By Richard Salsbury.

Shame you couldn’t make it. Yeah, I’m not usually into that sort of thing either, but don’t you ever wonder what happened to everyone? Teachers are a lot greyer, like you’d expect. There’s some guy I don’t remember who’s made a million quid out of eco something-or-other. Couple of other plumbers. Smithy’s fresh out of prison for drug dealing. Like that’s a surprise.

Anyway, Tats is there. Remember him? Brian Tatley? Everyone else has made some sort of effort, but he’s in these brown cords and this massive, baggy jumper with holes in. Nothing really changes, does it?

Reminded me of that time in year ten when Tats comes up to me and said, ‘What trainers should I buy?’

‘Nikes, of course,’ I says.

He comes in next day with these things made by … God, I dunno. Someone I’ve never heard of.

‘The Nikes were really expensive,’ he says. ‘These were the closest.’

He just didn’t get it. Most of us at least had this in-built … y’know?

Anyway, Kurt sees these things and he’s like –

You remember Kurt? God, mate, you’ve got a memory like a sieve. The guy who sat in English that time wearing a dinner jacket and bow tie. The guy who sat on the roof of the gym and fed the pigeons with the sarnies out of Mr Waters’ lunch box.

No, he weren’t there for long. Got expelled for boffing Miss Vaughn. Tried to set fire to the science building as a goodbye. Yeah, that Kurt – only the coolest bastard the school ever had.

Anyway, Kurt sees these trainers and he goes hysterical. Laughs his nuts off every time time he looks anywhere near Tats’ feet, and he sets everyone else off too, even the teachers. Whole classes go down the plughole. This goes on for a week, ’til Tats comes in wearing his knackered old plimsolls again.

So, yeah, I talked a bit to Tats. Y’know, for old time’s sake. Took some effort – he’s even quieter than you are, mate. Turns out he’s had more jobs than a … Well, I say jobs, I mean – artist, playwright, bloody poet. None of it’s really worked out for him.

Why didn’t he just go into a trade? Job for life; good pay. I never understand people like him.

So, when I get home I friend Tats on Facebook and it’s all like ‘I’ve managed to go down with another cold’ and ‘Does anyone need private English tuition for their kid?’ No pictures of him getting mullered with his mates on a Friday night.

You remember that nightmare job on that mansion up in Winchester, where half the downstairs flooded? Tats’ life is like that all the time. Plugging leaks like a little Dutch boy.

What do you mean, ‘Look up Kurt?’ Why the hell would I do that? Kurt’ll be doing just fine.

Image by Sarah Cheverton.