I have an Inner Circle Friend. He is what people would generally regard as a ‘good man’. He is older than me, not old enough to be a father. More of the younger uncle who is solid but enjoys a little spice to his life. He tackles fraud in government organisations, enjoys a beer, loves his sport, a keen family man, devout and plays a part in his local church, plays musical instruments, writes poetry and every Saturday he picks up the shopping and spends an hour chatting with a housebound friend of his. He and I enjoy Italian food and a good debate as we set the world to rights. He enjoys a fierce discussion and it is all good fuel but there is never any grudge afterwards, even when I have twisted and spun in order to avoid conceding a particular point. Every time we meet up he always begins by reminding me that my life is a bowl of cherries.
“Yes HG it is bowl of cherries. Look at you. An educated man with many friends, good job, well-read, able to do as he pleases and you travel. You organise your time so you can spend time with lots of people and most of all the girls. Holy Toledo, the girls. You get through them and no mistake but you are never troubled by it are you? Sometimes I wish I was single and younger so I could join you in these adventures. You are a man comfortable in his own skin. I can see that and this means you are able to have a life which is a bowl of cherries.”
I always enjoy this little speech of his. It is important to people to recognise my elevated position and the rewards that come with it. He never displays any jealousy nor does he judge what I do (albeit of course he does not know it all). He regards my behaviours as ‘hi-jinks’ and ‘ capers’ . The preserve of the younger man with the world at his feet. I will relay the latest tale of my activities as he sips from his rioja. He laughs and shakes his head as I detail to him what I have been doing, but he is never alarmed by what I tell him. He is a big believer in living life to the full, seizing opportunities and setting the world alight. All of which I naturally do. There is only topic where he passes comment in a slightly adverse way. Children.
“So HG,” he will begin before swallowing more of his wine and lighting yet another cigarette if we are dining at his house,”when can we expect some children? All these ladies and you cannot tell me that they do not want a little HG to share the cherries with?”
“Maybe one day,” I lie since I have no intention of having any children. He is unaware I took care of that some time ago.
“Well you are in your prime so those cherries will keep on appearing, juicy and ripe, but seriously, a man should have children. I have four. Two by each wife. Children are a great comfort. Tells you that someone can bear you if they want to carry your offspring, they give you something to strive for, something to live for and then you have a legacy as you see them go into the world making their own way.”
I smile and allow him to say all of this. I hear it each time that we meet up.
“You must have met the right lady by now, surely? You have no problem attracting them with your big bowl of cherries now do you?”
“True enough but there is so much to do and sharing those cherries isn’t really on the agenda.”
“Come now,” he smiles, “you have more than enough and you should share. You should be showering your gifts on someone special and your offspring. It is the right thing to do. You have no need to worry, my lad, about sharing those cherries you know. You always have a bowl full and if you share a few around then you will always be able to pick some more won’t you?”
“There is never enough though and I have to be careful you know, there are too many who would steal my cherries from me and leave me with nothing.”
“No there isn’t,I have told you before, the cherries are there to share, not to hoard. You need to listen to me. Share and keep picking.”
I smile and let him continue with his monologue about cherries and children. He is right though I am the cherry picker. I am up on high,elevated above everything else around me and I reach those places that the little people can never reach. I can move from side to side, up and down and ensure that I always obtain the tastiest and most succulent cherries before anybody else. I can see them dark red and with that polished lustre just waiting to be picked by me and me alone. So many out there to collect in order to try and fill my bowl. If only I could figure out some way to plug the hole in my bowl, maybe then I might just be tempted to share.