See you next time. Love and hugs

On my ‘phone there’s a thread of texts stretching back to 2006 when Jay and I made a radio series about Nelson Mandela. One, from that warm Chicago night in November 2008, reads “In Grant Park watching Obama make history. Unbelievable.” Another, from December last year, says “Sad moment :(( Mandela” and, a few days later, “An African American President addressing an African hero… never thought we’d ever witness this.”

Other messages are less momentous – work queries, festive greetings, arrangements to meet – but were sometimes just as consequential: here’s one from July 2012 which ends: “PS I got engaged last week” and, almost a year later, another suggesting we meet in the cafe in John Lewis because “I’m cooking tonight so will do my shop at the same time.” We drank tea and delightedly discussed wedding details.

The last text is from March this year. We’d just spoken on the ‘phone and made our usual loose arrangement to hook up in Broadcasting House. But I wasn’t at my desk and he left a note – I still have it – “See you next time. Love and hugs, Jay x”. I was really sorry to have missed him then, immeasurably sorry now there won’t be a next time. So I hug these fragments of our friendship, and remember Jay, with love.

Dixi Stewart

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