Happy birthday, my friendOct 18th, 2007 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Personal Columns
Rachel is 46 today.
She is a year and two days younger than me, I know that because she was my friend. I remember being proud at the age of 12 when she stood at the age of the football pitch and called out, “Ian! My friend!”
Our paths diverged and then converged again when we were at college together for our A levels. She was in a different league, a candidate for a place at Oxford, though she went somewhere else in the end. We remained friends through the days of the A levels, though I think she frowned on me for a lack of seriousness.
Once the A levels were past, we were scattered across the country. She went on to a starring role at her university, while I dived into complete and absolute obscurity. No-one noticed if I missed classes because no-one noticed I had been there in the first place.
Last time I saw Rachel was in the spring of 1980 at a friend’s house. I had dropped out of college and she had just been elected president of her university student union. We were heading in different directions. I think I was by now intimidated by this rising star and she was probably embarrassed that someone she had once called her friend was now doing nothing.
Chronically bad at keeping in touch with anyone, I had no idea what became of her. Maybe I still have no idea, but at a loose end, I typed her name into Google and found someone of her name come up us an author, writing books with titles from a place close to where she would have lived.
Maybe it is just a coincidence, but I hope it is her. I would be glad if someone who once called me, “My friend” had done so well.