Memories are fickle things. I tend to think I have a good memory; I know I remember things from before we moved house, before I was two. And I seem to be far too good at remembering other people's wrongs.
So now I hunt through my memories for a particular childhood acquaintance, and although I can remember knowing D, I have only three mental snapshots.
I'll ignore the first two - no need to remember turbulent times. And concentrate on the third. A peaceful, happy boy, standing outside in the summer sun. It's a church youth picnic, Pathfinders probably, younger possibly, and we have eaten. Is that a barbecue smoking gently in the back garden? Possibly. We are all mellow, full of good food and enjoying that down time between eating an enormous meal and feeling ready for a game of Rounders.
And so D tells us all about his recent holiday. An adventure holiday, an activity holiday, cliffs and caves and ropes and Wales. And whilst I don't have specific memories, I do remember this is not the norm. D is shining bright, the centre of positive attention, and we are all to a degree envious of the good time he has had.
And now D disappears from my memory, brief encounters from time to time, and updates from his family. And whilst I may not see him, he remains a part of my childhood, and through his mother and my own, an occasional part of my life.
All this has ended.
And I stood by the roadside as his hearse went past. A child no more, but still a life cut short.
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