It was summer. We all drove motorcycles and gathered every afternoon at the recreational places of our suburb. We would hang out, talk about nothing and everything, smoke cigarettes whilst watching kids play on the playground. It was then when I first heard mentioning your name. Jim … You had gone to the States to play basketball. I believe they had offered you a place in a college just to play ball. I don´t remember exactly. You were an Antwerp prodigy…
Not much later I saw you for the first time. A massive blond guy with a big smile, playing ball. You hadn´t succeeded in the States, no more ball in the States. Your friends told me you had changed a lot in that year. It must have been the second half of the eighties …
Later I met you again. You were a friend of my friends and you were still always smiling. We would meet in glamorous clubs and bars and hangout with our ´posse´. There was one regular club I would always go to and you were also always there. This place, the first time I went there it spooked me a bit, the brick walls, the fog, the chandeliers, the darkness, but somehow it had become my favourite place of all. I called this place my second ´home´ because I felt so good there, Café d´Anvers … an almost legendary club.
In those days we ended up doing a lot of drugs. It was only one year of my life, but I really got addicted to amfetamines, marihuana and MDMA. Everybody we knew was using it. Life was one big party. In those days my friends and me we would be smart. We wouldn´t buy drugs in the club, but we would buy them in advance, that way it was cheaper and safer. We always would buy twenty or thirty XTC-tablets at one go so we could save on the price. I kind of remember that after a dealer had been arrested you took over his business and we started buying pills from you.
A few times we did business. I think maybe two times I bought pills from you. I would call you, you would tell me a place where I should go and there I would wait for you in the car. After a few minutes you would enter the car, give me the pills and then you would leave with the money. I was always very scared. Not because of you but because of secret police or something. I always feared they would have a phone tap on you or that they would be shadowing you. I could see myself get arrested, maybe even lose my car and my job, “O-o-oh I shouldn´t use those amfetamines, they make me paranoid.” We were the year 1998.
Not much later I had a psychosis … It was a weird time, I lost all my friends. Nobody understood me and I was pretty much afraid of everyone. You probably heard about it, everybody in the club knew I guess. The psychosis lasted quite a while. Suddenly I had only friends in my head … Since the psychosis life has been a bit of a struggle. I saw you again last year. You were driving a nice classy Volvo. In it there was sitting a woman and some kids. I remember being jealous seeing you, my life is quite messy, you see … and lots of times I feel as if I am being punished for something. You seemed to me very lucky. I remember wondering, ´Why me and not him ?´
We´re 2015 now. Last week I checked my Facebook and through a friend I ended up on your page. We´re not friends on Facebook, I just saw your name and felt like klicking it. I wanted to see how you were doing, you know. Lots of people have posted stuff on your page. They seem quite sad. It seems that you decided to take your own life only a few weeks ago. I don´t know why as I don´t know too much about you. It just seems like such a waste to me, Jim. A lot of people are struggling … I wish there was something I could have done.
You are out there somewhere. Christians down here are saying you´re not going to heaven, I am not sure of this. I just don´t know. I wonder how you are Jim, are you doing okay ? Why did you end your life ? I also always have demons chasing me … Did they win ?
Well, I know there is more to life … but maybe I can write something about that a bit later. I hope you are doing okay bro, hope you are okay.