Two years ago, on October 18, 2009, Mac Tonnies passed away at the age of 34. Mac was one of my two or three closest friends, a kindred spirit, and a collaborator on a number of projects that were in development (and one, a play called Doing Time, that had been finished and staged in Halifax, and then Boulder, Colorado, a year before he died).
A favourite memory that I haven't related before: when Mac was here in November, 2007, for the run of Doing Time, we went out for a drink with the cast after one of the performances. The actors bailed on us after maybe an hour, so Mac and I had a couple more drinks, which was out of character for him (but not for me, so he gamely played along), and then we went for a walkabout around Halifax. We eventually made our way down to the waterfront, where we found a perch on one of the piers, and stared out at the harbour, with the buoy lights bouncing up and down on top of the restive black water. It was cold, and the wind whistled past us, almost like a song, as we sat there for five or six minutes. Neither of us said a single word - we just took all of it in. Then I looked at him, and while I could spend an hour sitting on a pier staring at the night (and have, many times), I figured maybe he had had enough. "Want to head back?" I asked. He shook his head, just a bit, and said, "No. This is perfect." And so we remained at the end of the pier, for another forty-five minutes or so, intermittently breaking the comfortable silence of friends to talk about the state of our love lives (or what passed for them at the time).
I haven't been quite the same since he passed away. I still wander down to that pier every now and then, look out at the blackness of the night, and when the wind plays, I can hear Mac's "song" again. The notes might not be there anymore, at least not in the same way, but I can still feel the rhythm, and hear the melody.
I always will.
I always will.