This week I bumped into someone I went to college with and haven't seen since my Graduation in 1991. I recognised him immediately, but he needed some help to recognise me. The years have been kinder to him than me, I suppose, or I was pretty forgettable, which could also be the case. I did have the advantage of having often wondered if I would bump into him, however; I work in his home town and last I heard from him (mid 1990s) he was still living in the town.
It's funny, I often wondered what we would talk about, and we were predictably boring, sticking to work. I told him I had married A, since we were all at Uni together, but realised afterwards I hadn't asked him about family life at all. I also didn't get any contact details, much to several people's subsequent displeasure, but I'd already detained the poor chap and just didn't get a "vibe", if you know what I mean. I didn't want to foist myself on him, I know I can be pushy and try not to be.
I've spent a lot of time in the last 10 months or so thinking of the past. Last summer marked twenty years since my A levels, leaving school, moving to Liverpool, meeting A (although we didn't get together we were good mates) and my thoughts turned to people that I haven't seen for many a year. There's a faint wistfulness there for the girl I once was, even if I was screwed up. There's so much potential when you set out on that journey, leaving a small town for the big city. Arriving in Liverpool felt like arriving in a different country, not just a different region. My memories are full of colour and noise - Liverpool was (and still is) a very vibrant city. Did I meet that potential? I don't know - am I the best judge of that? I do feel that I missed out on things - that I didn't take full advantage of being in Liverpool. I was so embroiled in a relationship that was ultimately doomed that I didn't go clubbing the way others did, I didn't develop female friends the way I perhaps should have done, but then I look back at school and see that I was friends with more boys than girls, so many that's just me. After all, I'm not much of a "girly" girl, and things that teenage girls were supposed to be interested in left me cold. Make-up? Clothes? Not really. I was much more into music, not chart stuff but searching out what was cool and different (a legacy from an older boyfriend?) and that was viewed far more as a male trait than a female one. Jackie magazine? No, NME and Melody Maker. Cosmo? Sometimes, but I'd rather read Q.
So.. wistfulness? Yes. Regrets? Some. Would I have my time over? You betcha, I loved moving to Liverpool. But would I do anything different? You know what...I think I'd still make the same mistakes.
Enough. Navel-gazing gets you nowhere. Let me leave you with this, a favourite in the early 1990s which rings with even more resonance today.