Inseparable best friends, we met during my first week at primary school, he was the coolest kid in school, everyone wanted to be his friend and I think because of that the school headmistress buddied us together.
We literally spent every spare moment we had together including evenings sharing a bag of fish & ships from his local chippy washed down with a bottle of dandelion & burdock or cycling for hours in our neighbourhood without a care in the world.
But growing up had its toll on our friendship, I passed my 11 plus exam and got a place in a prestigious all boys Grammar School whereas Will got a place at the local secondary school, but we vowed that would not get in the way of our friendship.
Inevitably going to two different schools did have an effect and we slowly drifted apart, by the time I we turned 15 he was already in trouble with the police and rumours echoed that he was dabbling with soft drugs.
The last time I saw him he was a shadow of his former self, unrecognisable, skinny, rough and clearly doped out of his head. I recall giving him a hug and asking him to sort himself out, look after his health and whatever he was doing to stop it!
I think I in my late twenties, married, two awesome kids, a house, a mortgage and a successful career, I was back in my childhood neighbourhood and bumped into one of my old primary school friends, in hindsight a meeting I wish never happened.
No sooner than we had exchanged greetings she hugged me and said she was sorry about William. My whole body froze, deep down I knew but I had to ask, “What happened" I asked nervously, “he died last week of an overdose” came the reply.
I don’t recall anything else about that encounter, not what I did next, where I went or how I got home but I do recall his face as the child I grew up with, his blonde hair, his laugh and his smile, and I recall sitting in my car, in my driveway that evening crying my heart out, blubbering like a baby, wishing I had the chance to see him before he passed, to have been able to have helped him with his addiction, or just to tell him that he was the most amazing friend I ever had.
I had every intention to write about every adventure me and my best friend had, the laughter, the times we went fishing and the days we spent playing in the park or watching movies , but I couldn’t, even writing this is painful, publishing it more so as to this day my eyes well up just thinking about the best childhood friend anyone could have ever wished for.
In loving memory of my best friend, William.
"At some point in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time and none of you never knew it!"