I first met Gordon at secondary school, I am not sure what brought us together as friends, yes we were in the same class but not similar apart from the fact that as I saw it we were not the same as lots of others, I was the token kid with no uniform, he had what looked like scarring on his head, I was tall and thin whilst he was short and stocky.
I had had a previous best friend who sadly died in a road traffic accident, but few others in my class or at the school. Maybe it was just one of those things. All these years on its hard to rember those sorts of details.
In the second year at school we had to decide our options for the rest of our time, regarding which of range of classes we wanted to study and which to drop.
Sadly for me there was nobody at home to advise, so I chose ones I was interested in rather than those that may of helped when I left school. Previously after a meeting on a train I had decided I wanted to be a chef, so the unusual choice of subject for me instead of woodwork or metalwork, was domestic science, where I could learn to cook. For reasons I never discovered Gordon went for the same choice and eventually the school actually agreed to this, we were only the second set of boys to of ever done it.
For many lads who were more physically mature than me, the prospect of being in a class with twenty girls would of made them very happy, but for me and at the time I thought Gordon, it was all about the cooking, it was only fairly recently that I discovered that he also was into girls, just did not have that much success at school.
We continued to mix at school but some subjects we went along different paths, also met outside school usually at his home as it was near rather than mine that was some distance away. As time went on we saw less of each other at school ad I became one of the milk and ink monitors and helped either preparing for assembly each morning or other projects such as the school play or concerts with another boy Brian Bacon.
When we left school we continued to meet as friends but I became more interested in motorbikes and acquired another set of friends as well, I think I was seventeen or so when we had some sort of fallout, I cannot remember after all this time what it was but stopped meeting, plus I was now working strange hours at the tenpin bowl, so we lost contact.
Over the years at times I did wonder what had happened to him, but made no effort to find him nor him me as far as I was aware and in time he went out of my mind. It was only many years later when the website Friends Reunited was created with the facility to search for former school friends that my interest in finding him again reopened. I joined it and went on there regularly and found a whole list of people I knew but no Gordon. Eventually I noticed there had been a reunion that I missed so I asked if anyone had seen him. One person wrote back saying yrs he was there and he would passed on a message to say I was trying to get in touch an provide my details. Sadly nothing came of this.
Time passed and occasionally I would wonder what had happened to him and others but I made no effort to search them out. Then out of the blue one day at the charity I worked for Gordons name came up on an e mail at the charity wanting to find out about training on a placement with our counselling team. I passed the request on but also e mailed back, sadly I got no response and neither did he come to work there.
Some months later I answered the phone at work and this voice announced he was Gordon, I told him who I was and suggested we could meet up, his response was that he was to busy do that was the end of that, so I put it down to experience and decided to forget about it all.
Years passed then out of the blue in 2015, the contact person for our support group, informed me that someone wad trying to make contact with me, it turns out it was Gordon, I e mailed him and we arranged to meet in Manchester at The Moon Under The Water a pub restaurant, it was only days before we were to meet it occurred to me that we were both forty years older so maybe we would not recognise each other. So hr said he would be wearing a red anorak type coat and have a copy of a book, the name escapes me for now but that was quite serious, I on the other hand would have mt duck carrier bag.
On the day I was unsure how it would go so decided to time limit the meeting if needed and leave it, I was there early so wandered about the place not really sure who I was looking for. Eventually though I realised this short squat bearded person was he do we found a table ordered drinks and started to catch up regarding the last forty odd years.
I know I am far to open but also a chatterbox, so maybe that was part of why he learnt a lot about me whereas he was much more guarded about what had happened to him over the years. The time quickly passed and we agreed to meet again in the future.
One of the things he said was that he was exploring alternative religions, in particular Buddhism and alternative therapies
towards the end of last year he asked if I was willing to assist him with some training in reflexology as he was looking for people with illness or disability to work with. I was quite happy to give it a try so we did some work in preparation for this and the first session was to be at the start of this year. Unfortunately on the day I had a virus so we cancelled and arranged to meet the following week, on the day he did not arrive which was quite unusual for him so I texted him to find out if he was delayed and later tried e mailing him as he did not have a landline, but got no response. I did wonder if he had had an accident or was himself ill and I would hear from him soon. I tried again about a week to 10 days later, but again no answer.
Finally one day I got a phone call from his tutor Alison to inform me he had died at home in his flat, they were not sure when or why, a neighbour had reported this, so she was ringing round to inform people she was aware of, at that time there was to be a post mortem so no date for the funeral. His brother in law was sorting everything out and hopefully he would be in touch. A few days later whilst having a break at the caravan, I noticed a missed call from Gordon and a voice mail, I checked and it was the brother in law, asking for me to contact him. Due to poor reception I texted him back to say I would ring on return home, which I did, he had little more information but did say he would tell me more when he knew. At the time it felt very odd that he had used Gordons phone but at least we would recognise the number I suppose.
I think it was a couple of weeks later before he got back in touch to inform me of the date location and time of the funeral so I said I would see him there, I also texted Alison to see if we could meet up for a chat. On the day I did worry that few people would be there as he was such a private person, so was pleasantly surprised when the church was quite full, it was a humanist funeral so no hymns or usual process. I spoke briefly to the BIL who informed me it was a brain tumour Gordon had died of, afterwards Alison had not made herself known so I texted her, but got no response, I therefore made my way home, a text arrived from her to say they were all going to the pub, but I said was so late and if she made contact maybe we could meet up somewhere, I still have not heard from her.
I still do not know why he made contact after all these years or what he did with his life, it also seems sad that he died alone and was presumably there for days before being found, but there will never be any answers to this for me. The brother in law did not seem to want to chat and in reality what did we have to talk about, his sisters are still alive but I never knew them that well all that time ago.
It has all made me think about my life and things I want to do whilst I can, but also what can sound rather morbid to arrange what I would like to happen as and when I die to me and the process.
Its a shame really as I have already said there were so many questions I would of loved to know the answer to from him, but now its to late.