the banking world – but his eyes, they were full of delightful mischief. He took me under his wing, despite being a couple of years younger than I, and showed me the ropes. Before long we were willingly working the night shift, out night after night partying up a storm until the early hours of the morning. A fellow Scorpio, a fellow creature of the night, always wanting more, extremism to the highest point of exaltation. As our careers developed, our friendship developed into a flirty, fun relationship, which everyone in the office witnessed and envied. We would have our cigarette breaks together and just sit and laugh at the most inane things. He made my work day fun. A thousand phone calls, he always had an idea in his head and I loved his impulsiveness. He wouldn’t just talk – he would act and act bravely – diving in head first. I always hoped that this courage would rub off eventually. We had a similar work ethic at that time, when I wanted to burn the midnight oil working on a project I loved, he was right there. Sometimes invading my PC , all applications closed except for notepad and ‘HELLO’ written in Bold.
Suddenly through sheer hard work, he became brilliant in his field and left to conquer the world. I will never forget how my heart sank when he walked out the building. It had been the most special work relationship I had ever had.
We have stayed in touch and I am not surprised to get a phone call from him, saying he is in CT for a couple of hours , inevitably I drop everything to see him, even if it is a fast coffee down the road.
Last week it was different, he was here for a night and a day – I knew this was going to be trouble! My friend has grown into a sexy, successful man. He still rages, is impulsive and has endless woman problems. I love him to bits.
I felt that same sadness, like the day he left work, on the way to the air port. He had a bottle of Fairview Cab in one hand, cigarette burning in the other. Trance music loudly paying in the car – Telling me about the party he went to in Amsterdam. Conversations flying, ideas, thoughts, plans, travel arrangements a thousand things happening at once. A typical Joburg ride. My heart sank saying goodbye to man who beats me in energy, enthusiasm and sheer craziness.