So long Luke Devine

by Will Sanders on February 26th, 2010

I’m not stupid, I know the dead don’t read internet blogs, so few of the living do either, but Luke man, this ones for you.


Luke Devine

Man, what a cool guy.

Luke Divine is the rare sort of human being that if you are lucky enough to meet you instantly hope to become close friends.  He and I became friends, I am very lucky sometimes.  Luke is tall and always smiling.  At work we sat around devising great ways to mess with him, never mean spirited and always funny.  Allen and Laurah and I used to spend the entire day piling our trash on his desk as if that’s just where it went.  He would arrive at work and discover it and smile that smile of his, the smile he wore everywhere, such a nice smile.  And he would knock it all on Allen’s desk laughing.  Before Annie went back to Australia she and I spent a day drawing pictures of sad flowers and plants, he was a life long vegetarian and we thought we were so funny.  Luke did too, again with that smile.

At 23 Luke towered over his girlfriend Tabby, a tiny sprite fairy without wings.  Tabby is this cute little person who notices how nice things are in the world around her and helps the rest of us see it too.  Her smile is also tremendous and housed within the two of them was too much wonderful decency to imagine.  I never saw either of them in a bad mood, no matter what was happening they can always be counted on for sunshine.  And they were such a sight, tiny little person with this towering giant.  Both smiling and being wonderful.

here, I got this picture,


see what I mean?

Allen and I and Tabby and Luke went on a trip to a remote beach.  Luke had studied Indonesian in Highschool (yeah, in Australia they teach you Indonesian in Highschool) and was able to chit chat with the people in the village who were amazed to see us.  He translated their amazement to us and we laughed.  Luke talked to the guy at the main gate when we came out of the jungle in the middle of the night in a rented car, they guy told Luke he thought it must be the mayor.  Only the Mayor has a car, the guy explained.  And we went to a small school to visit with the kids and the teachers.  The English teacher could barely speak English but she chatted away to Luke for ages.  Luke asked her if they had ever seen foreigners on that beach or in that village.  she said to him “oh, yes, yes, all the time.  Once I saw two on the mountain.”   Turns out that was two years ago.  Luke loved that, shit so did the rest of us.   We spent the night drinking beer on the beach under the stars talking about home, music, we compared Adeline to Vancouver to Atlanta.  The waves crashed into the sand and so did we, I had a tent actually, but it was tiny and everyone else slept in the sand.  They should have thought ahead I guess.

I had the idea for that weekend, I had a week off and I sent Luke a text a month in advance telling him to also take such and such week off for ‘awesome time’.  And I knew that he would shrug and without asking take the time off from work, trusting that if I had said it would be awesome he had to go.  And he did, he got the text and a minute later he walked into our boss’s office and said he was taking that time off.  Then he told Allen who did the same thing all without question.  And I would say that it did turn out fairly awesome.

Before that, before that I guess I first really hung out with Luke and Tabby when I drove to Bali on a motorcycle.  They came with Allen and met me at ijen, a sulpher volcano.  It took them an extra day to get there and the valley had no cell reception so I had to wait around guessing at when they would show.  I was happy on the second night when they got there, we wound up drinking all the beer in the area.  I am not kidding, they didn’t have beer in that valley anywhere the next morning.  We all sat in the bed in my room that night and drank and drank and drank and laughed and laughed.  And Luke is Funny!  He could make you laugh without having to try.  You got the feeling he never worked at being such a nice guy, he just was.

One day he was sick, so Yeti, the woman who does the cleaning at our school offered to rub a coin on his back.  This is a Javanese cure all, the theory is that you are expelling the air from your body.  So, right there in the teachers room she started rubbing this coin across his back causing bright red welts in a zebra pattern across his back in lines.  She was making a loud burping noise as she did it, well a mixture of burping and Tuvan throat singing.  All the teachers were crowded around making jokes with Luke sitting there, cool as a cucumber pouring through grammar books to plan his days lessons.  His back looked like a tropical sunset.

Last night I went to the regular bar in which we all hang.  Last night it was strange because in place of the regular god awful rave disco shit they usually pump in there was a sea of metal head punk rock slam dancing hard core live bands with tons of true believing Indonesian loud music fans.  I had never seen this in Surabaya and was very happy indeed.  I bee lined for the pit and had a sweaty loud crazy slam.  I got a beer and went back, some kid pulled me up onto a platform above the crowd and we both dived and crowd surfed.  After the metal bands played a punk band came on called bling satan, they were great and I was having fun, then Allen and Luke and Tabby showed up, Rebecca was already there.  I went to the bar and ordered Luke to kill his whiskey and get in it with me, which he did.  At first he seemed like he didn’t know what to do but soon he was jumping around and freaking out like everyone else, once again with that great smile he had.   I put my arm over his shoulder and we did the pogo all over the place, grinning like idiots.  One guy started acting agressive and some people drug him away and I went and gave the guy a hug to calm things, now oceans of Indonesian punks and metal heads are hugging me and Luke, high fiving me and Luke, screaming stuff at us like “fucking metal man” and showing us the devil horn fists.   Luke was so happy, it was all over his face.  After the band stopped a bunch of guys with tattoos came running up with glasses full of whiskey and they we all did shots together.  These guys can’t have the kind of money to do that, but they loved me and Luke.  Luke and I got a bit drunker talking about what if we opened a metal club here, which wouldn’t work because the metal kids are so poor they can’t afford to drink so not much of a buisness.  Luke had the idea to do small cups of ankor (shit) beer for 10,000 rupiah (around a buck) which may work.  And he was so funny, he had me laughing and laughing without even meaning to.  He was drunk though, make no mistake.  The drunkest I ever saw him. But he had a great night.  He was happy, and we were having a great time.

Outside I was looking for a cab and someone said Luke wanted to drive his bike home.  I grabbed him in a full headlock out of nowhere and screamed like a drill Sargent in his face that he wasn’t driving.   He thought that was so funny.  He was talking about walking to my house, an hour walk.  I said fine, but I was walking with him.  He wasn’t going off alone.  I talked to him for a while and we told each other we were really glad to be friends, man really happy to know each other.  It was a very drunk thing to say but I am really glad it was said.  Finally he was sitting talking with Tabby, I didn’t think they needed me anymore.  I knew Tabby could keep him from driving.  The last thing I said to him was I made him promise he wouldn’t drive, he promised so I split.

Well you must have guessed by now that Luke is dead.

He did make it home, and all this morning I assumed he drove and crashed but later found out that he didn’t drive last night after all.  Walking to his apartment on the 25th floor he slipped over the railing.  I don’t know how he managed to do that, someone said they heard he was looking over the side and was wearing no shoes but socks and slipped, but it hardly matters now.  If he lived on the first floor it would be the sort of ‘guess what stupid thing I did last night’ story and we would have all laughed.  But he lived on the 25th floor and was the victim of fatal drunken assinine absentmindedness and now my friend is dead.  And it really fucking sucks.

I saw Tabby today and gave her a big hug, it was all I could think to do.  They were together for five years, ever since highschool.  He was 23.

And I miss him already.  I only got to know him for a short short while but I really miss him.  But I did get to know someone like Luke Devine for a short while and got to call him my friend, and I feel lucky for that.


Who’s got Luke stories?

5 Responses to “So long Luke Devine”

  1. Bob says:

    Will, found out about it this morning myself and am stunned. I don’t normally write anything in public, it’s not my way but there is always a first time and I needed to let your readers know that you are so right about Luke. He was one of those guys that was always happy and nothing much seemed to upset him. Even though on this occasion he got drunk, very drunk by the sound of it, he was not in my opinion reckless or stupid, he was a just young guy having fun and living life. He and Tabi came to one of my parties and we spent hours laughing and chatting, he always seemed in control and they were so in to each other. I can’t really understand what happened and I don’t know if we will ever really find out exactly what happened. I am still trying to accept it as one of those really shit things that life throws at you sometimes. It is still raw at the moment and we are all in shock. My heart goes out to his family and to Tabi who must be going through hell. She has the support of some very good people at EF, we will all rally round for her. I want to remember Luke as the person he was, a very warm, friendly, fun guy. I too am already missing him.

  2. Marcus says:

    What an incredibly sad loss! I remember some of your stories about Luke, and I know how you gauge people. He must have been an incredible person. This feels so silly, leaving a comment for something like this. Rest in peace Luke. You’re in my thoughts Will.

  3. Alex says:

    Will, firstly, I would like to extend my sincerest sympathies for your loss.

    Your recount of your last few hours with Luke was not only saddening but it gave a great insight into Luke’s life, character and his relationship with Tabi.

    Although I never met Luke, I had heard many great things from his dad. The respect and love his dad extended to Luke and Tabi was testament to two special individuals.

    I take comfort in reading your story knowing that Luke seemed to have the time of his life. I thank you for sharing that sentiment.

    In thought


  4. mitha says:

    I don’t know luke.. I never meet him before..
    But i know one thing.. by the way you speak of him.. that he is a very good person..
    I have a friend you know?? she’s just like him.. i know luke from her, she’s one of him students..
    she’s always talking about him.. she said many2 good things..
    after luke died.. i think that the way she smile is different.. she looks really sad.. i don’t know how to cheer her up..
    until this day.. i still thinking that she cried when she sleep ..

    i don’t know luke.. and i wish i know him..

    • Will Sanders says:

      Give your friend a hug. Hugs are nice. And tell her to hang on to the memories of her teacher and maybe that will help her to smile.

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