Becoming friends with Chris was one of the easiest and most natural things I’ve ever done. I met him at an ugly time in my life when I was resisting new relationships and self-isolating in order to deal with frailties and idiosyncrasies. He didn’t really give a shit that I was being such a reluctant grump. He was wonderful and generous to me in spite of it, without even trying. His presence made me feel so much better about myself.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard a song that Chris recorded called Benelux. I listened to it while on a train, leaving downtown Montreal, the glinting sun dulled by the window shades and the ones on my face, the city gradually frittering into farmland. Beneath my headphones, my mind was wrestling with some heavy emotions, but that song broke up the scuffle in no time. I thought of a microbial underwater orchestra, of alien machinery being unraveled in slo-mo, of wide open spaces and strange energies percolating. And then I stopped thinking altogether. Dumbstruck, I simply enjoyed the texture of that moment, inhaled its serendipitous beauty, and held it inside my body. I felt clarity, an undercurrent of solace, the tug of a halucyonic thread of life. I remembered to just be, and to appreciate everything I have.
I don’t know why or how Chris and I started using military ranks to address one another. But I do know that I’ll forever be saluting you, Commandant Reimer.