I had a dear friend called Thomas, he reminded me of Toad of Toad Hall – he was flamboyant in his dress and stature and personality.
He was introduced to me as a client – we soon became firm friends.

Our ‘business meetings’ would take place at our shared hairdresser or a book store where we poured over decor books and planned his next shop; or one of his restaurants where we ate amazing food and shared a glass, or two, of our favourite wines.
He was a chef, a serial entrepreneur, a restaurant owner, a husband, dad, brother, dear friend and true unique human being.

He knew I loved Marmite and ceramics – he gave me the most thoughtful presents that I’d never have picked out for myself. He called me Bob (never did find out why) and every time I called him he answered the call with the sound (or so he thought) of horses galloping!
He moved away – first to the UK and then to CPT but we spoke as if we were still in the same time – took pictures of the books we were looking at and the food we wished to be eating together. I missed him.

When he was moving back to Jhb he started a WhatsApp group called ‘I’m coming home’ and looped in some of his friends – it was his journey back to himself, or so we thought.

The day of his memorial service, I walked out into the bright winter JHB sunshine, put my dark glasses on and looked up at the sky – my own life going tits up around me.

I sighed and said, quietly; “I miss you, where are you”. I’m sure I felt him take my hand and walk me to my car, as he always did.

This morning I was making eggy bread and looked at his book on my kitchen shelf, took it down and paged through the marmite recipes and I looked outside, I’m sure I heard his voice call my name. Bob of course, not Alex!

I still you miss you Tom, wherever you are, with all the compartments of my heart. I’ve got your hand and am walking you to your car.

Your Bob

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