I’ve found it hard to take in that David Stier, a friend I knew since my first year at Keele Uni, is dead. I found out about it through Red’s blogpost. And then facebook, and then more facebook. It has helped to read people’s messages to his family, and to understand how it happened. But I’ve found it hard to write my own message, still so shocked that it’s true. Today I logged on and ended up back at David’s profile, and then was lead to our friendship page, and scanning through old photographs from uni. Despite trying to begin this write in from other perspectives, I’ve ended up back at this photo. So I’m going to go with it, and strangely all the prompts came really easily during the writing, without thinking about it. It is not a story so much as a memory piece, for David.
*This photograph is from a night out at a friends, involving swimming in his swimming pool, using his sauna (Thomas David Griffiths, thank you!) drinking his alcohol, and lastly, bouncing on a huge trampoline in his backgarden. Red, Steven and Helen, me and David Stier. *
I don’t know what has happened to your glasses, they no longer frame your eyes. They are specific to your sight, measuring the distance between you and the world to a precise degree. They are useless for anyone else; I will have tried them once, and seen the thickened world move sluggishly.
The lens contract and life shrinks to a pinpoint, seen through the camera’s shiny glare. It is a frozen snap of time; I try to return to it. I can feel your shoulders supporting me, and smell your wet hair. My own strangles my sight; I am peering through the curling knots. My lungs balloon in my chest, as I breathe. The smell of chlorine comes off our warmed bodies, sugary alcohol on our lips. We are bouncing on the taut trampoline. We are children in a zoo, and the creatures we have discovered roam inside us, causing us to grab each other’s hair and tug. Pull at clothes, satisfyingly scrape close to skin. It is a mixture of flying and falling, one minute elevated the next tumbled together like clothes in a washing machine.
We could be on a beach, battling towards the place the sand gives out and we are lifted by a wave off our sore feet. Suddenly soaring, just as suddenly cast back towards the shore where we spin, happy to belong to gravity. Happy to be between the sky and the ground. Your weight is lightened by the snap of the giant piece of material, casting you upwards.
Can I preserve you with mothballs, with the instruments of stillness? Will sitting quietly and silently keep you suspended, almost on the point of descending? It is shocking to realise your absence, rifling through my memories to try and contain the emptiness.
If I could borrow them again, the glasses, the world would soften into a blur, and my sight relax, stop straining to take it in, happy to be a few steps away from this gravity.