Back in 2006 I received a mail from an old university friend asking whether I knew anything about a mutual friend of ours passing away. He wanted to know if there was more to the story and if I could corroborate any of what he was reading about Stuart Bryant.
He found a blog written by a girl (Ana Susanj) who summarized the days leading up to Stuart’s death. Of course, most blogs should be read with a pinch of salt, especially if they seem to be too bizarre to be real. I clicked on the link and opened the page.
Sadly, as I read one paragraph after the next, Stuart’s persona was coming to life right there on the computer screen. His mischievous character, his arrogant ways and even his quirky sense of humour. There was no denying that this was written about Stuart, a boy from Perth. The bad quality photo attached to the post was a close match to what Stuart looked like back at university in 1991 — there was no longer any doubt.
Here is Ana’s original post:
~ off he goes ~
During the last couple of months he lived alone. He had some friends at work and online but he lived on his own. We heard that he broke up with his girlfriend a while ago and started working late every day. I guess an expat would do that sometimes, just to pass the time, to forget other little life’s problems. I don’t know if that was the case with him. We weren’t that close, and I haven’t seen much of him in the last few months, although..
We were friends and he was a brute. His facade was a big mean bully most times but most of us knew how he really felt. If we felt uneasy about something, he would lend an ear, listen, give good advice and keep it all to himself.
Sometimes he used the nick Lister and it would always be Mr Lister for me. He wouldn’t let me call him “poombah”. Said it was only for friends, yet he told me things that I wasn’t meant to tell anyone. I’ve forgotten what they were now. All that is not important.
We got stoned together one night and when most people would take an advantage, he carried me to bed and just put me there, left me to sleep. A brute on the outside but such a nice person inside. He was the most honest person that I ever met. He would tell you everything he thought about you, face to face, no hessitations, no second thoughts. He stole potatos from my plate once, when I was really looking forward to eating them :) So cheeky!
I hope that he knew that he was liked.
He was going to fly back to Australia at the end of December, apparently to sort things out with his family. Well meant thoughts, nice intentions, but not to be. Maybe left until just a bit too late.
He died. We don’t yet know how. Police called his work place on January 9th. He never got on that plane to Australia. Died in his flat in Amsterdam a couple of days before New Year’s.
RIP Stuart Bryant
I tried to get in touch with Ana to get more information, but the mails bounced. Since then, the blog has disappeared too and I’m glad that I made a copy while digging around back then.
In recent years, many more of my friends have disappeared and fallen through the cracks, never to be heard from again. It’s a unsettling feeling knowing that someone can just vanish without a trace.
Not knowing whether they are dead or alive and the uncertainty of their whereabouts does make me sad for all the people who went missing before the age of the Internet. My mind boggles at the mammoth task of finding someone before we had search engines, Facebook or LinkedIn?
I’m still hopeful that one day I’ll get lucky and come across someone with more information on what happened to Stuart in those final days and why he never made it on that plane back to Australia.
Original Blog Post URL (no longer working)
Internet Archive Link – Archived Version of Blog