Thursday, July 12, 2012

1996: Nobody callin' on the phone

It's always a shame when your friends split up. You might know something was up with their relationship or you might not, but if you like both partners it comes as a major blow. The fun times have vanished and you're witness to bitterness, recrimination, sorrow, hurt, anger and everything else that goes with it. You might be feeling a bit of that yourself.

You try not to take sides, you promise you won't, but inevitably there's only one party you ulitmately keep in touch with. Of course, it depends on the circumstances. If one party had done something appalling and unforgiveable then it's probably a no-brainer. But if it's just one of those falling out of love things then there's not a lot you can do about it.

Whenever I hear this song, I always think of my friend's wife Catherine. I knew him first, but we really liked her. They married the year before us, and about six weeks before our wedding another mutual friend was tying the knot and we all drove up together. This song was a hit at the time. We had it on about five times and it always reminds me of her.

Let's fast forward eight years and their marriage was in tatters. Her father had died and she'd not coped well. He'd been supportive but it wasn't enough for her. By 2005 she was gone. We vowed to keep in touch. We never did.

He's married again and moved out of London. I have never met his wife. She wants nothing to do with any of this old friends who knew his first wife. Consequently I see him now about once a year. I didn't just lose one friend, I've lost two.

If I look at our wedding guests now, everything's changed. Most elderly relatives are dead, parents' friends are dead, some of our friends are dead. And if not they're separated, divorced or we've lost touch. If we were to marry today the guest list would be almost 100% different to what it was 16 years ago.

When I hear this song I can't help but feel a bit regretful at not keeping up with people, and feel a pang of guilt about it. But it also makes me feel rather sad. I miss those old friends. When favourite couples split up, a chunk of your life goes too.

But at least it was fun while it lasted.


  1. I'm quite relieved to read this, having looked over our wedding album not so long ago and figured out that we no longer see about 50% of the people in the big group photo. The toll of deaths, breakups and relocations, mainly, but also of shifts in priorities and perspectives that caused friendships to weaken and wane.

    Thing is, we deliberately kept the guest list quite small - 60 - as we wanted it to be restricted to 'people that really mattered'...turns out they didn't all matter quite so much, and nor did we.

  2. Yes, that's the sad thing. What is it they say about friends and seven-year cycles?