I woke up this morning feeling sad. It took me a while to figure out why, and I still don’t know the fullness, but I realised Eric was on my mind. I probably had a dream about him that I do not remember. Eric was one of the first kids I met living on the streets of the Claremont area when I first moved to Cape Town back in 2000. We had become close. He was also the first kid, of now many, that I knew who passed away, in 2001.
He was such a lively kid; full of joy, life, fun, continuous laughter. It is always sad to lose someone who is dear to you, but what made Eric’s loss even harder was the fact that his death was a “freak accident” in a drop-in centre that was new at the time, and in self preservation the leaders of the shelter kept Eric’s death on a very low level.
I miss Eric, and others like him who have died tragic deaths here on the streets of Cape Town. Even when I look into the eyes of the living, the older guys that were the younger guys when i first moved here, I feel the same sense of loss that I feel when I think about Eric. Because though they may be living, the lively children I once knew are very far gone, and their eyes tell the story of having seen too much, too fast, for way too long.
And above and beyond Eric, others who have passed away, and the guys that have grown up too fast, I think this morning I woke up mourning the death of parts of myself. I look back on my early years here and see such a different person. I have changed a lot; for the good and bad, and I am pretty in touch with both sides. But on a nostalgic-driven monday morning like today, I wish I could travel back in time, just for a visit, and say “what’s up” to Eric, all the others I have lost, the kids that are now “all grown up”, and my ten-years-younger self.