The text messages exchanged after the fortieth birthday party were pleasant enough.
Vague plans were made for everyone to meet up again at some unspecified point in the future, lots of ‘good to see you, mate’ and ‘it’s been too long, mate’.
The footage of the lad’s day out told a different story.
It showed grown men all recently liberated from the tyranny of hair joylessly circling a Go Kart track, mouths in rictus grin, some appearing to be experiencing acute physical pain.
Clint watched the video evidence on his phone alone on his sofa.
Only away from the engine sounds of undersized vehicles and the hollow laughter of his companions was he aware of the bereft eyes that sat in the heads of the men he’d once called good friends, who he now saw two or three times a year at most.
We’ve all made terrible, terrible, decisions the eyes seemed to say.
This has gone on for far too long, we’ve had nothing in common since school.
Clint swiftly deleted the clip and browsed the other albums on his phone.
An endless stream of middle aged faces, harrowed by divorce and drink dependency, chiseled into living gargoyles by the mason’s tools of ungrateful children and an unfulfilling career
Away went the sad faces.
All that remained were pictures of Clint’s dinner.
A vegan fish, bought to impress the nice young woman with the nose ring who worked in the health food shop and who sometimes smiled absently at Clint.
Complete waste of money.
This story is part of the sad but beautiful relationship between Contemporary Food Lab and Dimly Lit Meals For One. We are happy to feature this ongoing series on the CFL Journal written by DLMFO writer, editor & producer Tom Kennedy.