When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my phone for messages.
Today I found out a girl friend of ours died after a three-year battle with cancer. So I went along texting a few friends to let them know. I got myself out of bed and picked up my friend Sayoko at the airport and took her to the hotel.
Sayoko and I passed the time talking during traffic and had a quick bite at the hotel lobby.
After merienda, I dropped her off at SMX and that’s when my phone rang.
My friend Tata didn’t sound good. I found out a second friend had died around 4 PM in Bangkok.
Our Thai friend Joey had a massive heart attack at the age of 50.
Joey was a talented stylist who seemed to have drunk from the fountain of youth. He loved food, fashion and butterflies.
He always liked my Instagram photos and last night he left a comment and called me a nun.
Joey and I met at UP Fine Arts in 1985. He was my Thai BFF and because I was manang and wore long skirts to school, he called me a nun.
He taught me a lot about Thai fashion and patiently toured me around Bangkok even before Thai food and fashion became fashionable. We used to argue in Bangkok because I wanted to take a taxi and he wanted to walk and take the train
(He taught me to kneel down when talking to small children and to pick them up when they cry.)
When we were in UP he made me scream when he placed a giant grasshopper in my hand.
Joey was the only reason I went to Bangkok. Him and the world’s greatest Thai food at the Mandarin Oriental.
A few days ago I had been thinking about taking the kids to visit, just to eat and see Joey.
After braving the traffic, I got home around 7 PM, plopped into bed and cried my strongest cry in a long time.
I stopped crying when my son and dog entered the room.
“Why do the good die young?” my friend Anne texted.
“I don’t know Anne. If only the bad would die first,” I answered thoughtfully.
And now I am waiting for news on the wake to find out if I can fix my schedule to see him for the last time.
After this, Bangkok will never be the same again. One last time and I don’t think I’ll ever go back.
Thank you Joey, for everything.