I’ve always liked those old films where, as the credits roll, the fate of all the characters is explained. There is something so perfect about this assumption. Everyone is collated and recorded. Nobody is missed.
Only a matter of months after the events of this story, my parents sold our house, and most of our possessions, and the family took a flight to Cyprus. I’ll save what happened there for another time. During the year we were away, when I thought of my old friends at all, they remained fixed, a constant by which I measured my own journey. Of course, that wasn’t the case. Lives continued onward, without my ability to observe them.
It was Raymond who died. He and his father were on a flight back from Malaysia when their plane pitched into the Gulf of Thailand. It was a fate that seemed so inconceivably epic and outrageously unfortunate that when I first heard about it, all I could do was laugh. He was eighteen years old. I saw Gill once or twice, mostly by accident. The last time when we were both much older, on a platform at a train station in the middle of the country. We didn’t speak. He wore a suit and tie and still had the same look of disappointment and sadness.
I lost touch with William Blake. I never saw him again. His name came up now and then, it’s true, and some of what I heard prompted this story. By coincidence, however, I ended up working for a short while with Abigail Blake in the backrooms of a hotel. It was strange for me to see her again, for both of us, I suppose. We talked, it was true, but time had separated us; those years had accelerated away, thickened, expansive, like the lifetime of a dog. I must have asked her about her brother, but she didn’t have much to say. Once, I think, I made a drunken pass at her at an after hours party. She was very polite about this incident, acting as though I was only childish and mistaken, rather than being at all irritating, which I no doubt was. I don’t think I ever said sorry.
I would like to say it now.