The last time I saw Thijs was about two weeks before Queen’s Day. He was sitting on a park bench with four friends and had his arm around the boy next to him. I took a picture. He is smiling broadly in this photo. It’s a big smirk that goes perfectly with the slightly mischievous twinkle in his eyes. He wore baggy pants and held a glass of wine and a cigarette in his free hand. I posted the photo on Facebook. Someone replied: ‘Thijs wide legs? Real?’
My earliest memories of him hover somewhere in Salou, fresh out of high school, ginger under the Spanish sun, bursting out laughing. My latest is this photo. Somewhere in the meantime, we became friends. We weren’t close friends, but the kind of friends you become when you have lots of mutual friends and run into each other all the time. The kind of friend that makes it a little easier for you in your mid-twenties, when you don’t want or need to distinguish between friends, acquaintances, and acquaintances. Because time is endless and everything is one big party and the more souls the better. You don’t really know each other, but well enough to come to each other’s funeral.
After his studies, Thijs started living with a good friend of mine. In the years that followed, I came to know him as warm, playful, generous and hearty. And mad. He had a lingering desire to set up a strobe in his bedroom at one of the countless house parties he hosted (whether or not his roommate knew it), with a large speaker next to it that would play the sound of non-stop children’s laughter. He would lock the bedroom door. Anyone who went to the bathroom walked through that door and wondered what was going on in there. I can still see the beaming face with which he told me that. It never happened.
I can’t say that I miss him. I didn’t know him well enough for that and our lives weren’t intertwined enough. And I would like to say that our friendship had become a real friendship. More likely, we had lost touch with each other over the past twelve years, as I had lost track of almost all of those friends who had made us friends. But it’s such a shame. That on May 1, the day after the Queen’s birthday, my phone rang late in the morning. And that I was standing on the threshold of my living room. And at the other end of the line the voice of a friend resounds. And that she said Thijs fell out of a window that night. And that was it. And it never got used to.
“Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover.”