Like a chameleon he was walking through life. I’d always admired him since the first time I met him. He was life defined, the way I wanted to lead my life, independent, humble, knowledgeable, passionate, caring, confident, and I could go on and on. He was also a great story teller. Of course it was a gift but then again his stories were his own and he had lived every single minute of the stories he was telling. They were his stories and they were great, just like him.
He was at his very best when he was in one of his story telling moods. It happened quite often. You’d always know as well ’cause he had his special kind of ritual that involved getting his cigar out and if he didn’t have a cigar handy he would get his pack of cigarillos out. He’d apologise a couple of times whilst searching his pockets to find his lighter before he lit the damn thing. He had wide attentive eyes and always displayed a kind of curiosity about life. It didn’t matter what he was doing it could be the most mundane of things but he always managed to somehow turn it into something interesting. He had a way of savouring whatever life had to offer in the moment. He enjoyed having discussions with people from all walks of life. He never judged anyone or anything. He was extremely open minded. He was very likable. It was actually difficult not to like him. He would always take a deep breath after his first few puffs on his cigar and then start telling the story. You’d never know what the story would be about though. It might be about something wildly different from what you’d just discussed or something that didn’t have anything to do with the current setting or place or people. It was like he lived in a parallel universe at the same time as he was truly present in the moment, quick-witted and eager to get involved in every discussion and to participate. He was very helpful. This is what made him and his stories so unique as they had the element of surprise. He would always take his time to get ready, he would lean back in his chair if he was sitting or lift one hand off the steering wheel if he was driving or shift weight on his legs if he was standing. He would tell his story in such a way as to build both suspense and empathy with the listener, he added false pauses to make every word count. He was remarkable really.
He taught me how one must find joy and beauty in the small things. He showed me how every moment counts. He taught me how to be strong and how to cherish the present. He was beautiful. He was wise. He was inspiring. He touched me in a way no one has touched me ever before or ever since for that matter. His stories lives on and new stories are created because of him. His legacy. My life.