This morning I took an hour out of the office to meet an old friend for coffee. He's in Manchester for a couple of days.
He was a really good friend at university - a housemate, friend and all round great person to know. We lived together along with a few other guys in our student house. We socialised together. We did some similar modules on our course and so even worked together on occasion.
When we graduated from University, he got a job in Manchester. It was a toss up between a great job in Manchester or a great job in London for him. He took Manchester, partly, he told me later, because he wanted me and him to still be able to hang out at weekends...rather than living miles and miles apart after University and catching up solely on obligatory annual reunion type events.
Not long after I graduated, however, my girlfriend of the time moved in with me. She was not someone I had met from university... she was someone I had known a number of years who lived close by to my Mother's house. We'd got to know each other better thuogh during the summer holidays at the end of my third year at Uni. When I went back to uni for my fourth year, we essentially started something of a distance thing... she came up or I went home most weekends. When I graduated and took a job back in my home city of Manchester, it was not long until we moved in together.
To cut a long story short, my friend was a little disappointed that I wasn't "out on the town," the same anymore. There was a bit of tension. And then a few months later I found out he had been seeing my girlfriend behind my back for quite some time. Needless to say, I finished with her, asked her to move out of my apartment and I stopped speaking to him.
That was half a decade ago. And when you look at it in that context and I consider how much as happened since then, it seems like a different life.
I had a conversation with Chloe recently about regrets or people that leave your life in general.... at that point I questioned, basically, how would I feel if I found out that I would never have the opportunity to say another thing to anyone I had ever know.... would I be happy with the final conversation I had with them? Would I be happy with how things had been left?
There are a few instances where I would be gutted if things were left for an eternity as they were last left off and with this guy, that's one of those situations. So I called him a while back and we said we would catch up when we could. He called me last night and mentioned that he would be in Manchester today and would I like to meet.
So I did.
Life has moved on for him too. He's engaged now and he and his fiancee have a beautiful little girl of two. They are getting married next year. He's got a good job and a happy life. We laughed about old times and agreed to put everything behind us. Chloe, my son and I will be going visiting him in Hertfordshire in a couple of weekend's time and meeting his Fiancee and his daughter.
We've all "grown up" and moved on and today I felt this huge weight shift. We all make mistakes... he made one and he knows that. I've made a ton in the past and I know it too. But it's human nature.
Forgiveness. It feels good.