A memory of a friend

“You’re such a tory.” He sneered and waved his bottle of beer at me like a boozy lightsaber flat on batteries.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“Pedders, I…”

But he, like a monkey swinging through a communist forest had already reached for another branch.

“You think it’s okay for people to suffer while you fudging (He didn’t say ‘fudging’) tories live the high life? Huh?”

We were seated on the stern of a narrowboat, puttering through the english countryside on one of the most beautiful days of 2015. Pedders had removed his shirt, in his mind becoming a sexual flytrap to any of the middle aged women who were coming up the canal in the opposite direction.

“She defo wanted a piece.” Pedders said as he turned to watch the flustered elderly woman pass by.

“She can hear you mate.”

“Well,” Pedders, never to be unsettled by such annoyances as the sensibilities of narrow boat life, shrugged. “She did want a piece.” He smiled and winked at the escaping boat which I noticed had sped up.

His head snapped back round. “Anyway, you think it’s alright for people to go to food banks whilst bankers drink champagne in hot tubs in the alps?”

I briefly thought of the squat little woman who was the manager of my bank bobbing around like a plump wrinkled pea with white capped mountains in the background. I wished I hadn’t.

Not for the first time on this trip, I considered pushing Pedders into the canal for just a little peace. Instead, I turned my face to the sun, took a swig of beer and let his socialist rant break over me.

Most that read this will have been lucky enough to know the friend I depict here. Tragically this friend recently left our midsts. For those of you who knew him, my heart felt sympathy goes out to you and yet, even more sympathy goes out to those who didn’t know him. He was a rare and beautiful human, thoughtful, kind with a burning need for justice and, ultimately, a disappointment that justice wasn’t forthcoming in the world.

In itself, this snapshot memory I have shown you does not do him justice, it is a fragment of the person he was but, it is my fragment to remember, and when I do it makes me smile.

This didn’t say much, but it said a little. Sometimes that is enough.

But seriously, I was so close to pushing him in the water.

For Neil Pedly, my departed friend.

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