Chance Encounter

Strangely enough he was one of those old friends I'd wondered about in the days before that fateful trip home. And yet, I sat next to him in the pub for ten minutes without a flicker of recognition. He'd recognised me at once but decided to remain silent. He'd enthusiastically cheered our group's attempts at karaoke, but then almost everyone in the hostel had done so; we were the sensation, not so much for our singing as for our sheer exotic allure. It was not everyday that Gymraeg received a group like ours.

A few acts later and it was his turn. I recognised him the moment he opened his voice. Grant Hinds. I'd played second fiddle to his lead in the musical comedy our school choir had put on in my final year at school. That unmistakable voice had given him away. And a flicker in his eyes told me he knew I'd recognised him. But was he doing here, in our old school haunt singing second bit karaoke contests? Just one look at him told me things obviously weren't going well. What to say? He finished singing and came over to embrace me. I uttered a lame: "How you doing mate?" His reply was as false as my question.

He was back the next evening and we invited him to spend Sunday with us. Slowly he started opening up. His studies, ejection from the Royal College, his struggle to make ends meet. His whirlwind romance and equally short marriage. The string of relationships which followed, none bringing any real satisfaction. Then, his face began to glow as he told me his current girlfriend would soon be joining him - from Thailand. I raised an inner eyebrow at that but tried not to show it. I didn't want to be judgemental. I wanted to understand.

The next morning Zoe was gone. She didn't turn up for breakfast and we waited another hour before someone went to check her room. Her things had all vanished. Grant too had vanished. And one of the group members told how they had spent most of the previous afternoon in each other's company.

There was little we could do. Zoe may have been a giddy, romantic young girl, but she was 25 and old enough to make her own decisions. So what was I going to Gifford when we got back?

The card arrived some three weeks later. Zoe was still very happy. Grant had begun voice training again and she was determined to get him to make something of his life. She thanked me for bringing them together. Had it not been for that chance encounter...

I still don't want to be judgemental, but this time my doubts are stronger. Maybe putting them down on paper, like this, will lay them to rest.


sounds ominous --- very mysterious undertones, well written!!!

6 July 2008 at 23:44  

Interesting tale of a yesterday/today collision. Loved it.

Also enjoyed the language. Silly me, I never heard of the term, "So what was I going to Gifford when we got back?"

Still I'm not sure of the exact connotation, but I think I get the gist! =)

7 July 2008 at 04:56  

nicely told!

7 July 2008 at 11:40  

I really enjoyed reading this. You've done a wonderful job with it!

9 July 2008 at 04:15  

hmmm... anything is possible in the name of love...doesnt hafta make sense...

10 July 2008 at 21:34  

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