~Fairy tales richly illustrated was something we loved.
Every year around this time, a friend rings me up.
We met in the ST newsroom a long time ago, both newbies, both a little terrified of the editors, vulnerable in the big, messy, open-plan office where stories of crime, court cases, politics, sports, and every day life were written up.
We spent our hours, our days, sometimes our nights and our weekends writing stories about other people’s lives, other people’s problems, trends, and tragedies.
He studied history, and used it to his advantage in the newsroom, uncovering a key historical detail about the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. Historians have archival memories, and yesterday, he told me that we celebrated his first byline with lunch at Han’s at Far East Plaza.
“I think we ate chocolate eclairs,” he text-messaged.
Of course the cafe is no longer there, but it is in his mind, tucked away like an important date of a memorable event in his life.
He is a poet too, I know, because he wrote some for me. And like most poets, he loves music and plays the piano. Well.
He once gave me an illustrated book about fairies and a fairy jigsaw puzzle. Like me, he liked art, especially the kind that recalled a more ancient time, perhaps when princesses talked with firebirds and phoenixes arise from the ashes.
“I just realised we have known each other for twenty years now and either it’s age or it’s that I always treasure the years and memories of this friendship,” he added.
I remember other things of course, like how we lived near each other, even though his rental addresses kept shuffling, and we made the effort to catch up, even though our meetings grew more episodic over time.
We’d met each other’s spouses maybe only once or twice in the early years, and nobody had felt it neccessary to keep tabs or worry needlessly.
I told him about this blog. “That’s a nice name. . . feather glass…One day I should tell you my favourite memories of you.”
Several writers I know do not speak or text this way, at least not that I’ve known. Some are far more practical, or they have other strengths that don’t rely on the poetic nature.
Every friend with whom you share a history is special, and when you have one who is part-poet, historian, writer, and musician, well, this is what can happen.
His response to Featherglass was characteristic of him, and I’m glad he told it to me.
“A reflecting upon reading your blog . . . With you and for you, the magic never dies.”