I am a lucky chap (or possibly girl, I can’t remember now if I have ever actually revealed my gender on this page? Think of me as androgynous.
Thame’s own Pete Burns maybe? Maybe not).
I am lucky because I don’t think I have aged at all.
I am in my late 30’s now, but still look exactly as I did at school.
Back then I was slightly lighter, about six stone slightly lighter maybe, had the same luxurious mullet hair running down my back and the same sunny disposition. I had a little less facial hair back then, but didn’t we all? So here I am minding my own business in Waitrose.
I have been conned into coming here by one of my many children and am therefore in the process of paying for around 30% more shopping than I actually came in for.
Three checkouts down is a bloke I vaguely recognise but he is only in my peripheral vision and I am currently concentrating on trying to squash everything into one 10p bag.
Because when you are paying £40 for groceries it is illegal to pay for a second bag.
I compact my commodities and grab my green token then head for the door.
To my alarm the vaguely familiar guy is in my path and has his arms stretched wide.
He is going for a Man Hug. I check behind but it is me he wants. Ooooooooh.
Awks. Who is he? He uses my proper name. I squint a bit, accept his embrace and wonder who the hell it is that I am hugging in the middle of Waitrose. Embarrassingly he is too close for me to get a good luck. I therefore hold the hug a split second too long. Double awks.
Finally I step back and like one of those 3D images it all swims into place.
I think it is the eyes that give him away. “JOHN!” I say in a manly, chumly manner designed to imply that I knew who he was all along. “Wow. It must be 25 years?” “Indeed it is Mr Thamensian” he says. “Despite your outrageous lie at the start of the second paragraph”. He is back from foreign fields after 13 years and has his wife and child in tow. How we recognised each other is a mystery.
Neither of us look anything like we did at school and yet there is something in our bearing, maybe our aura, that is so characteristic that we know each other after all this time. Readers, how does that work? What is it that never changes, no matter how old we become?
Other than my socks. We leave the store together and as we part I say we must go for a beer: I genuinely mean that. But I am so flummoxed by the whole thing that I forget to take his number.
“Never mind dad” says my daughter “maybe it’s the same mobile from when you were at school…”
Willy, Tiny (and I wrote those names in that order on purpose – TWO people) when Big J gets in touch for a reunion, count me in would you…