Thursday, May 22, 2008

For Absent Friends

Well it was only a matter of time before the presence of this little blog would permeate into the blogosphere; I'd kind of hoped I might build up a half decent collection of semi-interesting posts before I released it on the unsuspecting world, but I accidentally blew my cover by posting a comment on my good friend PT's considerably more mature (in age, if not content) blog Now What Happens?

Pete posted up an entry in response that is full of reminiscence and reflection, echoing a sentiment that I have increasingly felt recently. I'm not having a mid-life crisis because I am extremely happy and content with just about everything at the moment, but I still find it hard to accept that it's the best part of 25 years since the halcyon days at Queen Mary College where so many of my most valuable friendships were forged. A seemingly insignificant decision I made in late 1983 to join the drama society and audition for the Christmas panto was an embryonic moment that through a series of events and associations has defined my circumstances today. Life would have been very different if I hadn't been so keen to dress up in tights that day.

As Pete says, for years we used to virtually live in each other's pockets, especially during the period when we shared an office at Intourist, yet we've only met up twice in the last eighteen months or so. It's pretty disgraceful really, but now we're separated by half the M25 and M3 motorways, it's not so easy to pop round for coffee. Fortunately in this hi-tech age it's so much easier to keep friendships going, so on the odd occasions we meet up we don't have to spend hours catching up on things. Of course it's not just Pete who I've neglected; from Dorset to Dubai, Milton Keynes to Munich and all over the Home Counties there are countless friends I've seldom seen since Emma was born, but when Oliver arrived on the scene the cards, flowers and gifts still arrived from them all by the truckload. I guess this kind of loyalty is the benefit of the many years we spent building the friendships - not that I'm taking that for granted.

It reminds me of a card I received from a girlfriend back in 1984. She had carefully handwritten the following verse, something that struck me as very profound and wise for a seventeen year-old.

Time sifts our friendships and our friends,
For time alone can be the test.
And with the passing of the years,
We lose the false and keep the best.

And when, beyond the distant hills,
The setting sun of life descends,
We find God's greatest gift has been
The love of true and faithful friends

She dumped me two weeks later.

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