Back in 1978 I left civilian street to make my life in the army, was I lucky that I had no one to think of when I boarded the train, I don’t know because at the time I was just wanted to take a new challenge on.
Through 16 weeks of training I was more concentrated on making it to the end, and even after moving to my first posting I found it hard to make friends, not that I didn’t want to I was just happy sitting in my room or running 10 mile a day.
Most lads just wanted a drink down town, or women but I found it hard lacking in confidence. So the first 6 years I didn’t meet anyone that I could call a friend. It was when I went to Germany in 85 when a young lad came to the unit. Baby face good looking and cheecky I would take to him in a way that I wanted to help him in his new career.
I have always helped people in anyway I can, not just anyone, so I started to meet him after we finished and he new places I worked and he was from Blackpool close to my brother. I took him home in my car on the ferry and we got on really well. We went to Bevaria and Austria together cross country Skiing.
The only thing was I was 10 years into my career and moving quickly through the ranks, but my mate was young new to the crazy way the lads led their social time, and he was easy influenced. Not his fault and it was how the unit did business. Anyway I left Germany in the end and the next time I saw my mate was years later
My mate would leave the army in the end. After that I never met anyone that I could call a friend and as I moved up to senior rank level it was against military regulations to have subordinate ranks as friends. It did go on but it was rare.
With marriage and leaving the barrack environment it was only social occasions that I would mix with the lads if I can call them that. I did see other men, with friends but there was a term we used in the army you don’t have friends you have acquaintances.
I would meet the young lad when he lived in Abingdon Oxford when he worked for BT. We would loose contact again and it was only when I left in 2000 that I started looking for him. I did find him and went to see him but life had moved on and I couldn’t see the lad I knew and wanted to keep or carry-on our friendship from years before.
We both had different lives and never met again. Years passed by I married again and then through S.M. we found each other both lives changed one more time, more heartache for both of us. We both had children and a partner or wife. We lived about 6 miles from each other, and the park I walked around was within half a mile from the young lad all those years ago in 85.
It was like a the magnet had gain strength again and was pulling us back together. The time was right, age and wisdom were growing inside them. They must have passed each other when out shopping or walking not knowing they both needed each other just to talk and laugh, talk about the years gone by, the past the future hard times and dark places, children work, life had changed do much from their first meeting.
They met again and sat on the couch at 6 Glenmore AVE and within seconds were I tears through stomach wrenching laughter. Ron tells him a Story of Top Fish. They sat and talked, they looked so different from all those years ago in Germany, life had dealt them a hand that would torture their minds make them cry hurt and pain would become part of their so alike lives.
Was it written or just meant to be, did they both have to experience life gain knowledge and overcome difficult times, trauma and most things that would break a man. No it was a Love for each other in a way no one can explain, something I say was going to happen when the time was right.
Even though so much had happened in 35 years the world had changed, they had changed in appearance, one having Hair the other bald as a Coot. One would have Money the other making ends meet. One would have a new car the other would have a little green car that was Old would creek when it went round corners. One could make things the other would say Have You Got A Manual for learning that.
One would have a Rented house the other his own, both had partners children and Grandchildren.
Life was different for both of them but they did have something in common, a Mental condition, depression, anxiety, and a daily struggle with dark thoughts. So they talked daily sometimes for hours laughing crying getting pains in their necks at the same time, stomachache through laughing.
There paths spilt long ago lead by fate or fortune going far from each other in different directions only to bend like a river twisting and turning back and forth, down waterfalls, to be calm the raging settling in a still pool together, ripples resembling the aging lines on their faces.
Ron and Chas had found each other, the magnet had drawn them together. It won’t loose it’s strength again as its strong through the bond, friendship and love, they both drift apart when the mind plays tricks and they both suffer in their own way something they live with and cope with having their own way of dealing with it. But they both know they are there for each other, to call, or help in anyway.
I called this story friendship because we all have our idea of friendship, you can’t make it happen force it through money or gifts, no money can buy it, you can’t choose who it is, purchase it through an App. It happens to some, some think they have it for years then its gone, through something so little never to blossom again.
I met thousands of people drank with men boys and women, patrolled the streets of Ireland with my mate behind me the one that could save my life at anytime. Battle through pyhiscal pain with with men, overcome situations where you needed men to help me achieve a operation.
As I reach my 64th birthday I feel the best I have ever felt life is great, I love waking up writing my stories telling the world of a life full of adventure and happy and sad times.
But there once was a boy called Nathan Challiner, that would say hi my name’s Chas. Now that boy is a man and I can call him my Friend, a Brother