Edit: The birthday boy’s mom just posted on Facebook that he isn’t entering his thirties; he’s already 33…BUT regardless of that, the sentiment in this post stays the same.
If you’re really lucky in life, you’ll make some incredibly special friends – people that will live in your heart and travel your journey with you, despite you not being able to see them often because they live far away – sometimes in a different province, sometimes in a another country. I have quite a few of these family-of-the-heart and I am grateful for each and every one of them. No amount of distance or time changes the kinship we have with one another.
One such friend is Simon. And today he enters (apparently he did, three years ago already!) the dirty thirties!
So, before I tell you more about just how much I love him, I’m going to wish him the heartiest of hearty happy birthdays!
I’d love to take credit for the giant cupcake, but unfortunately I don’t have a decent oven. I borrowed this one from here.
Five years ago Simon wrote a note and shared it on Facebook and one of the things he said was that by clever manipulation, Yours Truly would write a novel about him. Five years later, two manuscripts lay half-written, but the dream remains alive.
As with many of my friends, Simon started out as a blogger friend – a bloke with an incredible sense of humour and a totally different outlook on life than I have. Younger, more liberal, well-written and equally well-read, I looked forward to reading his blog every day. Many a day, it was tonic for the soul. I loved his no-holds-barred approach to telling a story.
I’m not sure when exactly we met in real life, but the blogger and the real chap were one and the same. No pretenses, no issues, just a genuine guy with an amazing personality and of course, a love of red wine. He also is a keen cricket-watcher, something which I am too, although I don’t do it much anymore because I don’t have satellite TV. Oh, and he is a Sharks supporter, as are many of my other awesome friends (despite me being a staunch Stomer).
Some years after, during a visit to Cape Town, I got in touch with him again and got to meet his boyfriend (now husband) Mike and Mike’s mom, Ginny. I immediately took a liking to Mike when he said, while we were driving in pouring rain and there were construction workers on the road, “Shame, they must be cold. We should get them sandwiches.” I also got to meet Simon’s beautiful sister Kimberley that night too. Brother and sister are two peas in a pod.
I stayed in touch with Simon (and Mike) by e-mail, but both are terrible correspondents, despite being writers of some sort! Simon won’t hold my saying so against me, because it is the truth. I’ve followed their journey from Hong Kong to Chicago to Atlanta to Athens (not the one in Greece). I’ve watched on Facebook how their family of four-legged children has multiplied.
One thing that particularly touched me about Simon is his generosity. I remember in a mail a long while ago, that I was lamenting wanting to do the advanced novel-writing course, but that I just couldn’t afford it. In one of the few times he did reply to a mail, he and Mike offered to pay a portion of the tuition with “you can pay us back when you’ve got the money”. I couldn’t bring myself to do it because my conscience would plague me. Money-lending and friendships are an explosive, often fatal, combination.
The last time I got to see them was at their wedding, where I met a few more fellow bloggers. The event was a classy, fun, affair with lots of wine, dance and great food – things both Simon and Mike appreciate.
Simon, my darling friend, I love you so much – you are an incredible person, with a heart of gold. We may not see each other often, but I treasure your friendship and the things you have taught me (without even being aware of them). Here’s wishing you an incredible birthday! As the Afrikaners say, “Lank sal hy lewe, lank sal hy lewe, lank sal hy lewe in sy gloria”.