Before my TBI I made a friend, Jane. On a Thursday night I used to pick up a bottle of red wine and 10 cigarettes, press her buzzer, climb the steps, then make myself comfy at her kitchen table. We'd talk all night and into the early hours. Now and then, her husband Lindsay would come in to get another drink from the fridge and stay and chat too. He made music. The memories I have for those nights...
...the night before we flew to Melbourne, I took loads of photos of Lindsay, with an idea of painting him while I was away. On the plane I sifted through them to find the three that represented him the best.
I practiced sketching him on paper over and over again. We managed to find our house with the brick wall for painting. I then started on the canvases. Each night I would come home from work, eat my dinner, then paint in the dark heat with the mosquito door open.
Jane and Lindsay were my only friends who made the huge trek to come and see us. I was terrified of showing Lindsay the triptych. I took us all out, heavy night of drinking, back home and then showed him. He was happy! The last time I lifted a brush to those canvases was the night before my TBI.
When we finally came back to Glasgow in 2010, I can see now that I was a very different person from the person who left. Jane also developed a heart problem in that year.
I will never ever forget getting a phone call in 2019 from Lindsay to say that Jane had passed away. I was utterly shocked and my chest contracted with the pain of losing her. I couldn't believe it.
I found out yesterday that Lindsay himself died last weekend. I was told that couldn't get over losing Jane.
A massive part of my life has now gone. I have the photos and I have the memories but I don't have the people.