Thinking about Robin Williams’ suicide brought back intense memories of my best friend Zoran, and for the first time since “it” happened I feel able to share it with you.
Zoran and I met when we were kids and our dads worked together as engineers. His Dad was from Belgrad and Zoran came to live with him when he was 10. It was one of these office barbecues, I was 8 and we connected instantly like children do.
He quickly adapted to life over here and I knew what was going on because our fathers talked much.
Zoran was “chaotic” – for me that means creative, enthusiastic, very powerful, for my Mum it meant something different. She struggled to understand this friendship.
He studied at the same university and we re-connected in a political group. We saw each other more frequently he, the slawist, and me, the engineer-to-be.
What I remember most was his fun loving nature, his optimistic face, no matter what.
Our love for movies and making films always brought us back together, no matter what else happened in our lives – once a year in January, we went to the Max-Ophüls-Festival. I remember our vivid discussions, endless nights, drinking wine and talking about life, love and film.
Later he went back to Belgrad, to live there, with his aunt. Connected through emails we shared projects, thoughts – and especially during the civil war over there he was in my prayers.
And he survived, like a cat, he seemed to have nine lives and more – or so it seemed.
I never made it over there and after his Dad had died we didn’t write that much.
One beautiful summer day in 2003 my Mum called – and I could hear it in her voice.
Zoran is dead, she said, we don’t know how.
I remember crying, the pain, the numbness. We had been friends for 30 years.
It took me weeks to stop crying. Music soothed my pain, music and our movies.
In 2004 I tracked down his brother and asked “how” – and he told me Zoran had taken his life.
He told me that he always spoke of me as “the most important woman in my life” ( I always laughed when he did this and thought he was kidding).
And he told me there was no note, nobody knew why – and (we both knew) Zoran would never have asked for help.
I still talk to him in my mind, like now, when I write this down and imagine him looking over my shoulder.
I can hear him now “go on, write, make a film, you fabulous creative person”
I still miss him every day – my dearest friend. His enthusiasm, his encouragement, his love.
And I still don’t understand, but it doesn’t matter as long as he’s im my heart.