In Spain I visited the Picasso museum.
When I saw Picasso’s platters I was immediately struck by a sense of their relationship with hospitality and generosity. And I thought of my friends J and C.
I first met them when a rapist in Wellington was getting into women’s houses during the day and returning at night. Friend Jess (who knew them) said I should go and visit. So I did.
I was immediately made welcome.
There followed many drunken Sunday evenings of good food, great wine and fantastic conversation. I love wine but in truth the conversation was best.
When I had appendicitis the family nurtured me. When I had excessive paranoia (due to a silly counsellor) they allowed me to be. J loves Greece and Italy so we talked at length about Greece and shared silly ideas about etymology. He took me out on his small yacht where I smelled the land from the sea as opposed to the sea from the land. He fed me the most amazing coffee – strong, fortifying and mind alarming.
All our lives became intertwined.
Barbeques at the bays on balmy Wellington evenings. Bike rides. Annual Boxing day walks to Duck Creek. Books. Art. Parties. Gardens. Houses. Politics. Travel stories.
When they shifted south I’d call in after mother visits (always a slightly stressful thing ) and be offered wine, food and companionship. One year we held an olive oil tasting event. I met their friends.
Most of all I love J’s erudite rambles around maps, history and language and his acceptance of people. When I visited after a disastrous love affair and could only cry, J kept me empathetic company and offered coffee and wine while I sobbed.
On my last visit we all had a wee dram and sat in the dark without speaking, watching the moon and the stars. Fabulous.
J’s erudition, love of ideas, language, exploration of thought and companionship have been a boon to my life. When he had a drama with his eyesight while overseas he told me how much he appreciated Kandinsky. Colours were all he could see.
He has an enquiring mind. A philosophy and a world view that is positive, encompassing and generous.
His guffaw at the silliness of the world. His friendship (not to mention his coffee and wine- who else loves Retsina) are the things I will remember.
Thanks heaps. You enhance my life.