An Old Friend

I was sitting at my desk last Friday, attending to the work-related task of the moment, when I heard my cellphone ring.

“Who on earth is calling me in the middle of the afternoon?” I muttered as I answered the call.

It was my friend Melissa, who lives in Ottawa.

“Guess what?” she asked.

Turns out that a mutual friend of ours – a dude named Chad, who I knew as a child in Scarborough, and whom she knew as a teenager in Windsor – had finally joined Facebook. She somehow discovered this and contacted him via e-mail.

“You should send him a friend request – you can find him in my network!” she said.

I thanked her for letting me know, and soon after I hung up the phone, I went into my account and I did. Probably within the hour, he accepted.

I have to say, he was definitely someone I never thought I’d hear from again.

We were neighbourhood playmates. I lived at the beginning of the street; he and his family lived all the way on the other end of the cresent. We both attended the elementary school across the street.

Back then, he was a skinny kid, with a wispy cowlick almost always sticking up atop his head. And I don’t remember for how many years this was, but until his family moved away, I suppose we were as thick as thieves.

My parents always remember the times he’d come over, ring the doorbell and ask if I could come out to play, to which my dad would sometimes reply:

“Chadwick, go home.”

Those were the days.

I never knew what had happened to him until one night – in the infancy of my university days – when my then-new friend Melissa and I were talking, and she just happened to mention my old friend’s name. I suppose it was my personal introduction to the “degrees of separation”.

In any case, back to the present. I had a nice chat with him over Facebook Chat (the newfangled things kids these days come up with!) on Sunday afternoon.

He still lives in Windsor, but longs to move to Anguilla. (His obstacles are finding employment and affording the expensive real estate prices.) He works part-time at a hospital – I’m assuming as medical staff, since he got his medical degree in the West Indies. He doesn’t watch or read the news; “ignorance is bliss”, he says.

And he’s no longer the scrawny, cow-licked kid I used to play and ride bikes with.

It seems we’re also two of a kind – we’re both the same age and still party a lot. What can I say? We both believe in being very social.

We got around to talking about the old neighbourhood. He said when he happens to be in Toronto (which he only does when visiting family, ’cause he hates Toronto), he sometimes drives past the old ‘hood for kicks. And he can’t help but think about how small that house seems to him now … how things seemed so simple back then, but how we were content with what we had. 

I actually miss those days from time to time.

We wrapped up our online chat shortly after and promised to keep in touch. I hope we do. It was nice talking to him again after so long. Besides, kindred spirits like that are hard to find.


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