The day after we moved house, one of my oldest, dearest friends died. Pete and I had been friends from university; and even back then he was just that little bit smarter than me; a little bit quicker, a little bit funnier. We used to like sparring with each other but I would very quickly be outpaced. We bonded over physics lectures and Discworld books and somehow out of everyone he’s the only one I’ve kept in touch with for… shit, 27 years. He was best man at my first wedding but I got him in the divorce. (I used to joke that my ex got all the friends but to be honest back then there weren’t many outside of work, and those ones I treasure.)
He’d had lots of ups and downs, but he’d kept going, and he had health problems but they seemed to be being managed but then suddenly they weren’t. Another friend found him on the Wednesday, very ill, and took him to hospital, and by the Saturday he was gone.
We didn’t speak very often but I always knew he was there, on Facebook and Twitter, and reading this blog–he’s one of the people I’m talking to when I write–and he was always, always so proud and supportive and there. And now he’s not. And I find it so hard to comprehend that I can’t just message him, that he’s not there anymore with a funnier response to any of my jokes, that next time I go back home to Ballarat I can’t pop round and show off B and be outsmarted again. And I keep seeing things I know he’d like and going to tell him, and I can’t. I went to see Eddie Izzard the other day and everytime I laughed I thought, “wait till I tell Pete he said—” Oh.
Pete liked good scotch and baiting flat earthers on Twitter; it was always amusing to see people try to get the better of him. I liked seeing that I wasn’t the only one. I was rereading his tweets over the last week or so and he was in his usual fine form. Then they suddenly stop; there’s no foreshadowing in real life, and I wonder what his adversaries think happened to him, if they think they finally won.
And I am so, so sad.
I miss you, buddy. Rest well.