Or Jesus, which I used to call you. And you didn't use to protest it. We met one late evening, one of the rare times I was going out in Oslo. I could tell immediately that you were different from the people I usually associate with, when you challenged me in a whole new way. I remember that our mutual friend Ole introduced me as a visual artist, and instead of the usual "Oh, how interesting" you said something like "No, you're not." Of which I responded about the same, and explained that I myself was equally critical of this title. The conversation lasted throughout the late night hours, you quoted philosophers till your face turned blue, while I yawned unimpressed. We argued about who was smarter, and we both won. We won each other's hearts, and the prize was a wonderful friendship.
Then you called me a short while later and invited me to come visit. I was very pleasantly surprised, because at the time I was not used to people calling me. I was a girl with extremely low self-esteem, and I probably did not feel worthy of a friend like you. It took some time before I was able to realize that you actually appreciated me. I don't think words can express how much influence you have had on my self-esteem and self-appreciation, not to mention artistic confidence. Where I saw banal and lewd semi-pornographic drawings, you expressed delight over my works of genius, as you called them. Slowly but surely I stopped judging myself so hard and allowed myself a less censored creative outlet. You were the first honest indication that one could actually experience something by looking at my drawings, and it gave me a reason to continue. I became curious about myself.
The first time I came to visit, I immediately bonded with your beloved kitty Midnatt (Midnight). I love that cat so much, and it was a true joy to babysit her every time you were out traveling. I know Aleksander feels the same way. We adored her. We barely left the apartment, but spent most the time cuddling and speaking with her. And she chatted loudly back at us. I remember you said you could tell by her voice every time I had been visiting. It was extra intense, you said. She meowed a bit louder than usual. She probably thought it was fun meeting someone who spoke fluent cat. We had many long and good conversations, Midnight and I. She was very happy with you.
Concerning our own conversations, I hardly even know what to say. I'm in loss of words without you. Where I lacked words, and could only gesticulate some kind of feeling or vague theory, you could usually tell me that there once existed a philosopher who had written down the exact same thing. You also knew what year he had written it, where he came from, why he did it, what he was wearing, what his cousin had for dinner, and a load of other fun facts of varying relevance. We spoke mostly of such topics; philosophy, world history, social issues and especially metaphysics. Regarding the latter, I'm not sure if I will ever find a conversation partner who can compare with you. It was so exciting seeing where the conversations led us. I, as a relatively spiritual philosopher driven by emotion and intuition, and you, a highly intelligent and well-read philosopher who possessed vast amounts of knowledge. Together we solved world problems and found all the answers. At least so we thought. The rest of the time we used to admire your beautiful and majestic cat. We could talk at length about what superior and divine beings these lovely creatures are.
And your hospitality. You need to understand that I am Norwegian, and not accustomed to that sort. I was stunned, to the point of suspicion, by the boundless hospitality and generosity you showed me. You always made a feast of a meal, whether it was breakfast at noon, or dinner at midnight. I regret never learning the recipe for the lamb marinade, even though I am a vegetarian at heart. But we both live to eat, and not vice versa. We are connoisseurs of fine dining. We stopped to smell the flowers and admire the surrounding beauty.
When you moved into your new apartment Sandaker, you were happy to announce that you had purchased a lovely pull-out sofa, so that I could visit more often. I remember thinking, "Are you mad? 'You can't buy a whole sofa just because of me!" And it probably wasn't only because of me, but anyways I was too overwhelmed to express my gratitude in an adequate manner. In addition, you handed me the spare keys to the apartment. I really wish I'd used them more, but you know I had my own engagements going on in Holmestrand.
You were a master of meeting talented people. Or maybe you were just a master of pulling out the best sides in all of them. You were also a master of introducing the right people for each other. I am sure your social skills have been indispensable in numerous projects that have meant a lot to both individuals, and the entire humanity. One of the last things we did together was to meet at Frogner cinema, where you helped arrange a showing. It was a powerful documentary about gay Palestinian refugees, and they were all gathered together for a reunion in Oslo that day. Later we went to your house and had chili con carne. Your commitment to those who are excluded from society exceeds what is actually possible for a single person to implement. And I barely knew a fraction of what you have achieved.
Losing you has been a nightmare for me, Amin. But I don't want you to leave behind you a nightmare. I want you to leave behind you a dream come true. And I'm sure I speak for everyone who knows you when I say that we want a better and more just world for all the people on earth. And that we shall continue fighting the ideals we shared with you. We want to change the world, and not only do we want it, we'll do it. For you have shown us that we have the strength, the knowledge and the cohesion to make it.
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