It's been an odd couple of days really. I've recently heard back from an old pal of mine, we spent much of our formative latter-teenage years kicking about together, messing about with computer games as teens, going through the car thing, going through the pub thing and then going through the clubs/girl thing; but we kind of drifted apart when we both settled down into jobs, girlfriends, marriages, kids. and well, life.
We saw each others families a few times but the times we met drew increasingly longer apart and eventually things like birthday and Christmas cards became sporadic. All the time I didn't really think anything of it, just the usual "it's a shame we don't see them anymore".
Generally it was difficult; my job, his job, the family demands, pressures on our time at weekends as it is - and things just slipped and we grew more and more apart, even if at the end of the day, we were still the same awkward teenagers trying to get served in the Black Rock at the top of Westgate, Wakefield.
I think everyone at some point probably has mirrors of this situation and it's only been pricked by the fact that because he has got back in touch, we've arranged a (most likely heavy) night out, he's changing his work/social lifestyle and such. He's had some domestic problems and he's working them out, but we've spent a long time chatting over MSN about stuff, putting the world to rights and catching up on perhaps 10-12 "lost" years. I've found we're the same people, if a little frayed at the edges, having lived vastly different lives.
If anything, talking to him has reminded me that friends are difficult to find and are worth the time you invest in them. I should have got off my arse earlier and sorted out time for him and his family, much as I suspect he feels the same. Life's short and good people are rare I find, so we owe it to spend our time with good people. If anyone is reading this, have a think about someone you're possibly neglecting and should be really seeing more of - and make the bloody effort. They'll thank you for it and you can thank me at the bar sometime.