By Lawrence Parmenter
I’m pretty good at staying in touch. Nevermind borders or boyfriends or work I’m normally pretty good at playing phone tag and meeting up for beers.
This is because my desperate loneliness needs people to keep me company and sane – so I keep a pretty long list of people that I can call upon and rotate through.
If I’ve not been in regular touch with a person – it’s either because they’ve given up on me or I’ve given up on them – perhaps a social faux pas or a …something bigger. Who knows?
So when Marc asked us to get in touch with someone from our past, call up an old friend, I was at a little bit of a loss – who could I call? People that I have drifted away from normally don’t want to hear from me because of something bad I did or pretended to do. Who could I call who’d be happy to hear from me?
I mulled over the idea. Mulled over some wine. [Mulled some wine. Then mulled over it.]
And then I went out with Will to some old haunts. The bars of my childhood. The bars of home.
The thing about these old haunts is they are often haunted by old loves, especially at christmastime when the Dickensian ghosts of christmas past start rattling their chains and bringing up the thud of past mistakes for you to reflect upon.
And along with the old loves are the ghosts of the near misses, the almosts, the potential futures and pasts and – all of that shit.
We bumped into Jen. Sweet girl. She was a friend once. She no-showed a lot. Got erratic. Went off the grid. Whatever you call it.
It’s not a phone call – but it’s a genuine connection with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years.
This is blogworthy. I guess.
She told me how she was there at the pub with one of my exes.
I, shrugged and pretended I was at ease with the whole thing, went in to a bit of high concept banter I had in my back pocket about tye dyed swans.
She told me how she was going to Amsterdam, to live and work and be a grown up.
I told her how I was still trying to find a proper job that would give me a reasonably stable income and allow me to – but she didn’t care. She was small talking.
It seems we’ve all grown very good at the art of small talking.
Jen wasn’t the only old ghost I reconnected with this christmas. There were others and – I guess they did force me to reflect and grow – but I don’t know if it’s in a good way.
Some of them liked that I hadn’t given up – on making things and being creative and doing things. Proud that I was the only one of their kind not to fall in to a job in recruitment or teaching.
Some of them wished I was more stable and more committed and took more chances to grow emotionally and all that – Did I mention the amount of old loves that haunt the bars of your past at christmas time? Themselves trying to cling on to fleeting moments of happiness or…
At least that’s what I got from the small talk.
Jen laughed at my pre-potted banter and suggested that I may finally be on to making my life more like a ‘sit-com’. I congratulated her on her adventurous spirit and we exchanged a few laughs on the Anne Frank museum. [Borderline offensive but nobody reads this far anyway].
It was good to see her again. Yep.