Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rest In Peace

Monday night I got home from my writing group and F was waiting for me at the door. I said, in Dutch, "How are you?"

F looked at me with sad eyes and said, "Slecht." That means bad. Sometimes I don't know what's going on with him and I hate hearing things like that.

"Why?" I asked.

"Mario is dead."

Mario is F's ex. They were together for 17 years. They got along after the break up. They were friendly. Mario visited a few times and they had a drink and went to visit the grave of F's parents.

Then about three weeks ago, I was home one night and I got a phone call. I didn't understand what the person was saying. It was a small, female voice. I said, in Dutch, "You have the wrong number."

A few days later, the phone rang again. It was the same woman. I handed the phone to F. He spoke to her for a while and then hung up.

"Who was that?" I asked.

"A friend of Mario's. He's in the hospital."

"For what?"

"He just got back from Singapore and then he got sick. Could be something he got there. She said that it wasn't anything life threatening, just some mysterious virus."

A few days later, F said that he wanted to go visit Mario, who was still in the hospital. He said he wanted to get some answers. The friend said that Mario's mother was depressed and his sister was sure Mario was going to die. F went to Milan the Wednesday before we went on vacation. He came back that evening with few answers. He saw Mario, wished him well and returned to Amsterdam.

For the next few days and through our time in Cyprus, F spoke with the friend on the phone a few times. Mario was on the mend, feeling better, talking, eating, getting stronger. F said he wanted to visit again next week.

On Monday, according to the woman, Mario was eating chocolate at 3:00 and by 5:00, he was dead. He was on a ventilator.

I said, "A ventilator. What does he have? What's wrong with him?" F still doesn't know. He had to fly to Florence for work Tuesday evening. The funeral is today in Milan. F might be home today and he might have to take a flight tomorrow afternoon.

A friend suggested that it might be the Avian Flu. It's a disease that came from birds and mutated so that it's affecting humans now. I'd never heard of it, but I googled it and there it was. It affects the lungs and is in Asian countries right now. So that might be it.

Mario was only 48 and a month ago was working and traveling. Today he will be buried. F is very sad. I only met him once. Then a relieved him of a little something he wasn't using at the time.

Rest in peace, Mario.

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