Sunday, June 17, 2012

Requiem For A Friend

"He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again."

--William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Act 1, Scene 2

My friend Fidel died yesterday.

He had been ill for several years, never fully recovering from the removal of a benign brain tumor three years ago. A once-vibrant and energetic man was reduced to a shell of himself, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it hurt us all to see him so diminished. Still we, his friends, held onto the hope that he might one day be fully restored to himself--but it was not to be, and now, Fidel's booming, exuberant voice is stilled forever.

I miss him already.

I first met Fidel over twenty years ago; we worked together as stockbrokers, and stayed close friends after I left Wall Street. He mentored me when I first joined the business, and proved to be one of the most intelligent, audacious, classy, and genuinely funny people I've ever met. At 6'2" with a weightlifter's arms and chest, Fidel hailed from Nigeria by way of London and Wisconsin, and spoke with the unique accent one might expect of a man with roots in three continents. He was always elegantly well-dressed, well-read, boisterous and absolutely unafraid to speak his mind to any one, at any time. Politically aware and astute, we spent many enjoyable hours discussing politics. Fidel's sharp sense of humor made him both a popular and easy-to-find figure in the Twin Cities. He could always be found in the middle of a circle of friends, smiling, laughing, talking, and teasing, with his bespoke suits, shaved head, and booming laugh marking the spot that he'd made his own.

Now his stentorian voice is stilled--who can I talk politics with for hours on end? Who will say my name with that distinctive accent of his? Whose roaring laugh can I hear clear across a busy street? The silence is deafening. You left us too soon, Fidel.

Our world is now much quieter and darker without you, my friend, but all our lives are richer for having known you. Until next time, rest in peace.