Last night I received a surprise call from Feisal, an old friend from Sri Lanka. We keep in touch by Christmas card, but I haven’t seen him in nearly twenty-five years and that occasion was itself the first time in twenty years or so. It’s a slim basis on which to maintain a friendship.
We met on the footsteps of Inner Temple Hall in 1967. We were young students at the English bar, keeping our first term by eating a formal dinner at the hall, and knowing no-one: two callow youths of nineteen. Over the next five years we met whenever I went to London to keep term and occasionally afterwards when Shirley and I lived in Greenwich until we moved to the North East in 1972. Probably our meetings amounted to not much more than a dozen, if that.
Nowadays he is retired and spends much of his time in Sri lanka. But not all. I get to London every month or two and so the possibility of meeting again is there.
Also today, one of the young lads at the office, Ben, announced he is leaving for better things. I tutored him for 6 months some time ago and grew to like him.
Experience says that I’m unlikely to see Ben again, but, as the case of Feisal shows, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. Whether that possibility is important or not depends, I suppose, on how one feels about people.