Two weekends ago, Katherine and I sat on the beach and spent the entire afternoon drinking rose and looking at pictures of Anthony Bourdain’s face.
What a face.
On Friday, I was at work. It was a quiet day. I was feeling slightly melancholy. I was a tiny bit hungover from drinking mescal with a stranger the night before (don’t ask…). I was wearing a Sonic Youth T-shirt that a boy made for me over a decade ago. It’s falling apart now, but I will wear it forever. I had been to the café over the road for a bacon sandwich and an orange juice. I was drinking tea; I couldn’t quite stomach coffee.
‘Oh no,’ Olivia said. ‘One of your favourites has died.’
I could not believe it. In the most literal sense, I could not believe it. Not Anthony Bourdain: bon vivant, brilliant human, basically my dream husband.
This beautiful, inspirational, curious, generous-spirited man. How could it be possible? I still do not believe it.
I didn’t know him personally. But the nature of his work – and the modern phenomenon of social media – made me feel like I did.
My phone buzzed with friends asking if I’d heard the news, expressing similar disbelief. Sarah and I decamped to the pub; it seemed the only thing to do.
I haven’t felt right all weekend. I, who didn’t even know him. I have drunk too much red wine. I have smoked too many cigarettes. I may even have eaten a whole camembert with my hands. In bed. In my pants. Weeping. Ahem.
I stayed up all night and watched old episodes until my eyes hurt. The Layover in Paris is my favourite: eat some cheese, get drunk, have sex with a French person if you can. Unarguable advice, in my opinion.
If only being an extraordinary, kind, funny, clever person could protect you from death.
The good people die. Even heroes die. One day Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith and Viv Albertine will die.
‘Your body is not a temple,’ the dream man once said. ‘It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.’
We will all die.
But, please, not like this. Not today.