He was my best friend at university; we shared a house and once almost died together on a hillside in winter where we ended up spending the night in little more than our underwear.
He was the father of my first wife’s unborn child at a time we her and I were separating, but still involved enough for that not to be straightforward - and I last saw him over thirty years ago.
We last spoke out of the blue and after a lot of one way effort, by telephone about fifteen years ago as sorry had to be said.
I have an old van, in sits in my garden and hasn’t been driven for 22 years but last night I was in Madeira with it on the beach, preparing to park up for the night and sleep with the sound of the waves coming through the open back door.
I had parked on the west side of the cove where the wild cats lived as I wanted the sunrise to wake me in the morning, and on the west side of the cove, as the sunset began to hasten, a jazz quartet set up and started playing some of the coolest jazz the sunset, the beach and a warm evening can contrive.
I sat down with the cats and started to write a letter to my friend, to share this moment and to ask him if I could stop at his house for the night on my drive through Manchester on my way to Scotland.
He would have liked the jazz, I had met him at university in Manchester and our lives had become entangled in Scotland.
And then I woke.
I looked up and on the beam above where I have slept most of these last 23 years I saw very clearly, for the first time, colouring in the wood that was undeniably the shape of the first letter of my friend’s name.
I should contact him, tell him, ask him if everything is ok and offer him the friendship that once said we could die together and it would be ok.
But what’s the point?
It was just a dream.