Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Memorial for Don Henke

I never met him. I only ever talked to him through this online medium. But he was my friend. He read words I had written. Commented on the things I had done. He liked jazz and the blues and would talk to me about the music I listened to.

He liked to read my stories.

He liked my art.

I never had a chance to say hello to him in person, and the only time I ever spoke with him was briefly on the phone.

And now he has gone.

What is strange to me is how much I am affected by this. My relationship with him feels like my relationship with so many people I know. It feels like my relationship with my father. People I care about but never see. People that I only ever get to talk to because of the internet. Phone calling isn't always easy, and it's expensive. I have trouble getting to a post office and that's unreliable. So many people I know I only talk to through the web anymore, because that's the only way to talk to them.

I have friends I've made only because they like what I have to say or the pictures I make. I have a friend in Iraq who I have never met. A polite elderly chap who is doing whatever one does with the government when living in the green zones behind big walls. He reads my stories and sends me a note every now and again. And sometime I send one back.

And sometimes I forget and go months without saying anything until a car bombing somewhere makes me think I should write.

The fact that I never got to meet Don bothers me in a way I can't describe.

Maybe it is this feelings, this seeming emptiness and anger at a situation I have created for myself that makes me do the insanely stupid things I do. Like flying all over the country when I only have ten days of vacation. Or flying friends to me so that I can at least spend a few moments with them, make them real.

Everything I do is a quest for reality.

I live in South Korea, and I do not exist outside of this place. Some days I wish I could be in five places at once. Those are the directions my heart would tear me into. In Korea and those cities where my loves lie.

Today I miss everyone. I hope you are all well. I'm sorry I don't write more often.

Just as I'm sorry to hear about Don.

And even more sorry that I won't be able to go and say a proper fair well. He was a real person though, his words made him real to me. And it pains me that I won't have those anymore.

Goodbye Don.

Don's Jazz Review

1 comment:

Jill said...

I'm sorry about your friend Sarah. It is a friendship, although more tenuous because there is only this one form of communication. I have had a couple friends that I have been emailing with for ten years now that I have never met and spoken two once or twice at most on the phone but have been in touch with over email for all of that time. In fact, now might be a good time to write them a note. :-(