I have known him for a long time. And with time i have grown to like him more and more. John is my brother. And I have been his window to the world. Together we share a lifetime of love, friendship and more.
When John was young he would often walk up to me and ask me to go to the river. Run on the banks and play in the sand. He was so fascinated with the flow of the river. His eyes had a sparkle of excitement on those sands. He wanted to flow like a river.
He dreamed like a poet; of the river and the yellow flowers and the many other things he held close to his heart. About the many "No"'s that life turned his way and about the several "Yes"'s which passed by as well. You could feel it all flowing through the veins in his bloodstream. His thoughts racing all over the place, his face flushing with hope. His fidgeting fingers unwrapping the mysteries of a little daffodil; one petal at a time. His chair rocking in the sun. His vision fixed on the fence and the dried up flower pots that lay near it. His mind trying to look for something in the parched earth, something so very precious. Something that time had taken its toll upon. Something which was no more.
He would pick up a small paper and fold it into a flower like shape. Then he would smile! And looking at it again, he would pass over into another world. And tears would mark his vision. Later he would put that paper flower on the window sill and look at it for hours. He would talk to me about the river which was no more the same, about the pathways that were no more the same and about our lives which were no more the same.
He would get up from that chair and start walking around, and then he would turn to me. Looking into my eyes he would speak of the years gone by and of the things that were lost in the transient world around us. Passing us by like people on a busy street. He was John and those were his muses...
Sometimes i think of the many things that John said and of the many other things that he didn't say. I turn over the pages of his notes and maybe I become him for while. I start thinking like him. Thinking about the chances that we take in life, the experiments that we do with reality that make us see the raw face of life. The truth that I see, that John saw, makes me shiver and shrug. I just sit and think, maybe just like he would. About how we decieve ourselves into loving things that we once abhorred. About how we dream of pleasant sunrises and bubbly brooks from our high rise office apartments and how we think of love while reading coffee table illustrations.
Ironic as it may be but we seem to have forgotten all those dreams that we once held so close to ourselves. Everyday we see people walking along the road, some smiling and some looking worried. Everyday we recieve phone calls from friends with varied stories. Some happy and others sad, and we talk on, and we go on. Living our lives as if this is what it is. Our capability to be unfaithful even to our ownselves captivates me and stuns me. Everyday we seem to be getting farther from our innocent dreams and everyday we tell ourselves that we are getting towards better things in life.
It's everyday that we push our true selves down the dark alleys of yesterdays. It's everyday that we make ourselves see the world through ostentation and deceit.
It is not everyday that we feel the cool breeze with the smell of freshly mowed grass pass through our hair. It is not everyday that we feel the touch of true faith and young dreams of our past. It is not everyday that we feel the purity of a soul that we held so dear to our hearts long time back. It is not everyday that we meet someone like John Duff.
He was a simple man. An average man. Someone who believed in the simplicity of his dreams. Someone who followed the truth of his soul all through his life. Someone who smiled when the flowers in his backyard bloomed and who cried when one of them withered. Someone whose heart flowed with the river...
Someone who could love and laugh so honestly. Someone who could hold your hand and walk all through your life with you, from this end to that. Someone who could conjure up paper flowers and feel so passionately about them. I met him, that was destiny. Something that changed so many things. My feelings, my views... maybe my life!
To me he wasn't really like a brother born to the same parents as me. To me he was a friend, someone who became a brother through the time of that life which we shared. Today is the 27th of June, the day that John died, an year ago. Life without John, is strange and lonely, but there are so many things to remember. He lives on somehow and many times i find myself talking to him, smiling with him... living with him. The diaries on the table, the photographs at my desk, they all add up to bring John back to me.
I live in here alone and so John just comes by to be with me in my lonely days, to stay with me through the dusk of my life. It is so much like John to do it, being when you are needed and vanishing when you are not. He has always bewildered me. Always made me wonder. The other day i found a thick set of diaries and letters inside John's old trunk. So many things, I never could have known or figured out the whole of it. The grey picture of John life. The missing colors. The thick edges confined by the torn paper. It was so hazy and so blurred. It was so vivid and alive.
So many letters. I never knew someone could write so many to John. Not that he wasn't interesting. Just that he never let people wander so close to him. I never knew John could write so many to someone. Paper flowing with ounces of emotions. So many words and yet so few. For a man who was so full of words. For a man who was so silent to the world.
There were strange notes. Long letters. Several pieces of poetry. It was something so fresh. To get to know John again. To get to read through his thoughts. They filled in the gaps, cleared the doubts and made John come around clearer than ever. It seems that it is only now that i really know my brother. It seems it is now that i can talk about him... that now i know him truly as John that really was and not as John that seemed to be!
One of the notes is a simple piece paper, small, around the size of a regular envelope. Scribbled in John's hand are a few lines, that set the story going in my mind, all over again-
"When the dusk has come and the darkness seen, When the day has lived to what it has been, Just walk over by my side, and keep them there, My flowers, my daffodils, my lifeless affair... "
His flowers. His friends. His life. All mingled into a piece of paper. Staring at me so blankly. Asking me questions. Making me weak at the knees. I knew I had to read everything. Remember everything. Relive everything. Just for once, but I had to do it. Pick up the pieces lost around the corners that we turned so sharply. Fixing up the inconsistencies that time and silence had left in the picture. Make it complete. Make John come back and sit on the window sill and talk to me...