Our beloved student, Hassan, is gone--having left yesterday, along with Prince Fahad, for Spokane, and thence to Saudi Arabia. We shall miss you dearly--your laughter, your songs, your good heart. A presence has left our house, as if by a wind through the chimney, and has left behind the sort of deafening silence that most commonly follows only a death.
Last night we walked together, I and my wife, at the mall, doing nothing, holding mittened hands, and you seemed to walk with us, all the more present for being so absent.
We sat down for soup and salad at Stanfords, and Sant ordered a tall drink, as if in your honor. She changed the subject again and again, only to find herself reinitiating the same. By and by the tears she had been trying to avoid welled above willpower and tipped the edges of her lower lids, glistening like a silver thaw. She excused herself from the table, so that she could return anon and claim to have cried not at all.
Hassan our friend, our gentle giant--this uncommon mix of men great and small--part Falstaff and part Steerforth, part Shrek and part St. Nick, part troubadour and part court jester--a catcher in the rye, the Samaritan who passes by on his mule, the spirit of Christmas present, dispenser of abundance, Pied Piper and St. Peter.
We shall see you again in Paradise.