Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A table of men

I went out for dinner last night with my friend C, just around the corner to a little place I frequent owned by a very Grumpy Man with a big heart. I love going there because he treats me like a favourite. Last night he threatened to fire the waitress who was trying to turn us away because they were full if he ever heard her sending me away again, while he arranged a table near the kitchen for us. Love it.

We were sat next to a long table (empty on arrival) that gradually filled up with old men. Turned out it was a 50th school reunion from one of the boy’s schools. Fifty years and they managed a table of sixteen of them, amazing. It was wonderful to watch as each one arrived, a little unsure at first, some introductions necessary (I guess one changes just a tad in 50 years), the telltale cock of their heads giving away the age of their ears.

One of them had brought the school album from the year they’d left and they passed it around, laughing, talking up a storm, almost schoolboy-like. I was chatting to C, but suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I could see it. Those sixteen boys, in grey schoolboy shorts and long socks, satchels on their backs, marbles in their pockets. You could see, still, which of them would’ve had perfect, straight, ties and which would’ve been slightly more dishevelled – shoes scuffed, white shirts not tucked in properly.

It’s weird that I felt such a sense of loveliness because, honestly, I have no desire whatsoever to go to any school reunion of my own. Varsity? Sure. And there are a couple of people from school I wouldn’t mind catching up with but the thought of a full-on reunion fills me with dread.

Maybe in another thirty years time I’ll feel differently?

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