David Miller and facebook

A school friend I have not seen for an eternity mailed me this morning to ask if I would consider joining facebook as a means of remaining in touch with her and the other two members of our once upon a time gang. A few minutes after reading the mail, I caught a snippet of a certain ‘David Miller’ sounding learned about something or other in a radio interview.

Perhaps because the email was so fresh in my mind, the very mention of the name David Miller instantly transported me to the last of five rows of scored and scorched desks in a high school science lab. From there, I could easily recall the back of another David Miller’s head, and as his neatly cropped haircut came back to me, I wondered if it had ever belonged to the man holding forth on my radio; whether the teenage boy I once knew could have acquired enough experience and knowledge in his specialist field to be speaking about it publicly?

If I were on facebook, I would probably know, or at least readily be able to find out the answer to my own question. But I am not, and I like it that way. Although I wish both David Miller and his career every health and happiness, I would prefer to recall the image of the boy in a school tie, than to dress him in a suit and imagine him speaking booming into a microphone at Broadcasting house.

My version of his life is unrealistically, unfairly even, lost in time, but in so being, it allows me to remember someone I knew rather than try to know someone I probably never will. And that allows space for my imagination to roam free. Plenty of space, I realised, when a couple of hours deeper into the day, I realised that the boy with the tie and the cropped locks was actually a Mellor not a Miller, and it is quite possible that we didn’t have biology classes together, but English, where I first remember wanting to explore thoughts like these.

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