Brian Reynolds had a gift. A rare gift that only special people have. A gift that doesn’t even have a name. Some might call it charisma or personality but those words don’t even come close to what he had.
It’s difficult to explain. But I’ll try…
I first met Brian at school. He wasn’t the brightest kid in class or the best looking or the best at any particular sport, but he was the most popular. Not just in our class or year, but in the whole school! Everyone wanted to be Brian Reynolds mate. It was bizarre and there was no real reason for it. It just happened.
And it continued as he grew older. He had this kind of “Aura”.
He was instantly likeable. If you spent ten minutes in his company you felt as though you’d known him all your life. In half an hour you’d be confiding in him about your deepest feelings, you’d also want him to come round for Christmas dinner and you’d probably have given him your pin number. I’m being flippant, but you get the picture. He was THAT type of person. You trusted him from the second you met him.
It wasn’t that he was the “life and soul of the party” either. He wasn’t an extrovert or a great joke teller. But he was a good listener and seemed genuinely interested in what you had to say. He had a fantastic memory for names, facts and figures. He NEVER forgot anyone.
Wherever he went he would have a crowd around him in minutes. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE wanted to be friends with Brian Reynolds.
He wasn’t married which was strange as he could have had his pick of any girl in town. And before you jump to conclusions, he wasn’t gay either. He was just…Brian Reynolds!
If you could bottle what Brian had, you’d be a billionaire many times over.
I remember once when I came back from University and hadn’t seen Brian for almost a year, I called him and said we should meet up for lunch. I remember his words clearly.
“Let’s go somewhere quiet mate where we can have a proper catch up.”
I knew exactly what he meant.
We met in a rural pub about twenty miles outside of town. We’d never been to the pub before. I met him in the car park and we walked in together. I went to the bar to order the drinks and Brian went to find us a table. By the time I got back, Brian had three people talking to him. He just looked at me with a stupid grin on his face. We never did get to have our “proper catch up.”
I used to tease him about it. “You and that bloody gift of yours.”
Whenever I said it he always did the same. Just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
So it came as a great shock to everyone when Brian Reynolds committed suicide at the age of 34.
His funeral was attended by thousands. The local Church couldn’t accommodate the enormous amount of people that turned up. It had to be broadcast over a loud speaker for the hundreds outside.
After the funeral his dad took me to one side and gave me an envelope.
“He left this for you. We found it in his bedside cabinet. It was sealed and had your name on it. We haven’t opened it.”
He walked away with tears streaming down his face.
I waited till I got back home. Poured myself a large scotch, sat down and began to read the letter inside the envelope.
“Hi Mate. Sorry to leave you this way, but I couldn’t bear it any longer. For years my mind has been full of other people’s problems. I can’t go out because everyone wants a piece of me. If I stay in my phone rings constantly and the door bell does the same. I haven’t slept properly in years. It’s not a gift mate. It’s a fucking curse.”