An old friend of mine passed away unexpectedly recently. He was just 36 years old. He left behind a wife and a 6-year-old boy named Roger – after his favourite tennis player. He was something of a dab hand himself. I watched him play tennis in the junior division at Wimbledon in 2006.
Unfortunately, we drifted apart over the years. I went my own way – to University in the UK, then onto Australia to learn how to fly before returning to Hong Kong. He went on to study in the United States on a tennis scholarship, where he remained.
Still, he was a significant part of my life at one stage. In fact, he was someone I once called my best friend during one of the happiest periods of my life. My late childhood growing up in Hong Kong.
We spent countless hours building treehouses, riding our bikes, having sleepovers, etc. I remember playing in his backyard one time. In a spectacular display of coordination, I miss-kicked a football and stubbed my foot on a brick wall. Oh, how he laughed. To this day, I have a white line that runs down the middle of my right big toe where I cracked it!
Of course, he’s not the only person I’ve lost touch with over the years – but he is one of the few I regret. Part of me always held on to the belief that one day we would reconnect, our paths would cross again, and we would reminisce over simpler times. It’s for that reason I never reached out.
Knowing what I know now – how I feel – if I could rewind the clocks to just a few short weeks before he passed – a day even – I wouldn’t hesitate to reach out and let him know that he left an indelible mark. One that will stay with me till the day that I die.
The world was a better place with him in it. Indeed, my world was. Whenever you are, if you can hear these words, may you rest in peace.
You will be missed.