During a particularly bad patch some time ago I was chatting to my oldest friend Arliss Porter. I had known him since taking my A-levels and we were as matched as any man I’ve ever called brother. We thought the same movies were good and hated the same music. Neither of us fitted into the mainstream portrayal of Black Manhood. We liked guitar music, didn’t drink, looked terrible in baggy trousers and made lewd jokes about Nietzche and Descartes.
But he was doing OK and in hindsight I was depressed and I was not getting help. Every time we met he’d talk about what was new with him, he was doing well at work, his girlfriend was great etc etc. And then he’d say what’s new with you and I’d say nothing. No literally I’d say “Nothing”. My work was just as unfulfilling and voting as the last time he asked. My bed and my arms were just as cold. My wallet and bank account were just as empty. Nothing was happening. It wasnt coffee and a movie, it was more like he was visiting me in prison.
He lived and I just, well, got by.
One day when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself I deleted him from my phone and I forgot about him.
I was going through my phone deleting off old contacts to make space. This was pre smartphone when you only had a limited number of contacts per phone. I was scrolling through and I saw his name and I realised I never had anything new to say to him and never had any money to go anywhere with him. Delete.
A couple of months later when the clouds of misery parted I wanted to talk to my best friend and I couldn’t find him…
TO BE CONTINUED