By Tom Espezel-Bentley
My Facebook friend Robert. We used to be best mates back in the day. ‘Best mates’ meaning that in year 4 I thought he was a good person to align myself with because his dad worked for a company that made chocolate and his mum ‘did art’. Whenever we had to bring in homemade stuff (ie terrible easter hats, drawings of fireworks night or anything at all composed with paper mache) Robert always came in with something exotic and professional. Mine usually looked like a rainbow had eaten too much glue and been sick onto a newspaper. He was also really smart. The type of smart that completed his maths workbook first in the class but couldn’t play football because of his asthma or incase he broke his glasses. Rock n roll. If that isn’t that basis for a rock solid friendship I don’t know what is
I haven’t spoken to him since a solitary meet up in year seven. We had gone to different secondary schools (his was one of the private posh ones that make them go to chapel every week and sing hymns) and we decided to convene at the neutral territory of Bluewater shopping centre. As I remember it was vaguely awkward. We sat in the food hall with nothing in common, the wafts of Pizza Hut and KFC battling for our nasal attention.
I haven’t thought about him until we got set the task of contacting on old friend and he popped into my head as the perfect candidate. However one unrequited Facebook message and some in depth stalking I discovered that his last posts were over a year ago. Not to be disheartened I decided to go through his profile and build up a picture of the man that Robert had become, who needs real human contact anyway?
So introducing my Facebook friend Robert. He is 24. His hair style can only be described as terrible, the type of ‘do’ you obtain after refusing to get a hair cut for a year, just to rebel against mum and dad. In keeping with this image, I came across some truly terrible tattoos. He has a grim reaper the size of my leg covering his back. He also had a bloody barbed wire bracelet cutting into his ankle and the smashing pumpkins album art on his shoulder. The last few posts on his timeline have all been in Russian and his profile pictures is of him wearing a furry hat and riding a tank. I can only conclude that Robert has become a communist and is now braving a harsh winder is Moscow with his comrades. I will keep trying to track him down and get in touch though. Just on the off chance that Facebook stalking isn’t 100% reliable…