A few years ago I was talking to one of my friends mums at a party, and she said,
“I saw you and ~my son~ the other day through the window at work. I tried waving, but neither of you saw me. We’ve got a new guy at work who’d asked who I was waving at, and when I told him he said, ‘Richard, Richard Moir?’ And he then said that the two of you had gone to school together. I asked if you were friends, and he said that he didn’t really know you that well.”
“Oh right, what’s his name?”
Now, this is not his real name, but let’s call him… “Terry.”
“Yes. Why, do you know him?”
Well yes I did. And I can’t remember quite what I said next, but I know I then changed the subject pretty quickly as I didn’t quite know how to respond to what she had just said… or rather, what Terry had said.
“he didn’t really know me that well.”
He was my best friend at primary school, and for most of secondary school. Granted, that was a long time ago but how can he say that he didn’t know me that well? We did everything together, in school and out. We lived on the same street. How on earth could he say that? I was completely incensed, and was for quite some time too. A week or two later I happened to see an old friend, and when I told her that story she said,
“What? Terry, Terry?”
“But, you used to DJ at school discos together.” (I know I brought this up, but don’t ask).
“How can he say that?”
I didn’t know, and it really shouldn’t matter at all. I don’t think we had seen each other since I had started at Sixth Form. This was all so long ago, It really shouldn’t matter, but it bugged me so much. Months later, I would find myself remembering what he’d said and getting upset by it again. Well, I say months, it was years. I really struggled to forget this. It hurt.
However, one day I remembered something and that seemed to make it all better.
It was… reverse karma. Conscious time-travel. Somehow my brain had recalled a memory, and I was able to view it from a different perspective to how I did at the time.
The pint-sized spear wielding warrior.
Terry and I used to go everywhere on our bikes, and would roam the estate where we lived for the most part completely without purpose. One Sunday (and this was in the days when you could tell what day it was outside. No one drove. There was no point. Town was closed, all the shops were shut. The streets were empty) it seemed we had the estate to ourselves, we cruised down Avocet Way and then took a right onto Kingfisher Drive. This was the steepest road in the estate. For the first third you would pedal as fast as you could, freewheel the second, and then have to brake for the entirety of the third. Just as we were finishing the first third, when we were reaching terminal-velocity, I remember hearing something coming from one of the gardens on the left. Now, I was riding in the middle of the road, and to the right of Terry, but I heard this screaming sound. It was quiet at first, like it was coming from one of the back gardens, but then it got louder and louder. And it was just the one long scream. Looking to the left I then saw a little boy, much younger than us, running out of a garage holding what looked very much like a cricket stump above his head like a spear. He then ran diagonally across the front garden, heading down the hill, and when he ran out of garden he launched the cricket stump. A more perfect throw, he could not have done, and it sailed through the air straight into Terry’s front wheel. At the time, this was horrific. However, as my brain played this back to me it was the adult me that was riding my Raleigh Grifter down Kingfisher Drive. The bike is far too small, knees everywhere, and that boy throwing that cricket stump like a spear into Terrys front wheel is hilarious. Terry is thrown straight over the bars, and continues his way down the hill sans bike. It was at this point, and believe me I know this sounds mean, that the adult me wanted to skid my bike to a stop (there used to be no other way), and shake the boys hand for what he’d just done. It’s like he knew what Terry was going to say in later life, and was helping me out with my retribution.