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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, December 24, 2002
    This forty-something world
      Susan had an accident
      Reverted back to age sixteen
      Went down to the youth club
      In a mirror looked and started to scream

      A similar thing happened to me
      When I was of the age thirteen
      Reflection held a picture of
      a man of two hundred and three

      And it was ....
      All in all .... safe and warm
      safe and warm


      The reflection held
      I now looked a whole lot better
      To keep crumbs off the floor
      Sophisticated ....
    Mark E. Smith does it again. The words he growls in The Fall vs. 2003 - Susan vs. Youthclub fit my mood so well, in the light of last night's annual reunion of friends from teenage years.

    According to a recent article in The Independent, Smith is 44. And like him, boy, we've also grown up. While there was plenty of laughter and enjoyable trivia in last night's conversations there was also a lot of life - in all its (often painful) fullness. Breakups, bereavements, the particular struggles of parenthood, featured alongside discussions of second marriages, career turn-rounds, hopes and fears for uncertain futures, and for one guy, the astonishing intervention of a life-changing partnership at an age he'd become resigned to grey batchelorhood.

    The youth club used to be safe and warm for us when we were aged sixteen. Life's been risky since, and still is. Good to share the changes and chances of this now-forty-something world, with these valued friends, even if only once a year.