I'd known David since the very first day of primary school.  We went through primary and juniors together as part of a group of close friends who have remained friends to this day.  At the end of juniors we went off to different schools and lost contact for a few years.  But then, when we were 17, we bumped into each other again; I was working in a builder's yard along with another of the lads we were both friends with from school and one day he came flying into the yard in his blue Austin.  From then on, we were part of a group of lads who had a pretty good time together - we were all into our cars, motorbikes, parties, nightclubbing, all the usual stuff.  And our friendship, once rekindled, continued up to that fateful day.

A group of us lads had been on holiday to Majorca the previous year and had such a laugh we decided to go again.  We got there in high spirits, dropped our bags off and went straight to the beach.  David ran down to the sea and flopped into the water - something we've all done countless times.  I wasn't watching but apparently he just didn't come up.  A lady dragged him out and there was a big commotion as the ambulance crew came down - it's all a bit of a blur, but we couldn't get any sense out of the paramedics, or out of the hotel staff and we couldn't find out where they'd taken him.  When we eventually found the hospital, they told us he'd broken his neck.  It was just horrific.  Other than death, I don't think you can hear anything worse.  I called his mum and dad to tell them; that wasn't a good call to have to make.

Life all too easily gets in the way

David came back to Southport hospital and us lads would go down to visit him.  We were probably there most nights at first, and as well we were helping with fundraising for him.  But as time went on, that drifted away.  I felt guilty about that from time to time, but you carry on with your life and gradually we lost touch.  A bit later I started to go out with his ex-girlfriend from the time of the accident and that made it easier to keep away.  29 years and three kids later, we're still together but I did feel guilty about that too sometimes - who knows what would have happened, we were just lads at the time, but marriage, buying a house together, having children, it could have been David.  The longer the time went on, the harder it became to bridge the gap.  But then I joined Facebook and David sent me a message and that just started us talking.  Initially, it was all a bit awkward; it was my fault that we'd left it so long.  But David was just David and it was great to catch up.  We all met up at his 50th birthday and had a good night of reminiscing.  And now we're staying in touch - it's mostly over Facebook and the phone, but we meet up in the local for a pint when we can.  And there's a standing thing that all the old boys meet up on Christmas Eve for a beer and to see how the year has gone.

Life all too easily gets in the way.  But we lost 20 odd years of friendship and I definitely regret that.

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