Sometimes life delivers a kick in the hee-haws.
I stop at the little café in the square yesterday afternoon after my swim.
As I shake hands with my friend Ramos, the proprietor, I see a box on the bar.
It has a label taped to it.
Les Amis de Jerry, it says.
Friends of Jerry.
What’s this, I ask.
Jerry is dead, Ramos tells me.
I look blankly at him.
Jerry runs the children’s carousel just across from the café.
He is a friend.
We are not close buddies, but we talk, mostly about rugby.
For reasons that no longer matter, as a joke, we call each other Eric.
Just two days ago, as I pass the carousel, he calls me across.
He is all smiles, as usual.
Look what I have, he says.
He shows me a beautiful 128-page glossy magazine ‘Coupe du Monde 2015’.
The Rugby World Cup, 2015, starts in less than three weeks.
He is excited at the prospect.
We browse through it together, then discuss the France v Scotland match this weekend.
A pre-tournament warm up, which he will now not see.
You like the magazine, he asks me.
Brilliant, I answer honestly.
Take it, he says, but bring it back before the competition begins!
We laugh, and shake hands.
I leave, carrying my temporary gift.
The details of this ghastly accident are unimportant.
Jerry was fifty-three years old.