I’m not writing you this letter because I think you’ll somehow read it from beyond the grave, or because I think it’ll magically change anything that happened. However selfish it sounds, I’m writing this for me. I realised today that the only way I’m going to move on from your death and focus on my life ahead is to write down exactly what I felt when I was with you, even if that means I am the only one who will read it. So here goes.
When we were little, we were so close I felt as if you were a part of me. We shared the same dreams and ambitions, the same goals and thoughts. I always pictured you, me and Milika being old men together, and I never even thought of the idea that we’d grow apart.
But when you turned thirteen and you first put your headphones in and blasted your loud rap music, I felt as if you were trying to drown out everything you knew. You no longer cared about your family, your culture, and most importantly to me, our friendship.
Years went by, and while we were still friends, our relationship was nowhere near as strong as it used to be. While my life revolved around rope-making and traditions, yours seemed to revolve around rap and technology.
That’s why when you agreed to come to Darwin with me and Milika, I felt hopeful again. The three of us being together strengthened our relationship I’d been missing for so many years, and the strong bond that we’d shared finally returned. Seeing you with us, hunting, singing and dancing, made me connect with the land in a way I never had before, and gave me hope that you would rediscover your culture.
Yes, there were times when I couldn’t stand being around you. Times when I thought you put your Walkman and mobile phone before me and Milika. And at these times I hated you. You’d completely crushed my hope that we’d be as close as we were.
But when I found you face down in the mud after your accident, all that was out of my mind. I cried every night for weeks after that, and I could not...