Just been chatting to my brother about how he and his partner have been together for eighteen years, and I’ve just realized that on the 7 Nov 2014, 25 years will have passed since I left home to join the Royal Air Force (RAF).
There is a running joke that my brothers partner did not believe him, when he said he had an older brother in RAF, and it was only when I turned up for my sister’s wedding did she finally believe him. In her defense I had been away for 7 years before she started dating my brother.
25 years – Blimey!!!
In those 25 years, I’ve served 12 years in the RAF, lived in Berlin, done two tours of the Falklands, been married, been divorced and of course written and self published a trilogy and supporting books.
However, the one memory that stands out the most is a sad one – There was this girl, who was roughly 5 minutes older than me, we were born in the same hospital, went to the same schools and we were friends, not close friends, but we would smile and say hello, and joke about the 5 minutes between us and then go on our way.
The last time I saw this girl was when I returned home on leave (my mum had nagged me about coming up and seeing her lol) about 15 years ago, her marriage had failed and she had returned home to her mum
We laughed about the 5 minutes between us, she told me about her failed marriage and about returning home, I said jokingly that I would never return.
She then looked at me with a serious expression and said “No matter how far we travel or for how long, or how much we try to escape, this town Alan, always calls us back and we stay.”
I replied something along the lines of “Not me.”
That was the last time I saw her alive. I only go home about every two years to see my family, and when I do I always make sure that I place flowers on my friends grave.
It’s weird placing flowers on the grave of someone who was only 5 minutes older than you. However, I guess she was right, the town called her back and now she is there permanently.
When my own marriage failed, I resisted the call to return. Although I guess that as long as I have family there I will return…but I will always escape again.
PS – this is not a work of fiction, all of the above is true.