We never became good friends like I wanted, you never told me about your feelings and about the things that made you happy, but I guessed them and I pretended I was right. It felt like I knew so much about you and yet you knew nothing about me.
I first saw you one night at Union Club in Vauxhall. I will never forget that first time. It has been five years since that day. During these five years, my life has turned upside down because of you.
After I saw you for the first time, I wanted to get to know you, to talk to you, and to let you know my feelings about you, in the hope that maybe you’d have the same feelings. We had some friends in common, but we had completely different lifestyles. I was about to finish my undergraduate degree and was trying to get my dream job. I spent hours in the library studying, and had many friends who I could always count on when I needed. You were a heavy drug user and a drug dealer, spent most of your nights at nightclubs, mostly gay clubs, selling your stuff and trying to pick up girls. Your friends were either drug dealers or the kind of people who went partying and took drugs every night and somehow managed to go to work the next day. This included the one or two friends that we had in common.
After that first time, I started going clubbing more often. My need to get to know you became desperation. But somehow our paths were not crossing, the friends we had in common never introduced us. This was partly because I was not brave enough to walk up to you and introduce myself. I was so scared of doing this, even though you flirted with me, maybe because you were high or because you liked me, the latter being the option I decided to accept.
I tried to become your friend on Facebook, but you ignored my request. You were such a popular boy, had thousands of Facebook friends. My request was probably one in the middle of the hundreds that were waiting for your acknowledgment.
As the time passed, my desperation to get to know you became obsession. I was determined to do it. I planned a strategy to get to get to know your friends, so that eventually they would introduce me to you. That required me to go clubbing a lot, take lots of drugs and stay awake for two days most weekends. Unfortunately, just as I managed to enter your circle of friends, you had a fight with one of them, and they decided to ostracise you. I couldn’t stop asking the universe or whatever God-like-force exists out there why this happened exactly when I was so close to getting to know you, to talking to you and demonstrate my feelings.
You disappeared for many months. I kept looking at your Facebook and at your friend’s Facebook profile, looking for a sign, something that would tell me that I still had a chance to see you again. I kept partying and taking drugs with your friends, in the hope that they would say something about you, which they did in few occasions, but none indicated that I would see you again.
Eventually I found out that you had a girlfriend. You returned to Facebook and posted many photos with her. You both looked so happy and in love. I don’t know how to explain how I felt. Deep down I still had hopes to at least be your friend.
I carried on with my mission. I kept the party lifestyle and taking some incredible amounts of drugs. I was so out of it that I was having sex with random people in club toilets, parks, saunas and dark rooms, mostly unprotected.
One day you came into the club with your girlfriend. You said Hi to some old friends and stood with her by the bar. You looked at me, quite a few times. Was that real or just the effect of the drugs I was taking? The week after, you came to the club with her again. This time you both had an argument, quite a loud one. She screamed at you and left the club. You stayed with your friends and you partied most of the night. Unfortunately, our paths didn’t cross again, even though this time we had so many friends in common. I had the impression that “our friends” thought we already knew each other. Many times, we stood close to each other, chatting to our friends, and nobody introduced us. I was too shy and had far too much self-low esteem about myself. I was so scared of being rejected, even though you constantly flirted with me. There was an occasion when you were past behind me and I could swear that you stroked my back, and another time you asked me for a cigarette, and the circumstances made me think that there were lots of smokers nearby, but you came to me who was not smoking and didn’t have any cigarette. You even laughed and made a joke when I said I didn’t smoke. Again, I wasn’t brave enough to introduce myself.
Then one day we ended up in the club toilet with our friend Adam. We were taking bumps of mephedrone. Adam was behaving as if we knew each other. He spoke to you, then to me, then to you again, then to me, and we didn’t speak to each other. Then Adam had to suddenly leave the toilet and left us alone. Oh, my God! It felt odd, I was so nervous. After few seconds of silence, you started speaking to me, because if you are in a small toilet cubicle face to face with someone you don’t know, you don’t just stay quiet. You asked my name, and we finally met! I waited two years for this moment. It took two years since that very first time I saw you, until this moment in the toilet cubicle. We chatted a bit, you asked if I wanted to smoke a cigarette outside, and of course I said yes. We chatted a lot, you were very pro-active in engaging with the conversation. During this conversation, you made it clear that you were not gay, and I had no courage to talk about what I was feeling. I was so happy, and you were such a nice guy.
We became friends! You even accepted my Facebook friend request. We didn’t become close friends, but we said hello every time we saw each other at the club and had little chats, you even hugged and kissed my neck every time we greeted each other. In one occasion, you apologised to me for the last time we spoke (I think you referred to when we met), you were concerned that you were too high and said things that you shouldn’t have said (I was too happy just hearing your voice, I paid no attention to what you said). On another occasion, you said hi and hugged me, and then told the friend I was with that I was such a nice person and that you liked me a lot, and you repeated it and hugged me again. My head was like “what’s going on?”
I started buying drugs from you, every weekend. This was the only way I could see you and talk to you properly. I went into your house, we did lines together, we chatted about silly things, you asked me to introduce girls to you, we messaged each other on WhatsApp, although mostly to discuss the arrangements for me to buy drugs again. You started calling me “lindão”, which is uncommon to hear from a straight guy, and every time I received a WhatsApp message from you starting with “Oi lindão”, or ending “tchau lindão”, I would have such a big smile on my face and feel so happy. I can actually feel the happiness I felt at the time, probably around three years ago, right now whilst I am writing this. However, I started going crazy and depressed because nothing was happening, I was stupid enough to wait for you to make the first move. In the meantime, I was just destroying myself with huge quantities of drugs, putting myself at risk by having unprotected sex with ten to fifteen guys in spaces of two days on most weekends. I was too off my face to think rationally. I overdosed several times, passed out many times and woke up with guys I hardly knew having sex with me. I had many black outs and many times woke up realising that someone had taken advantage of me. At the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. It was almost as if all the drug taking and sex didn’t matter. It was you, and only you that mattered. I had to see you every weekend, buy drugs, wait for them to run out and then buy again, just to see you again. I think today I realise that my promiscuous life was a way of compensating for not having you the way that I wanted.
One day you stopped responding to my messages. For many days, I tried to find out what had happened, until eventually I was told that your parents found out about your drug taking, took you back to Portugal and sent you to rehab, where you stayed for three months. I was so heartbroken. I knew I would probably never see you again, unless I made a trip to Porto and coincidently bumped into you. I slept at night thinking of this moment and even started planning it.
But then many months later you started posting on Facebook again. You looked fresh and happy. It looked like you were going through a new chapter in your life. In comparison, I was at the worst moment of my life. I could not stop taking drugs. A two-day binge turned into four and sometimes five. I lost my job and my friends and became heavily depressed. I could describe you all the horrible things that happened to me but this is not the reason why I am writing you this letter. You even got a job at Emirates Airlines and moved to Dubai. There you found a girlfriend. You were living life to the fullest. As a friend of mine described, you were a “poster boy” to any drug addict. I must say that I was sad I would never see you again, but I was also very happy that you had achieved what I hadn’t achieved yet. Trying to quit drugs became the biggest struggle in my life.
As time went by, I got used to the idea that you would never be in my life again. The struggle to get to know you and be close to you became a struggle against drugs. But I still thought of you and reflected on how you changed my life so much, unfortunately for the worse, without being aware of it. I desired you so much that during day and night I imagined the many situations that we could have gone through. In my imagination, we were boyfriends, we had fights, we reconciled, we travelled together, you cheated and made me cry, I cheated and made you cry, you rejected me but later realised that you loved me… so many dreams of us together, would I ever be able to get over it? When you left rehab, and moved back to your mum’s in Porto, I used to go to bed thinking of the day I’d go on holidays to Porto and bump into you at a beach party. You’d come to visit me at my hotel and we’d fall in love with each other. As you can see there is no end to my imagination.
Today it has been five years, five years that changed my life completely. Sometimes I reflect and try to guess how these five years shaped your life. You were an extremely good looking guy, a professional catwalk model, if people search your name on Google Images there will be many modelling photos of you. I guess that there were many people mesmerised by you like I was, trying to get to know you and planning a strategy so they could be part of your life. These people were on their knees begging for your attention and ready to do whatever you asked them. They went to bed at night imagining what their lives would be like with you next to them. With those that you accepted in your life, some you made them suffer and broker their hearts (I heard the stories), because you had power over them, the ones that you didn’t accept had to go to great lengths to try to be accepted. This has probably been the case in your life since you became aware of your own existence.
When you moved to London I think you were around 20 (I concluded this from my obsessive checking of your Facebook posts). You settled in South London, you went to gay clubs because it was easier to sell drugs and pick up girls. It was also where you had men falling on their knees for you, men like me. Men who would do anything to conquer your heart, they’d offer you a drink, give you drugs, buy you drugs, buy drugs from you, invite you to their amazing flats and introduce you to their amazing friends, and some of them maybe even managed to have sex with you. You probably loved all this, and was happy to carry on receiving the attention. I am sure you also had this from women, but I can only guess based on what happens in the gay world because this is my world.
In my reflexion, I felt sorry for you, because deep down you were probably very lonely. These people were trying to be your friends, but what they wanted was primarily the stunning looking guy that you were, and what they offered to you was not always in your best interest, because their agenda was to do whatever it takes to make you their possession. It did not concern them that you were on your early twenties, that eventually you’d end up a drug addict and taken to rehab, that you’d need to start all over again and live life to the fullest, that the need to live life to the fullest would kill you. Maybe none of them wanted to get to know the real Pedro, the one that would carry on being Pedro without the stunning looks. I could be wrong, maybe I am saying this because I feel jealous of these guys, or because deep down I am angry with the fact that I didn’t get what I wanted and some of them did. Then I am just being a hypocrite, which is probably the case. Now that you are dead, I feel partly guilty, because I was one of these men that didn’t care about the Pedro behind that stunning looking guy.
I’ll never forget the week when I received a message asking “remember Pedro?”. This is like asking me “do you know who you are?”. Of course, I know Pedro, more than anyone thinks. I was told that you had suffered an accident, suffered severe brain damage and that the doctors had lost hopes. Your family and friends were asking for prayer’s. I am not a religious person but I confess I prayed for you. A week later I received another text message saying “Pedro died today”. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain what that image composed of these three words meant to me. They were somehow so powerful, an image I’ll never forget. It means not just our story which started five years ago when I first saw you at the nightclub and ended with your death, but the end of something much bigger which I don’t quite know how to define.
Now I find myself thinking about you every day again, although not the way I used to think before. I will be lying if I said that my feelings for you have died completely. You are still in my heart and will always be.
Pedro, I am so sorry! I am sorry that all this happened the way they did. With me you were always an honest and kind person. After you recovered from drug addiction you seemed happy and full of life, which is something I’ve only just managed to start pursuing. In your photos, you looked so eager to live the things you never lived, and you thanked God for everything. You were so happy for having gone such a long way. You didn’t deserve to die so young. In this letter, I wanted to tell you in detail everything that happened to me after I saw you for the first time. The drug addiction, the depression, the job that I lost, the opportunities to have a very successful career which I missed, the many friends that I lost, the damage that I caused to my family and those that love me, the illnesses, the emotional pain for having to go through all that, I wanted to tell you every detail of everything that I went through because of you. But I reflected that this letter is not about me, and that none of this was your fault. I made those decisions. I made them because of you, but they were my decisions.
I am writing this letter because I’ve never made my feelings known to you, and I never will. But here I can let the world know about it. I want the world to know how special you are, and that no matter how my life changed because of you, today I am happy where I am, and I have dreams that I probably would not have if I had never seen you that first time. From the bottom of my heart, I hope that you achieved all your dreams in your very short life and that you were happy.
I also want to say goodbye. I never had the chance to say it when you left London, and I never will have the chance to say it properly, and here is the best I can do. You went from being my obsession to being my inspiration. Your death has made me think more about myself and what I should expect from life. If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change anything, because if the circumstances that led to your death never materialised, there is no guarantee that different circumstances wouldn’t lead to it. There is no guarantee that you’d be as happy.
Pedro, I hope that wherever you are you can somehow read this words. Here I am closing a chapter in my life and starting a better one, but I promise I will always think of you.