Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bookends


I've had a terrible shock this morning. A really old friend of mine, probably the best friend I ever had, added me as a Facebook friend.

Now, I never look at Facebook really, I have the odd burst, but if nothing else it's a useful and interesting way to keep tabs on people. I'm not into gifting cakes or becoming a zombie or taking a which member of Sherbert are you, but I do like the keeping up element.

So this old friend and I parted company when he became far more interested in ecstasy and that entailed than anything else. My drug hell was over and done with years before that, but him always being a late starter fell in with a crowd while working at HMV and that was that really. So I've seen him once in 15 years.

It's a shame, as we shared so many excellent times, and there are songs from 1982 right up to 1994 that remind me of him. We share student houses and flats in London, we were like brothers, so when we drifted apart I don't suppose either of us thought any estrangement would last this long. We'd fallen out before, but we always made up.

I get an email from him once a year on my birthday, but I get no news whatsoever. I know he lived in Majorca and has a Norwegian wife and two cute kids, but anymore he's not saying. He did impart on his last birthday email that he'd moved back to the UK, and not that far from me, but there's no use asking what he's up to because he just won't say. He's always been a funny one. The family was dysfunctional before his parents split up. When they finally did they got a teacher to break the news to him. He never forgave them. But they always welcomed me, and his family were like my family, especially as my parents lived abroad during that time. I was the fourth child. I was really close to them all.

So it's bittersweet when you get something like this. All those lost years. Much as I'd like to see him the momentum has gone. I don't know his wife and kids and looking at the photos any of his friends either. And the shock comes because he's so bald and fat. He used to be skinny with lots of curly hair. I feel quite good in comparison.

So it's nice that I can see what he's up to without having to see him. Not that that's currently an option. Nothing lasts forever.

**This photo is not my sixth form, it's just plucked at random from the net, but I looked uncannily like the guy in the front row third left with the wedge haircut and shiny suit. Well it was 1983.

6 comments:

Ishouldbeworking said...

It's bittersweet, isn't it? I've re-established contact with a few fondly-remembered old chums on FB, but there's been no suggestion of a reunion from any of them, or from me, and it feels like we're all happier to keep it that way. Hang a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the memories, and leave them be.

Oddly, I was thinking yesterday about my old BF from University, who I haven't seen for 20 years, and wondering whether I could bear to meet up with him now - I decided that I probably couldn't (not that he's ever planning to contact me again, from what I hear. Bastard!).

Cocktails said...

It could be worse. He could be like me. I'm not even on Facebook because I can't bear the thought of old friends / classmates / boyfriends tracking me down for no apparent reason. If I want to keep up with someone I'll email or phone them.

Facebook is like the modern day Christmas card isn't it.

Mondo said...

I had a similar experience recently. My two closest childhood friends both got heavily into drugs after leaving school. I was never interested, always preferring a drink instead. One was dead from an overdose just before reaching his thirtieth birthday. The other has now been on it longer than he's been off it, and when I bumped into him, ten years ago, was literally a step away from living on the streets.

Incredibly while driving through where we all grew up together a couple of months ago, I spotted him nipping into a Chemist, and had the dilemma of what to do - drive on or see how he is? Of course I had to stop - I've known him since he was three. He had the ingrained grubbiness of a tramp, a limp, speech problems (a stroke), and a scarred face (falling asleep on an electric hob) but the essence of his character was still intact despite everything else. We went back to his flat for a few minutes, and it hit both of us hard how much had changed.

Although the most heartbreaking moment came when he pointed out , despite losing everything to drugs - dignity, possesion, prospects - he's managed to keep hold of a local press cutting, picturing all three of us at the Radio Luxembourg roadshow in Southend from the early eighties. He keeps it framed on his mantelpiece.

Five-Centres said...

God Mondo that's really tragic. I feel quite moved. Do you still see him or have you left it there.

at least my mate didn't get that bad, but I see he's at one poker tournament after another, and with him having an addictive personality it can only end in tears.

Bright Ambassador said...

I had a friend like that. We did everything together, shared the same sense of humour, liked the same music and telly - like a brother I never had. I introduced him to his wife and was best man at his wedding. He lives about a mile from where I'm sitting now and I could pop round and see him, but why should I? There was no row or anything, he had kids and we just stopped seeing each other. He didn't bother to contact me when either of my parents died and I never even get a Christmas card. Fuck him.
Having said that, if he phoned right now we'd probably chat for hours.

Mondo said...

Yes it was very upsetting. We were both in complete spin when the reality shift kicked in - but still ended up laughing like we used to within minutes of meeting.

I won't keep in touch (I can't - he's got no phone, computer or mobile), but if I happen to see him again, I'll still stop.

If I bump into him while I'm out with the kids, I guarantee it'll scare them off drugs for life.

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