'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Major In December

A chance encounter in a Cockermouth chemist's. An old man waiting for his prescription gives his name to the girl at the counter. I look over & a flash of recognition passes between us. He was one of the teachers at my former place of detention, now long since retired. I go over and introduce myself: he remembers me. I remember him as one of the most terrifying parts of a thoroughly miserable experience throughout my adolescence, his name a byword for the arbitrariness of authority and dark sarcasm in the classroom avant la lettre. I guess we all had our coping strategies. He is now a thoroughly engaging, if slightly deaf, octogenarian. We chat briefly and part on excellent terms. Outside beneath the lime-trees of Main Street, on a bright Cumbrian afternoon, I can hear the gentle sounds of ghosts being laid to rest.


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