Sunday, October 12, 2008

NA


In 2004 after traveling around Europe alone for close to two months I found myself in Paris in the company of Nikola Acin.

My first night in Paris Nikola greeted me with a warm bath and unlimited use of his bathroom and toiletries. I didn't realize until I got in the the tub how much I needed the respite of a private bathroom and a hot bath after weeks of dragging my sorry self through a string of random hostels. While I soaked Nikola worked and drank tea. It was sorta funny, as though we had been friends for a long time despite having just met.

After I spent close to an hour in the bathroom listening to the Beach Boys and soaking, we went to a fondue restaurant downstairs from N's pad off the Faubourg. Strangely, neither of us ordered the house speciality. At this particular restaurant whenever the fondue was ordered the waiter would put on a bright orange wig and a cape sort of deal when he served it to you. I never did find out what that was about. After dinner we sat around finishing our bottle of wine and watched orange hair dude flit from table to table dosing our fellow diners with fondue.

In the days that followed I bumped around Paris with Nikola and at times his friend "action" Dan, browsing book stores, riding buses, and sitting at cafes. Being on a bus with Nikola was like hiring your own private tour guide as his knowledge of Parisian history and culture was amazing.

On our last night together, Nikola took me to a photo shoot that some friends of his were involved with. The subject of the shoot was men crying and while N and I sat around drinking beers a trickle of fashionably dressed, attractive young fellows with big sloppy tears in their eyes shuffled around us. It was fairly surreal. Following the shoot we went back to his place and stayed up late listening to Moon Mulligan and talking about art, music, our respective lives, Old Man Foster - who was the link that led me to meet NA in the first place, and his girlfriend at the time.

The next day he was going to interview a certain well know hip hop group for the French publication Rock and Folk and invited me to accompany him. I'm not sure why I declined. Instead I wandered around the city alone and caught up on my journaling at a cafe near his house. The next morning my ma and sis came to join me and we traveled on to London together. I spoke with Nikola via phone a few more times on my trip before coming home but didn't end up visiting him again.

Friday night after returning home from a fundraiser the Ol' Man informed me that he had just received the news that Nikola had passed away back in May at the age of 34. I suppose it's taken a day or two to sink in the way it can when you learn that someone very far away dies. It just doesn't seem real.

I feel fortunate to have known Nikola. He was a charming, sincere, and intelligent soul, a talented writer, thinker, and musician.

He will be missed.

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