Stand­ing six foot seven inches tall,

S/ - - BEAUTY -

John Heck­bert is eas­ily spotted in a crowd, but it’s more likely you’ll hear him first. His boom­ing, mu­si­cal laugh is a quirk he has tried and failed to tame, ev­i­dence of a wild streak that en­livens an oth­er­wise dig­ni­fied bear­ing.

I first met John at the Univer­sity of Water­loo, and our friend­ship blos­somed quickly, strength­ened by a shared be­lief that an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree is best treated like a so­journ in a 19th-cen­tury lit­er­ary sa­lon. Our flared jeans be­trayed us, but our pen­chant for de­bates and de­bauch­ery gave us a spir­i­tual place in the com­pany of Hem­ing­way, Stein, and their ilk. Or so we thought. When you’re 21 and a smar­tass, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are lim­it­less.

When I moved to Korea af­ter grad­u­at­ing, John and I kept in touch; the first time I flew home he met me at the air­port. But the sec­ond time I vis­ited, he barely ac­knowl­edged me at all. Some­thing had dark­ened our friend­ship, and I didn’t know what. Over the years, I tried to re-es­tab­lish con­tact by email, then Face­book, but John didn’t re­spond. I never stopped won­der­ing what I could have done to main­tain our friend­ship, and its loss was a re­gret I car­ried for years.

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