I met James Vickers when we were both about twelve. We were next door neighbors, and I had been out in my back yard playing soccer by myself, kicking the ball against the fence. It was at this point I met James. It took me a little while to notice his little spectacled face peering down at me from his bedroom window. When I spotted him, I waved. He waved back and opened his window to talk to me.
We spoke about lots of things: interests, favourite food, favourite video games- all sorts. I asked James if he would like to come to my house and play soccer with me. He politely declined, and told me that he suffered terribly with Asthma- among other illnesses, and that his parents absolutely refused to let him out of the house, or let anyone in. He instead asked me if I had a Facebook account and said he would add me on that.
I checked my Facebook later that night, accepted James’ friend request and we got chatting. And from that day, that’s pretty much how our friendship went. I would head off to school in the morning, finish up, come home and get straight on Facebook to speak with James. That’s the way it was for about five years. Unfortunately though, James’ illnesses got the better of him one day, and he grew very sick.
The inevitable happened though. I hadn’t spoken to James on Facebook for a few days. I had spent some time in my back garden too, waiting for him to open the window and let me know that he was fine. He never did. Instead his father came to my house one evening and presented me with a small invite to a funeral. “He told us about how much you both had in common,” his father told me. “You were his only friend as far as we know.”
The funeral was very touching. I did my best to hold back my tears, but completely lost it when Fields of Gold by Sting was played as they took James’ casket away. After the funeral in his honour still dressed in my suit, I had a bit of a kick around with the same soccer ball I had when I first met James and had a beer in the back garden. It felt weird knowing that the room he used to speak to me from was now empty and unoccupied.
As sad as I felt, I knew he was in a better place. A place where his afflictions would no longer bother him. His death had come so sudden though. The funeral just hadn’t done it for me. Perhaps I needed some kind of closure just to let me know that James was truly gone, and wasn’t coming back. So that night, I logged on to Facebook once more, opened up a chat box to James’ account and typed “Hello James”. At this point I realized how silly I was being, and promptly deleted the message before settling down in bed. I left the computer on, just in case any of my other friends sent me any messages.
Something then happened that sent a chill up my spine. The only light in the room was being emitted from the computer screen, and as I peered across the room at James’ still open chat box, I saw the words “James is typing…”