I'm back in Manchester on a short holiday. It's become routine, coming back here every so often, it's as if I'm not ever really away.
Despite that, I don't meet up with old friends who live there still, not nearly often enough. Today was an exception, as I had a reunion with a number of different faces:
Paula is a friend from uni. She's the only person I still talk to from that place, which is a shame. It's completely expected, mind, as I wasn't the nicest person when I attended there.
Paula works within Media City now, and has a job as a 'logger'. She did explain what that position did (it's somewhere between a receptionist and a researcher... I think) but my mind couldn't comprehend and the conversation moved on.
I've always loved Paula's optimism. The world is never completely a bad place when you talk to her, and discuss ideas. Good to see that quality hasn't changed. Nor has her friendly loyalty to others. Yes, even when making comment on others it's clear that this isn't a malicious conversation. Nobody would get hurt if they wandered past and overheard us talking about them. I've gotta be honest - after this year, working in such an inwardly bitchy office, that's a privilege. She has my respect for it.
What did we discuss? Ideas, and careers, and the future we both hoped we'd see.
Sadly our time was cut short - she had to return to work, and I promised I'd be in touch. Of course I fully meant it. She's great - and no different to the Paula I went to uni with all those years ago.
Daniel is an old friend from my days working at Bury's old cinema at Pilsworth. We first met back in 2008, and have been pretty close ever since. Way back when we made up staff events each month - like the murder mystery we created in 2010. Good times.
Unlike Paula, there's a real change in Dan. A positive one; of somebody a little more mature, and a little more at ease with themself.
We dined at Pizza Hut (again, my time was limited - he had to return home an hour after we met) and got talking. It was the conversation of two people who recognise a shared past, and want to reconcile their present days, after some time apart.
We felt back into the old routine quite well, and discussed plans to work together next year on a short film. If I pull my finger out... Ahem, ahem...
Rebecca and I went to college together. She was destined to be my 'first proper girlfriend' until fate intervened and I met and dated Katie O'Donnell instead.
After that things got a little complicated between me and Rebecca. She directed my short April 3rd (which I sabotaged, unintentionally) and then got a boyfriend, which made me jealous as hell.
We'd speak on MSN, more often than not in a hint-of-naughty-flirty sort of way. This continued for months, until eventually college ended.
Afterwards, about a year or two on I tried to reconnect to her on Facebook, but she confessed that she didn't want to look back, and things fell apart again.
Then... today, in Pizza Hut - there she was! Completely unexpected, coming in halfway through my meal with Dan, and sitting just a few tables away.
I watch her, and am convinced that she both saw and recognised me. However, she made no attempt to come over.
I thought "to hell with it" and stood up to re-introduce myself, whilst she was at the buffet platter. However, there was a guy with her. I'm not sure if I heard this (if at all) correctly, but I could swear the guy said to her in a whisper "He's coming over!" when he saw me, and hen Rebecca turned away awkwardly - almost hiding in a ball on the floor.
I don't know what provoked the response particularly - but it's clear that our relationship (of any sort) is over, and she wants nothing more to do with me. It ruined my Pizza Hut meal thinking that over! I guess that old embarrassment over those MSN conversations, and how we use to be around one another made it quite an unpleasant experience seeing me again.
Do I blame her for not wanting to see/speak to me? No. But if I was her, I would have at least made the effort - even if only for a brief "hello, how are you?" etc.
Like Paula, Rick went to my uni and is now a pretty decent film maker. At the time of uni, we had no time for one another. I feel a little guilty now, especially as I can see through his films and his Twitter just how alike we can be. I sent him a few messages on Twitter, but he's not replied. Again, like Rebecca, I guess he's given up.
Times move on, and we change, and evolve into new people. A part of that process is making new friends, and as it happens, through that we lose contact with other people we once had in our lives.
Today I had the chance to reconnect with a few old faces. Some welcomed me, and some did not. Those that did mean a lot to me; as does the chance to bring that relationship shared into 2013, and beyond.