Knock at the door

There is a knock at the door. A stranger stands on the other side. He say, "Don’t you recognise me?" I don’t recognise him though the voice sounds familiar. The shape of the words he uses is inside me somewhere. I look again. "Russell?"

Yes, it is Russell, a school-friend that I have not seen for 18 years. He is here to spend three hours at the University of Stirling and is staying in a hotel in Bridge of Allan. He works in the University of Leeds. "How did you become the intellectual?" I say.

We meet later on for a drink. He has kept up with a few more people from school than I have. We exchange snippets of news. The one who died – sadly predictable. The one who became an accountant – predictable. The one who has been in and out of prison – that too.

I am a different person now to the person I was when I left school. Yet curiously the same. His voice must surely sound like mine would, had I stayed in that part of Yorkshire too. Fundamentalist vowel sounds. Two syllables in the word "vowel". 

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