[This post is brought to you by my friend Graeme. Oh sure, it's me writing it, but after a long conversation last night Graeme said "You have to write about this." Hey, who am I to be disobedient, right?]
I had drinks last night with the regular Wednesday irregulars. Aside from Graeme, who I have known for (sweet Jebus!) around 20 years or so, I've only known everyone else for a fairly short time. Mostly we only ever see each other at Wednesday night drinks, but I really enjoy everyone's company. We sit, we have some drinks, we flirt with the cute young bar manager, we talk about anything and everything, and we laugh. Lots of laughter.
Last night, as the night wore on, talk turned to how Graeme and I met. Graeme and I met back in my home town (and his) of Adelaide, after Graeme had already moved to Sydney to live but was paying a visit home to see his folks. We were both really attracted to each other, and it seemed like maybe we could have become boyfriends. In fact it seemed like that's where things were heading for a while.
But there was a disconnect. An incompatibility and a hang-up that got in the way. At the time I didn't understand it. Neither of us had the life experience or skills to be able to articulate the issue, so we never did become boyfriends. Instead I have a friend of 20+ years who I love dearly, which is a fantastic outcome.
What we got to talking about though were the 'what ifs', and that's where the title of this entry comes in. Like the film Sliding Doors, where a missed train has a dramatic outcome, we talked about what might have happened in the 20 years since we met if circumstances had been different. It's an interesting question, and not one that has an answer.
Graeme has become someone who is very articulate and open about his feelings, and he was talking about that time, what went through his head, what might have been if things had worked out differently, and also painted a snapshot of me through his eyes when I was in my very early twenties. (In fact he unearthed a photo recently from back then, which he has promised to email me, and I'll post here when I get it for a bit of fun.)
It's always an interesting and educational experience to see yourself through someone else's eyes. Also, Graeme has an incredible memory and is able to remember details of things I had forgotten. It was almost like having a mirror held up to myself that showed a version of me from way back then. None of us would be the people we are today if things had worked out differently, if we hadn't missed the train so to speak. The journey from who I was then to who I am now would have been very different, and so would the destination I suspect.