Throughout my adult life there have been things which have nagged away at me from my childhood, things which I know that I shouldn’t have done but did do and some things which I know that I should have done and didn’t – such as ‘studying’.
The thing that most often preys on my mind, though, is something where, even to this day, I cannot think of what more I could have done and yet I’m bothered by the fact that I didn’t do anything.
I was at school with a boy named Gary Chamberlain. For a time we were good friends, but then drifted apart and were certainly not close at the time that this happened, although his circle of friends certainly included people that I was friendly with. The drifting apart bit was natural as, once we got to the sixth form of our school, there were a lot of unfamiliar people to befriend and Gary did just that.
At some point, though, something strange happened and Gary’s group of friends decided that they didn’t want him about any more. I don’t exactly know what happened (it is not that I have forgotten, I never did know) but there was then a concerted effort on the part of some of them to get rid of him. For example, I remember a party at which a jacket that he had just acquired from one of them was filled with eggs and thrown from a second floor window.
This, and a number of other insidious things, did result in Gary leaving the school (although whether directly because of them, or indirectly, I do not know) and I certainly didn’t hear from him again for many years, until we stumbled across one another on a social networking site.
What makes me feel bad is that I didn’t do anything to stop this. It may have related to someone I was no longer close to, but our relationship was still cordial. It involved people who I was not close friends with, either, but I feel that that should have been a reason to say something, as I had nothing, really, to lose. I didn’t, as I have said, really know what was going on – but I didn’t try to find out, either. And yet I still question whether saying anything would’ve changed anything anyway.
Which leads to a curious situation where the only person who was likely to gain from my intervention was me, not Gary. All these years on, I still don’t know what I should have done for the best.