In memory of my friend Kay

It’s been longer than I’d like since I last posted here, but the last couple of weeks have been a little odd. Nearly a fortnight ago my friend Kay Dekker died, and I’ve been trying to put something about him into words.

I met Kay, as so many other people probably did, in my first year at university when I was young and confused and feeling like a square peg in a round hole. Kay loved befriending people who felt like square pegs in the round hole that is our society, and showing them that being different to everyone else is not only not a bad thing, but something to be celebrated.

And when you had been befriended by Kay, you stayed befriended. I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years, even though we lived in the same town, but it never occurred to me that we had ‘lost touch’. A friend of his said online: ‘You were either friends with Kay Dekker or you hadn’t met him yet.’ He had an abiding and genuine interest in everything and everyone he encountered. This was why everyone warmed to Kay and why he had literally hundreds of friends, in real life and through the internet. One word that seems to come up again and again in what people have written about him is ‘kind’. He loved talking to people about their problems, counselling and encouraging them, and there are many people out there who say that he changed their lives by his wise advice.

He also had a brain the size of a planet. In the days before the world wide web, Kay was the go-to source for information of all kinds. Medicine, botany, maths, science, music, linguistics and language (he co-wrote a paper on the word frequency of Jane Austen’s writing style): he could tell you something about more or less anything (except football). I remember him most clearly sitting on the floor at the centre of a group of friends, often in the early hours of the morning, mug of tea at his elbow, baccy tin balanced on his knee while he rolled a tight little cigarette, frowning slightly as he concentrated on the conversation, or making some saucy double entendre comment with a supposedly innocent twinkle in his eye.

I will miss him terribly.


21 March 2017

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