Friday, 27 January 2012

Losing touch...

Have you ever thought about all the people you have met in your life? And then realised there are loads whom you used to know but don’t anymore?
It could be for a host of reasons like leaving school, leaving college, leaving home well, leaving anywhere basically, both you and them.
Then there are the people in your life who you mean to contact but just don’t because you get distracted, too busy with work, too busy with children; just too busy.
Full.
Stop.
Or you just drift apart because they have/have not got children, their children are older/younger or not at the same school, and the things that once drew you together now seem all but invisible.
I remember Rob.
When we left college we all exchanged addresses and stuff and then went our separate ways. It was not as if Rob and I had been best buddies at college but we did share a lot, if for no other reason that he came after me alphabetically and we were lab mates for botany and animal husbandry lectures.
I don’t know how it came about but he came to stay the night in my flat in London a few months after we left college in 1986 and as he was leaving, going down the cold stone-like communal stairs he paused holding the black metal bannister and looked back up at me.
I can see him now, in my mind’s eye as I sit here in my sunlit office .
So long ago.
There he is in his big baggy grey ribbed jumper coming down almost to his thighs, scruffy well-worn old jeans and white trainers. His blonde hair tousled like it always was at college, too long a fringe always getting in the way.  His face brown from working in the sun, freckled. This country boy full of health and vitality is slightly lost in the big bad city. The city I am adapting to with far too much ease. Long gone are my old jeans and boatmen jumpers. I wear wine coloured nipped-in- tailored suits with cream silk shirts, sheer stockings and black court shoes. My hair is practically neat, my make-up demure and discreet. I am a long way from Devon and Seale Hayne Agricultural College.
He pauses on the half landing and looks up at me and says: “Have a nice life.”
And everything coalesces in that moment and I know it is the point between what has gone before and what has yet to come – the rest of my life.
But I dismiss it; possibly not wanting what he didn’t say to be true.
The subtext of his goodbye was that we would never see each other again.
He was right.
But I say it now; I have never forgotten that moment and I will never forget Rob.
I can’t see us meeting again. I don’t know where Rob lives or what he is doing. But for your information Rob, if you are out there, I am having a very nice life indeed.
And I hope with all my heart that you are too.


11 comments:

Lottie said...

Aw...Rob sounds like someone you would like to find again and let him know that it did all work out...

Expat mum said...

Agh - I hate it when people say that and you know it's probably going to be true. On the whole, I am noted for my brilliance at keeping in touch, especially before t'Internet, but there are a few people who seem to have vanished off the face of the earth. I hope they haven't.

About Last Weekend said...

Facebook for all its faults has been great at connecting me with people in the three countries I've lived in. And if they're true friends as soon as you see them you start laughing again.

Rob-bear said...

That's a wonderful story, Tattie. Maybe you'll meet him again.

Having moved about 1,500 miles from home (but still in Canada), I lost track of a lot of people. Perhaps we'll meet again, as Vera Lynn suggested.

Who knows about any of this.

Sugarplum Kawaii said...

Poignant...go and search for him!

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Do you want him to get back in touch?I do just so I can vicariously enjoy finding out what he's now like. Perhaps he's no longer gloriously tousled but Kojak-like and worn down by life? Or off saving gorillas in the mist somewhere? Goodbyes are grim, but so often special people like this pop up again.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I think some friendships are meant to be like this , belonging to a certain time and place .
Never having gone to an old school reunion ( perish the thought!!) , I can remember my old classmates with their whole lives ahead of them .....

janerowena said...

I too had a 'Rob' - and two years ago plucked up the courage to contact him - I found him by tracking him through other old friends on Friends Reunited.

I am so glad I did. For many years we would have had absolutely nothing in common, but now we do and have met up only once, for lunch, but get in touch every couple of weeks. I initially just wanted to know that he was well, still alive, not run over by a bus!

My husband was fine with it - I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or worried by that!

Catherine (Welsh Mums) said...

I felt really sad reading this. Sounds so similar to my old friend Neil. He was next in the alphabet to me and we were practical partners for all our laboratory work...he actually came to our wedding 14 yrs ago, not seen him since :(

Marcheline said...

It's a mixed bag, finding old friends. I found an old friend of my mom's, and we spent nine glorious days in Italy with him and his wife... lovely. I found an old friend online, and our communications ended with his blaming me for all the problems we had way back when... not so lovely. One girl I was best friends with long ago now keeps in touch with me again all the way from South Africa... lovely. One guy that found me ended up singing a sad song about his marriage and not very subtly suggesting that perhaps we should meet up again... not so lovely.

Sometimes it's tough to decide whether you're happier with your memories and leaving things as they were, or if you're willing to risk changing how you feel about someone by reconnecting with them now.

sarah said...

i am always saddened when it is just impossible to keep in touch with old friends..not because you don't want to just because life gets in the way. My best friend from school moved to Oz 5 years ago and i see her and hear from her so little it just breaks my heart.

Go on you know you want to...

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