Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wasted Years

I think I mentioned it somewhere in a post that when I was 16 I took a hell of a beating when out with a couple of friends. It was the early 80's equivalent of post code youth violence, but in them days no mobiles to be robbed of and knives were for show .. not use. In fact if you'd had a mobile it would have been a useful weapon. The boys I was with legged it whilst I stayed to remonstrate with a predictable result.

Some local residents called the police and took me in and I recall bleeding over the washing up in their sink whilst they tended my injuries. They must have known the opposing gang because a couple of arrests were made later.

My relationship with the boys was severely affected. One of them could have been classed as one of my best friends at the time, having known him since early school days. We both worked in offices and after this he chucked in his job and went back to school to do A levels, whilst I stayed in my insurance job. We quickly drifted apart and it was because in my head I had this overwhelming resentment that he should have stayed and took a beating with me. I would never had left him in the lurch if the situation was reversed.

He got in touch via a school reunion website a couple of years ago and we'd agreed we would meet up but never did. I was still pissed with him and things were left. I finally decided after decades this needed to be dealt with and last week met with him for a beer. The conversation flowed about things we have done over the years and it was as if nothing had changed. I had to tackle my resentment and brought up the subject of that night. I told him that I had been really annoyed with him that he ran off and left me to my fate. I think we both knew that the reason we drifted apart was this incident in our lives. He told me that for years he'd felt guilty of leaving me. That was was it - done, and I'm glad we met up. We work in similar jobs with the same client base and I've sent a few his way.

I think if we'd had the same conversation all those years ago we would have remained friends. We will be again - maturity means you become less judgemental. This is now case closed on those negative vibes I'd harboured towards him for nearly 30 years.

5 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

Something I am rapidly discovering in a work context is that if you don't raise your gripes then nobody will know that you are suffering under them. Maybe it's the same with friendships. I think in the case you describe should not your mate have made the first move though? A simple apology would have set the ball rolling. "Sorry Stressed I didn't know what to do, I just found myself running and I was shit scared of going back". You could have taken it from there.

Perhaps he knew that given the chance you would lay it down for him and he would know you were right. There's not much which is more painful than being reminded of an unpalatable truth.

I hope you didn't dwell on it too much in the intervening years. I tend to dwell and I know how pointless and morale-sapping it is.

Hogday said...

Good result. I had a run in with a guy I ended up reporting for discipline as a total last resort. He was helped to evade it by his friends from above but fell foul years later - his sort always do. If I saw him now, in need of an ambulance, I'd walk into town to find a t/k. I wish I didn't think like that, but then I haven't been put to that test, so maybe i would help after all, but I'd rather not find out.

Stressed Out Cop said...

Not his fault but mine for not telling it the way it was .. and letting it go.

Of course I've dwelled on it for years .. never run away cos' the pain is only temporary in a kicking.

That's why in the army things were different ... stand together always .. used to be like it in this job .. no longer though.

Blue Eyes said...

It's interesting. I suspect you are not a shy person and would not hold back from telling most people how it is. Strange things, "personal" relationships. Some people seem to develop a kind of block which prevents logic from prevailing where particular people are involved. I know I am guilty of this.

MTG said...

For personal contentment and sanity, some reject the concept of religious humanism of all things being forgiveable.

The notion of a line being drawn is justifiable and I guess this was quite near that moral limit, SoC.