His name was Zane. February last year, i found an email from him sitting in my inbox saying, "Hi. was looking to make friends. You think we have something in common?" For the next 8 months, we communicated regularly. I loved hearing from him - across the immense cybervoid, i thought someone finally got me. I don't know what he looked like, or what he sounded like. But i know he cared about his work, the beaches and the mountains, that he believed he wouldn't find love, he liked to work towards perfection, his version of utopia, was glad for Microsoft and MS windows and the spell-check feature that would help him hide his dyslexia, that he was comfortable with who he was, loved his place in the world. And that all he wanted to do was 'fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds of distance run...'
Then sometime in October, after complimenting me on my writing style "like a pastel painting which changes into the deep brush strokes of a Vangogh oil", i didn't hear from him again. I wondered why, and assumed that this connection which i thought i'd felt had actually been a figment of my imagination, that we had indeed gone the route of millions of internet-spawned interactions that had faded into the cyber-oblivion. Maybe we had.
On a lark, i searched for his name on Orkut, and found only one reference for him. His was a name on someone else's "intro" that said, "To fill the unforgiving minute... (to my friend Zane who died a month ago while climbing K2..)" Something broke inside me. The loss of someone you never knew and yet someone who probably got you better than most people you do know, is something very hard to explain. I wish that we HAD in fact gone down the drifting-apart route, because somewhere i'd always have known that there was someone out there.. who understood.
He died on Dec 29. I've missed him for the longest while, and today i grieve for him, because of who he was, who he wanted to be, and most of all because he was a good man who knew what it was to love. I wish i'd met him.