School-friends

That’s probably a misnomer. School competitors is far more like it.

And the great thing about the internet is that you can track them down. If they have a public profile or a not-too-common name. I don’t have a public profile, but I do have a common name. If you key in my name, you get screen fulls of other people, invariably American. Suits me.

Back to school-friends. She joined my junior school a few years after me, and promptly started competing for top places. Best score in the times table tests and things like that.

We tussled for the next however many years, and both won scholarships to the senior school. And after that – credit where it’s due – she did better than me. When I got a commendation, she got a prize.

She was in the hockey team. Vicious game, I hated it. Or was it vicious women?

I used to beat her at high jump. I had longer legs.

We went off to separate universities. Thank goodness. Mine was a solid northern one, and hers was one of those not-quite-Oxbridge-but-pretty-good-ones.

I didn’t hear anything about her for ages. Then I got my first proper job. And who was in the office down the road? Not ten minutes drive away? I could not believe it. There are few times in my life when I have been pretty stunned, but this was one of them.

“Oh, she’s a lovely lass,” said one of my new not-so-friendly colleagues. “You’ll like her.”

Get out of it. I’d spent 12 years being less than fond of her. Why would I like her now? And anyway, why do you like her so much when she’s got a good degree, and you dislike me intensely because I’ve got one?

I went home and told my parents. “Guess who works for the same firm?” I said, dramatically. It must have had some effect because I got plied with glasses of Chablis and grilled salmon for tea. Very nice.

Fortunately we didn’t have too much to do with each other. And later I left to do something really interesting like travelling round the world. No idea what happened to her until last night.

And when you have broadband access you have to make good use of it. So while the adverts were on, I suddenly remembered her and keyed in her name. (The adverts last a long time in Spain.)

There she was. Not quite as large as life as she had been before. (She could have made three prop forwards at one point).

And in a totally different career. She’d obviously retrained, taken some more exams, and got herself a new job.

Without any hesitation, I hope she’s enjoying it. Even I’ve forgotten the childhood – and later – competitive stuff.

I didn’t end up in the same job as we – coincidentally – started off in. Although strangely lots of our office colleagues at the time still seem to be around in the same area, doing the same thing.

So, here we are. The two brightest children in our year of junior school. She is not at the top of her profession, and I have chucked mine. All of them. For the moment.

And what she now does, is one of the careers I considered. Perhaps we should both have gone straight into law. But that isn’t how life works is it?

Thanks for visiting roughseas whatever your interest and, if you comment, a bigger thanks.

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