Jeremy and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. We haven’t since 2002 when his mom last her battle with cancer and died on Valentine’s Day. His paternal grandmother died on the 13th a few years ago as well. It’s a sad day. We let it pass by.
Last week we went out to dinner on Thursday and the waiter asked us what we were doing on Sunday and we looked at him blankly, neither of sure why Sunday was supposed to be significant. He looked back at us with disbelief and said ‘Valentine’s Day?!?’ and we said ‘Oooooh!’
So Sunday rolled around and I was knitting and flipping channels between Dune and the Olympics and Jeremy was upstairs working when the phone rang. And the phone brought the news that a friend of our living in Tokyo, Iain, had been found dead in his apartment there. I am not actually sure what day he died. No one had heard from him for a few days. Regardless, he was gone.
Neither of us had spoken to him in a few years. Not since he left London for Tokyo, but we would occasionally hear updates from friends. He was working as a teacher there. It had been his dream to move to Japan and everyone was so happy for him when he moved.
He was one of the first people Jeremy met when we first started coming back and forth from Chicago and when we moved to south east London he told us about some friends he had in Peckham. He told us about those friends for a year, saying how he had to introduce us to them. Finally in May 2006 (the day we got Oliver actually, which is why it took me and etra two days to meet them) hi introduced Jeremy to these mythical friends at the Intrepid Fox in Soho. A few days later we all went out for pizza at The Gowlett (our first time there actually, funny to realise) and spent a boozy afternoon with the people who would become some of our closest friends in London.
We didn’t see Iain a huge amount during his remaining time in London, he lived north of the river and rarely came south, and when he did it was with much humourous grumbling. He won the award for Least Effort Made at Paula and Harvey’s dress like a song contest, as he made no effort at all. Wait, no, he was wearing a name tag with ‘The Man in Black’ written on it. I think someone put that name tag on him though.
He was a good guy. I didn’t know him especially well, but I know that he was a very good guy.
The world is a darker place for his loss.