At the motorway services

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s a long drive up the M6 and into Scotland, and neither of them is what he was twenty years ago. Less hair, more flesh, poorer eyesight, and the concentration’s not what it was either. A trip that you’d do there and back in a day, and he thought, after the wife said about the last time, that he’d better get his mate along, share the drive.

So here they are, at the services, two paunchy men at a corner table. He caught sight of himself earlier, whilst he was washing his hands, and it’s strange how you see yourself all the time, in the mirror when you’re shaving in the morning, when you’re driving, in shop windows, and you don’t really pay attention because you’re busy getting on. Today it suddenly struck him – this old bloke looking back at him, and there’s his mate sat there, fat as a teddy bear with hair growing out of his ears.

They used to be sharp as you like. Invincible, they were. Parties, customer meetings, anything. Always one step ahead.

Not now. Not now they’re slowing down and his mate’s telling him about his health, how the tests aren’t coming up trumps any more. Says it’s a matter of time, and neither of them needs to ask how much.

The young lad’s come round to take their trays away, says the place is closing up and if the gents could please make their way to the doors.

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