“Did you know Jim passed away?”

This is what Jim’s wife said after I had placed an order for a 25 kg bag of dog food.  She said Jim passed away on the 17th of “this month” – meaning November.  Yes, I know it is the 2nd of December today, but death has a way of slowing time for those it touches.

I hadn’t spoken to Jim for a few months, but his wife told me in a previous conversation (over ordering dog food, again), that he was bedridden and would not take food.  He just wanted to die.

Jim and I had a chuckle when we first met.  It was obviously a funny line to say “Hi, Jim, I’m Jim!  Nice to meet you.”  For at least two years he delivered bags of dog food for our pets.    And he genuinely wanted to know where I was from originally, and, having never left the borders of South Africa, he asked what it was like in my country.  In September last year he heard about the terrible floods in Manila.  I told him I was on my way there in a few days.  He was truly concerned for my family, as if they were his own.  When I returned from that trip he listened intently as I described what I had seen.

He mentioned he had cancer and was treated for it.  He hated being sick, and was hopeful that he had gotten rid of the disease.  But it came back with a vengeance.  Early this year someone else had taken over the delivery.

I really didn’t know Jim very well.  Didn’t even know his surname.  All I know is that he was a very kind and soft spoken man.  Easy to surrender a smile or a gentle laugh.

One more connection lost.

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. View all posts by matangmanok

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