Friday, April 19, 2013


It was some years ago when he decided he would call me Ophelia. He was delighted at the re-christening, shouting its significance over the loud music to our mutual friends: It's cockney-rhyming slang, you see: Eleanor, Elisnore, Hamlet, Ophelia. Little did he know I had chosen my own nickname for him, not that he ever knew it. For the purposes of my head and my phone he was John Lennon Guy and it was a name so committed that even now, I need to momentarily concentrate before I say his real name out loud.

There are little fragments of that friendship that sometimes return to me. How he would purposefully (yet secretly) request the Kinks so we could dance together or send me a text from across the room: Sorry Ophelia, I didn't recognise you with your new haircut. Wow, you look beautiful... There's a lot to be said for those youthful escapades when the most mild-mannered flirtation would be enough. Nights when you would spend the whole car ride home thinking of what it felt like when he kissed you goodbye on your eyelashes.

The modern-day encounter would be rare, but no less enjoyable. I'd order a mocha and listen, captivated as he'd teach me how psychiatrists establish credibility with their patients or else, how to land a Tigermoth aircraft. It would be rare that I would be able to teach him anything, however there was one occasion when I taught him about lenticular lenses and the meaning of the word, threnody. I also told him the story of Pennies, at which point he handed over a threepence from 1921, a coin I've now pinned to my wall in the traditional Plague style.

I most recently came across an email where I described our first meeting to a friend. I was thrilled that I had somehow managed to forget the drama that transpired. You had a brother?! I texted to him, alarmed. He remembered how it all went down and again, I marvelled in how incredibly unusual it was, to forget that what someone else had remembered. There is always a possibility that more moments have been lost, but I don't believe there is much more to recall that I can't recall already.

I suppose that I just like the innocence of those times. I like the idea of that Ophelia girl, especially now I don't think I'll ever be her again.

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