I grew up a child of the sixties; it was perhaps the best time for a child to grow up, well from a child's point of view anyway. We were more or less free to wander, to play, there were no video games so we made our own entertainment and got into various scrapes, bumps and knocks, but nothing major. We were innocents too, none of the sexualisation and fears of sexualisation that happened to a later generation. Oh sure we were curious about the opposite sex, even played the equivalent of doctors and nurses, but it was the odd look perhaps, certainly no touchy feely stuff. Well not for me at least.
But we did make some treasured memories and life was good...
Skipping ahead to the year 2000, it's funny just how life can throw you into situations that would from an outsider's point of view seem to be outrageous, immoral, improbable or at best unlikely. Yet when you follow the train of events that led to the situation you can see why it happened, though perhaps not sympathise, or even believe you could have been stronger and resisted temptation. I prefer the old Oscar Wilde quote though. 'I can resist anything but temptation.' It summarises a lot of human interactions.
You can call me Douglas, or Doug, it's not my real name anyway, nor are any of the names mentioned here real, it's to protect the innocent as well as the guilty ... well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Anyhoo ... I'm Doug, I live in the Northeast of England, I'm about six foot tall, average build and just hit forty ... pretty hard. I have very short dark brown hair, blue/green eyes and work as a signals engineer on the Northeast's equivalent of the London tube, called the Metro. It's a good job if a little boring, but it pays the rent as they say and keeps the Mrs and kids in food and clothing.
Yes I'm married to Lynn who's on the right side of forty as it were and we have two kids Michael and Jenny, both in their late teens and in the case of Mike as he prefers to be known; now working as an apprentice electrician and planning to get his own place soon (I hope) Lynn hasn't managed to stand the passage of time quite as well as I've done, she put on weight after the kids were born and never managed to lose it, but the marriage has lasted and what problems we had were never too great, save only that our love life ... ok let's call it what it is, sex life ... had become a bit mundane and predictable, I still love Lynn, I'd just reached the stage where I could more easily be tempted; I guess.
After drifting apart from the family to an extent owing to bringing up our own kids, not just us of course; we had invites to a family wedding and it had become a bit of a contest between Lynn and my bank balance to see just who was going to give in first, new clothes, new shoes, make-up etc. Not that it turned nasty, Lynn has a job too; it just seemed to spiral out of control as I guess these things do. It was only a small family gathering, so the kids weren't invited to the ceremony being held in the grounds of a local hotel, but were invited to the evening do.
So Lynn and I turned up at my nephew Philip, the son of my cousin Valerie and his bride Melanie's wedding and enjoyed a quiet if lovely ceremony saying hi to various branches of the family some of whom we hadn't seen for years. After the ceremony and before the wedding breakfast we stood around as a photographer mostly got on everyone's nerves as we all just milled about chatting.
"Hi Doug, long time hun." Came a voice from behind me.
Turning I was met with a very overweight guy and a rather plain faced lady who was the greeter.
"You don't remember me then?" She said with a smile.
"Enid?" I replied.
"Ah you do remember." She chuckled.
"Of course I do." I said telling a little white lie. "Good to see you and you too Ray."
We shook hands and Lynn joined in the general greetings as well, though soon turned to watch the photographer assembling the Bride and Grooms families for a shot. Truly Enid hadn't changed too much since I last remembered her, rather plain, wearing a trouser suit that didn't really do her any favours at all. Slightly buck toothed, glasses that didn't suit her and very pale, almost unhealthily so, but that was simply Enid, not a health problem. Very tall at five foot eleven, short brown hair, green eyes, almost no bust, narrow hips and almost no waistline come to that as far as I could tell. Not that anyone would mistake her for a man, just a woman who didn't dress to her best features I guess.
"How long has it been?" I mused.
"Gran's funeral, ten years ago, I think." Said Enid.
"Long time, you're looking as good." I replied.
"Thanks Doug, you look just the same too." She said with a smile.
"Older, but not necessarily wiser." I joked.
"We certainly got up to some scrapes and situations when we were growing up." Enid said as Ray wandered off to see if the food was nearly ready I presumed.
"Didn't we just; you, me, Derek and Valerie." I said mentioning my brother and Enid's sister respectively.
"Yes, though I mostly remember exploring Gran's house and the local district with you and Derek as Valerie usually couldn't be bothered to go anywhere that involved walking far from Mum's." Enid said.
"Yeah, you always were my partner in crime." I said with a smile as I reminisced.
"True, though if I'd known then what I know now, perhaps we'd really have gotten up to more mischief than show me yours if I show you mine." Giggled Enid.
"Yes ... well, different times I guess." I said a little amused. "We were only eight and nine too and as I recall it was only us doing that, not Derek."
"True, but I still remember it like it was today." She giggled. "We had such fun."
"Yeah the sort of fun that kids these days don't seem to get into." I chuckled. "The worlds moved on I guess."
At this point Ray had returned and the conversation moved on and we all got involved in the photos and I thought nothing more about the conversation ... well not till the evening do.
The evening was the cap on a perfect day, everyone was dancing, resting or having fun around various tables as the family got together for the first time in years. When Lynn finally went for a rest at a table I was joined by Enid on the dance floor and we enjoyed a fun couple of minutes trying not to stamp on each other's feet.
"I remember being a lot better at this when I was younger." I chuckled.
"You were probably quicker to dodge." Said Enid.
"True, but that's life." I replied.
"As I said before if you knew what you knew now, but then..." Said Enid with a grin.
"Well becoming a better dancer wouldn't top my list." I chuckled.
"Nor mine, but I think I'd have taken more risks." She replied.
"Depends on the risks." I said as I dodged her heels again.
"True, but I think that there was so much more to see and do if only we knew..." She mused.
"Can't change the past." I replied. "Only make your future, besides with experience some things are better."
"And some things just become boring ... well not boring, samey I guess." She replied.
At this point my mental radar finally went off as I began to suspect what she might be hinting at.
"Well at least now we'd have a better chance of taking a risk." I chuckled. "We were well monitored when we were young, besides there might have been consequences."
"That's true Doug." She giggled. "Never knew when a grown up might stick their noses into our fun, happened often enough."
"Though not with the show me yours game." I said with a smile. "Thank God."
"Oh yes." She giggled. "Glad we got away with that one."
"Good times and good memories." I said as the song finished. "Wish we had a few more."
"Always up for making a few more precious memories." Said Enid as we returned to our partners.
As intriguing as the last sentence in our conversation was, unfortunately we had another round of toasts as well as the buffet to contend with. Still it did give me time to think and ponder as to whether I could or even would add to some childhood memories with Enid, assuming we were on the same wavelength of course, which was also a risk. I did try to remember what I knew of Enid and Ray, but it wasn't an awful lot. Ray was some sort of travelling salesman, which meant he was away a lot, though how much a lot was, I didn't know. Enid did work in a DIY store, part time I thought and they had two kids of a similar age to mine, but that was it. Nor was I entirely sure if I even fancied Enid, though a certain part of my anatomy begged to differ, different was different after all.
The dancing began again and everyone joined in after the bride and groom had their special dance. I kept trying to get Lynn up to dance, but she complained her feet hurt too much. I did notice Ray sitting on his own too, but no sign of Enid on the dance floor so taking a chance I went out for some fresh air.
"Hi again Doug." Came Enid's voice as I got outside. "Too hot for you?"
"Lynn doesn't want to dance; besides it's a bit crowded." I said.
"Ray's the same, save he can't be bothered to do any exercise these days..." Said Enid.
"Still selling stuff on the road is he?" I asked.
"Yes, the perfect couch potato job." She giggled.
"Have to admit I'd like to up my exercise regime if I could find the time." I replied.
"Time and place is always a problem." Said Enid. "But exercise isn't the be all and end all; sometimes just a little company to talk old times can be nice."
"Yep, old times, Lynn has hers, I have mine, but it's not the same as it is with someone who was there." I said.
.... There is more of this story ...