September 18, 2011
Alexander Segulin was already my friend before I was born.
His mum and my mum were friends, next door neighbours, and when I arrived I had an instant friend. We hung out for nearly 12 years, in the way that good friends do. We played Spies with our own secret SOS codes, stole food before dinner from our mothers’ kitchens, and dreamed elaborate dreams about the future and what it would bring.
His family came from Italy in a time when Italian migrants were called New Australians. Others called them wogs. When they did, I threatened to hit them.
I learned that
spaghetti didn’t have to come out of a can,
that wine mixed with a lot water was an acceptable drink for children,
that milk coffee with teddy bear biscuits was the preferred after school snack.
The other things I learned went deeper.
I learned that patience doesn’t always come easily.
That pain isn’t just about a scraped knee or bruise.
That being strong and resilient isn’t always about brute strength.
That Deadly Ernest is possibly the scariest thing for children Under 10 to watch but also the most thrilling.
He slipped away yesterday.
He didn’t want to go, but sometimes we don’t have a choice.
He told me to stop trying to make sense of things,
because sometimes there is no sense.
Wise to the end.
I always figured he’d be there at the end of my life
as he was in the beginning.