I feel the need to explain such a long absence from here. I’ve not really been able to find the words to articulate the loss I’ve been feeling in these past few months. I still can’t find the words, really, so this will be fairly short.
I hadn’t spoken to Higgy for a couple of years until October, I don’t even remember exactly how we had managed to fall out of touch for so long, or back into touch at the time. Sometimes life just gets in the way I guess and it’s easy to forget a constant. But – for some reason – we fell back in touch, we exchanged a couple of messages on Facebook idly catching up as old friends do and then he hit me with the news they had found a mass in his chest, his cancer might be back and he was going for an open biopsy in the coming days. On the 7th November he was told it was a recurrence of Osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer Higgy had fought before when he was 18. The date sticks with me as I also witnessed a fatal car crash that day. I seldom truly believe in bad omens or curses but there has been a dark cloud hanging above my head since that day and I’m afraid it’s yet to be lifted. I managed to visit him only once in the hospital during this time, I’m glad that when I saw him he was still smiling and cracking jokes, quoting episodes of Archer and making light of a bad situation in true Higgy-style. It’s a memory I try and hold on to because it was the last time I would ever see his smile, I wish I had known that then. Sadly after that his health declined sharply and on the 28th December, around 11:40am, my dearest friend lost his second battle with cancer at only 29 years old. He was laid to rest on the 5th January, the only recollections I have of funeral are the concrete floor of the chapel and a few blurs of old and familiar faces of our many mutual friends.
I was 14 when I first met Higgy, he was 15. We were both wearing Nine Inch Nails t-shirts and when we clocked each other in the graveyard that was frequented by our group of miscreant friends, we made a beeline for each other and promptly started arguing over who was the biggest fan, and that became the basis of our friendship over the next 14 years. We fought and bickered constantly – not over our differences, but our similarities. The NIN debate went on for nearly 3 years! (I couldn’t possibly say how it was resolved on a public platform but Higgy definitely won that particular debate.) Most of the time our tiffs had that sense of sibling camaraderie, an air of tongue-in-cheek mixed with a strong desire to really wind the other up. On occasion we fought bitterly; but we always came back to each other in friendship, laughed off our squabbles and moved straight into the next one.
Since he left there has been a huge void inside of me. His absence cuts like a knife. His name still comes up on my phone and I find it hard to swallow that he is not on the other end of the line anymore. I pass places which invoke a memory, usually something small and insignificant like buying a ridiculous amount of cake or fighting over a video-game spotted in a shop window that neither of us were even planning on bothering to play. Whilst they are memories of such inconsequential moments the pain they bring is unbearable and I find myself often overwhelmed by the knowledge that I will no longer be able to share those little moments with him.
Higgy, I miss you like hell. You were a part of me, soul-bound, and you took that part of me away with you on your departure. You were one of my truest friends and one of my worst enemies. I thank you for all the memories you’ve given me, even if they hurt now. I thank you for your unique humour. I thank you for gracing me with such a bond of friendship that only you were able to give.
Missing you always, budd-ay.
Christopher “Higgy” Higginson
11th September 1985 – 28th December 2014