I've managed to steal some time back while I sit here in Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia..on a weekend away with my good friend Claudio. The fact that I have this free time means the weekend has either gone completely tits up or we're 100% on track - if only we could remember the purpose of our trip..
Anyway, back to the post; I wanted to blog about another memory prominent in my mind as of late. It all happened when I went back to Europe for Shirley's funeral in August. While I was spending my few days in the UK I'd arranged a brief get together with a few old friends from College and beyond that I hadn't seen in a while. Through the joys of social media blurbs I haven't completely lost touch with my friends and family back in the UK, With the guys I'd arranged this meet up with I'd kept up with their general progression through life via the blue borders of Facebook but had a burning desire to reacquaint myself with these legendary people face to face.
I arranged to meet up with an old school friend of mine, a friend I'd like to place in the 'Life Long' friend category, a guy called Adam. I'd also arranged for two guys to be there who I first met in college; although I've known them a shorter time than Adam they're both legendary people whose friendship I treasure enough to put them in the 'Life Long' category too - these guys are Leyton and Martin.
Ever since I moved out of the UK in July 2009 on my return trips back home out of the three guys I see Martin more than Adam and Leyton, primarily Martin lives much closer to my parents place and the places I usually hang out when I'm home with Adam living across the river on the other side of the city. Also when I hang out with Neil and his friends they also are more well acquainted with Martin than the other boys. Back in college and Uni days we used to hang out together a lot more often before I was ostracized from the 'greater group' - I'll tell you all about it someday but not quite now - but as time passes, people start working, people move away you see each other less and less, it's natural, the last piece of the journey into adulthood.
It's late in the Afternoon on a hazy Wednesday in early August; I'm in my Mothers Turbo Diesel Charged Mini 4x4 with the one and only Niel Newcome. We had just been indulging in some herbal jazz before taking on the mission of finding a safe car park next to the pub we used to call The Ship Isis. It's been taken over recently and put out of its nasty misery being painted and refurbished into pub glory. It was owned by a Microbrewery in the nearby area known as Jarrow; these guys had a good reputation in both beer and hospitality giving us unquestionable reason that this was the place to meet. It was a quiet evening with only a handful in the pub but it was still early.
When I arrived I was late, a good 15 minutes late, fashionably late. As I approached the bar I started to feel strange, that feeling you used to get going back to school after your summer vacation; the feeling of looking forward to something while at the same time not looking forward to it. It must have been 3 + years since I'd seen Leyton and Adam and quite a while sine I'd seen Martin so just to see the guys again was fantastic, instantly memories of times spent together come flooding back as I sat down next to them. As I sat i became uncomfortable around them, almost questioning my reasons for the catch up but then after a few minutes of warm up reacquainting chit chat the old bonds of friendship start reaffirming themselves and the uncomfortable feeling soon subsides. As the conversation continues elation soon floods my senses as I realize how awesome these guys are and how lucky I am to be able to call them friends. 10 Years since we were sitting together at College, 10 years since being vagabonds in the Rock Garden, it's scary how quickly time passes.
As is true with every time I go back home, my time is never enough and feels speeded up vs pace of time in Singapore. The night with the boys is short and goes by far too quickly last only two rounds of beers and being over before any of us know it. The feeling of just sheer brilliance lasts a long time this night, hours after I leave the catch up with the boys but from the night when I recall this memory three moments stand out in my head:
1) How much I love those guys, irrespective of it's reading on the gay-o-meter, this is the most prominent feeling I have when I recall the rendezvous with the boys. The memories I've got with these guys, the stuff we used to do together are totally priceless. Hope that one day irrespective of how our lives advance we get the chance to do that kind of stuff once more.
2) I can't recall if it was me asking or if it was me being asked but I remember talking a lot about myself. I'm not sure worryingly if it's a new personality trait I've developed since I began working overseas or whether I'm paranoid about how much I talk about my life to my friends and family who aren't or ever will be an expat and is it right or not to be paranoid over that?
3) The feeling I got when Martin told me he was going to be a Dad. One of my top 5 best people of all time, Mr Martin Blyth is going to be a father. His lovely Wife Steph is due somewhere in early 2013 (Feb I think). When he told me I was so happy for him, My mind ran through some of the great memories we've had together and I experienced one of those fantastic "isn't life amazing" moments. All the best to Martin & Steph.
|Martin's Wife Steph choosing Baby Clothes|
Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything - Muhammad Ali