My friend Evi left this world fifteen years ago.
She was only 29
Every year I write this letter to her and let her presence consume me.
A letter I would write to my friend had she move to the mountains to live inside of a tree forever, allowing me to send her one letter every year.
The letter alters with the changes in my life. Making me aware of how much I have.
Making me appreciate the gift of life.
That gift she no longer possess.
I take her with me in my head to my favourite places and I read my letter to her.
I drink with her and listen to her favourite songs.
Then I try to remember her laughter. And when I do, I smile and let her go.
I hope, all of you out there, who knew her, or were once her friend, her family, her lover ... are thinking of her today and are celebrating the beautiful creature Evi was!
Let us drink to her name!
Because as long as there are people who remember … people never die …
I add this corny video I made for her all those years ago.
It's all I got left of her and it's full of my love for her. Playing the song that will always remind me of her.
Till the day I go.
Since you've been gone, I've started my life all over from zero five times!
Remember how we always spoke of new beginnings? And how scary it felt? And how you'd like one day to move to Sofia with your son?
Since you’ve been gone, I “moved in” a stale life, then moved out, learnt another language and rode a water-coaster.
It was scary.
All of it.
Since you’ve been gone, I got engaged once. I got betrayed, I got let down and broken-hearted, numerous times.
I thought I'd die.
I find it all so trivial now. So silly.
I’ve learnt to move on pretty quick.
Since you’ve been gone, I've written about 7 to 8 thousand verses.
Some about you.
Since you’ve been gone, I learnt how to swim, rode a children's roller coaster, walked on frozen lakes, pet a spider, touched a bumblebee, pet a cricket, started drinking my coffee black, saw dinosaur bones, tasted peanut butter, saw the skeleton of a blue whale, laughed with all my heart twice, brought a stranger home, travelled to Lapland, stepped beyond the Polar circle twice, seen the Norwegian fjords, got a reindeer ride with a Sami shaman, saw a fox in my neighbourhood, came across a cow herd, run 15 kilometres, outed myself (you always knew). I walked into a green lake and danced on the soft green fluff for an hour.
Since you've been gone, I've changed my hair to red, I wrapped people in plastic, I drove an excavator, a tractor and a truck. I spread the ashes of two unknown ladies, and I dug two graves.
Since you’ve been gone, I am riding my bicycle in the summers (I now have three), I've quit smoking and started running (it's been 12 years now). I've met my brother thrice. I started playing the violin again. And quit … again.
I have barbequed in the snow, played in real dungeons, saw elks up close and petted one of them (it was oily).
I lost count on my road trips, I drove a car (for a couple of minutes), I am regularly going to car festivals, I went back to school twice, I learnt a lot about trees and had an encounter with a mouse.
I began enjoying the sunlight and warm afternoons. I have pruned a few trees, I started drinking red wine and craft beer. I met a girl from Bulgaria who made me think of all the things you've told me about Sofia.
Since you’ve been gone, I learnt how to cook, bake apple-pies, knit, tend a garden, and I am still collecting rocks. You used to laugh at that.
Since you’ve been gone, I have fallen in love ... well now that I think of it ... only once ... and have lied to you once.
Since you’ve been gone, I've watched countless movies. Never bought a television. Discovered more music, made more music and stopped hurting myself. I climbed a tree with the help of a real arborist in my old neighbourhood. It was spectacular!
Since you've been gone I've been making a great effort not to give up on things.
You know I lose interest if I must do only one thing at a time.
But running drunk with a cactus and a set of knitting needles in one hand and with a rock and a camera in the other while trying to climb a tree … sounds a lot like a nightmare.
Photography though is still my constant. And it reminds me a lot of you. Your pictures. Your dark room. Your experiments. Your camera. Your plans. And I often find myself wondering what you’d think about the things I see through my lens.
I've had three jobs. The second one I loved. Till I hated it.
I've quit the idea of learning Spanish. I saw no point to it without you.
I never danced like "that night" again. That summer night in the park, that smelled of jasmine and hashish.
I never saw Manu again.
Since you've been gone, I've met your friend in Athens twice. The one time we drunk to your name a whole afternoon, I then got on her bike and she drove me home drunk.
Since you've been gone, I became more compassionate with my father. Till I lost him too to cancer ... He died in my arms.
Since you've been gone I have been really sad and I have been really happy.
As I write this letter now, I am happy.
I have given up on "forever", but I'm still in it.
Since you've been gone my mother had 4 manic episodes.
I wanted to study psychiatry because of it, but I gave up after 4 books on the brain functions. I wanted to study arctic biology, mainly so that I could move to Spitsbergen, I never did. I studied botany and geology instead.
Since you've been gone, I came back twice.
Once to bring my mother home, to live near me.
She is now living here in Stockholm in her own flat with her tuxedo psycho cat and her poems. She beat breast cancer. She fought like a lion. She won. She is now one breast minus, but alive and feeling quite ok, considering.
The second time, I came to bring my father home... to die near us ...
His ashes are buried at the same cemetery with Garbo. He would be pleased to know that.
I pass that cemetery almost once a week. But since his death I've been there only 7 times. The one time was the funeral. The last was All Hallows Eve 2016 ...
Since you've been gone, I've met your friend from Bulgaria online. He made me cry and smile. He made me remember so much about you. He told me the other side of the story ... He brought me close to you, again.
Since you've been gone, I've had that stupid star t-shirt on 9 times.
It always reminds me of you ... and that "sandalwood day"!
That day we stayed up all night ...
That 48-hour day.
When, the night turned into morning ... into afternoon ... into evening and into night again.
With no sleep and no food. With lots of coffee and cigarettes...
I haven't had a day like that with anyone... Anyone!
That "day" Evi. Damn it!
The smell of your black hair in the sun. Your perfume in the evening.
The sound of your voice while smoking.
That day you told me everything.
The day you let me sleep in your bed and you took the sofa.
I remember lying in your sheets looking at your pointy leather boots with the silver buckles placed nicely by the mirror on your dresser.
The mirror reflecting your room, your makeup case, your trinkets and beautiful studded belts.
I remember your black fluffy dress in the corridor ...
How I would have loved to see you in it...
How I’d love to re-live that day.
Since you've been gone, I think I have seen your face on the street, in movies, in my dreams, so many times, even if I wanted to I couldn't forget it.
Since you've been gone, I have been less and more.
And can’t forget to remember your voice.
Since you've been gone I haven't seen Siouxsie. Not once.
And I still haven't watched the Mylene DVDs you gave me a year before you were gone.
I would have to let you know if I liked them or not and ... you won't be around to tell you.
And I remember you saying: "Watch them. Don't forget them in some drawer or throw them away..."
But now I don't know where I've put them.
Since you've been gone, I've seen the little mermaid in Denmark, I bought alcohol in Finland, "lost my heart" in Norway and travelled in vast distances in north and middle Sweden. I've walked half naked in a parade in Stockholm, and in a snowy mountain. I visited a silver mine, I got an awesome boyfriend, spent New Year's Eve in a Dungeon twice and started eating bacon (yes, this was unexpected).
Since you've been gone, I have recorded 7 songs, drove a lawn mower, saw a wolverine, got a violin, got a ukulele, bought a guitar and got a tattoo.
I saw farm animals up close, met 36 cats, 50 dogs, an iguana and two snakes. And I finally got a dog. She is my everything. I spoil her like you used to spoil your son.
And as the years go by and technology evolves with giant steps, I am still reminiscing our endless hours on ICQ and you trying to teach me code on mIRC. I still have all your notes somewhere.
Since you've been gone, I've read too many books to count, I've met countless deer, I saw the milky way while lying on a frozen lake in the middle of the winter up in Norrland, wishing you were there pointing with your long fingers Cassiopeia.
I almost saw the polar lights in Stockholm, one (almost) total eclipse of the sun, two super moons, petted a naked cat, bought a bathing suit (still haven't swum in it though) and I saw swans flying five times!
My dear friend ...
Since you've been gone, I have worked a lot on my anger. I still don't suffer fools, but I've learnt to count to ten.
Since you've been gone I've become more of a misanthrope, yet more humane.
I’ve become more friendly but less of a friend.
Since you've been gone, I have become more compassionate, yet less tolerant.
Since you've been gone, I have finally become an adult. But I will always be a child.
Since you've been gone, I have missed you like no other ... yes, except my father.
Since you've been gone, I have been talking to you … more often one may think ...
Since you've been gone, it has been 15 years.
It feels a lifetime ... it IS a lifetime ... yet it feels like yesterday I spoke to you on the phone ...
Since you've been gone, I've wished so many times that I could ask you:
"My dear friend, how have you been, since I've been gone?"
I miss you, I love you, I wish you were here.
Yours truly and for always,