Our Past, Present, and Future

12 Jan

You are never going to believe the familiar face I bumped into today: Mr Rupert Stanley Quim.

It’s been years since I’d seen my most significant employer. He and I left on relatively friendly terms (thanks to the effective counsel of my lawyer), but we’ve not spoken since (thanks to his now-expired restraining order).

I cannot deny the influence he had on my professional life. He taught me valuable lessons about deals, details, and deadlines. We spent many hours together, hunched over the desk in his messy office, discussing and debating. He was a formidable friend and foe. He could drink me under a table, but I always won when we arm wrestled.

I didn’t offer to fight him today, though, as it was obvious that time had taken its toll on dear Rupert. The voice that had once boomed threats at me over a busy publishing office was now much weaker, barely a whisper. He was smaller, too; I mean this literally — I could have easily pinned him against a wall and stolen his wallet and wristwatch (I didn’t, but I could have). In fact, he confessed that the tattoo of my face which used to be on his thigh has now dropped down to his shin, which didn’t make sense to me but whatever. Otherwise, his wit was still with him, and we enjoyed a short talk, bad mouthing the same enemies we’d criticized so many years ago. God rest their souls.

Seeing Rupert made me reflect on the various ways people move through our lives, and how the crucial relationships — whether good or bad — stay with us forever. Despite today’s nice chat, I’ll be absolutely fine if Mr Quim and I never meet again. I know that something will happen almost every day that will remind me of his influence on my work. And I know he’ll think of me just as frequently, or at least every time he reaches down to tie his shoes while also wearing short trousers.

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