The wives are in the kitchen chatting away, the kids all 9 of them are somewhere in the house, although we can't see them we can defiantly hear them. The three of us look at each other, smile and make our exit into the warm sunshine that has decided to grace us with it's presence in October. It's seems like us to want to have one last hurrah before the fall of winter.
We sit down on the dark wooded chairs, placing our glasses on the table, for two of us our days of drinking are long behind us, me because I want to, him because he never was able to drink more than a pint without falling over. The other one has never had a problem holding his drink, I remember going too his bedsit once and being very impressed by the pyramid of beer bottles he had managed to build. It stood almost 6 foot tall.
The hair is a little greyer, laughter lines have appeared around the edges of our eyes, our hairstyles haven't changed at all down the years. Mine is still parted on the left, the head is winning the battle of showing through the hair but I don't mind as I've started to show more grey hair now and I tell them it makes me look distinguished. He still has the shaven head from his youth, once he had got over the spiked hair look and realised it was cheaper to shave it himself he kept it. The other one has longish hair again. It's hard too remember a time when he didn't, a ponytail when I got married, it hasn't been anything other than shoulder length since.
We sit and moan about work, our wives and the kids, each showing the other the required amount of sympathy, adding a 'I wouldn't have that' every now and then but knowing far too well that we wouldn't dare say what we are thinking, or agreeing too, to our wives. We know it deep down as well but say it anyway, it's safe here, we can say what we feel knowing that the others won't mention a word to their partners.
We hold each others secrets, discussing them amongst ourselves, we know that none of us would cheat so we don't have to worry about those kind of secrets. We are lucky we all have met 'the one'. The secrets we hold are shared memories from our youth, the things we did and said. We laugh about them now and then, it's hard not too, we did some crazy things. We always were just on the side of legal, the thrill was in how far we could push it, always pulling back just in time. When I first moved into the flat with my wife, they would come around during the hot summer days, we would empty the fridge of all the food and fill it with beer, then spend the day drinking it all until my wife came home and found our weekly shop was inedible due to my lack of care.
We laugh about the girls we loved and left behind, of the fights we had and the friends we made and no longer see. These are memories we cherish and share, we tell others but they don't seem to laugh in the right places like we do, oh they smile politely but that real gut wrenching breath catching laugh only comes from us. We reminisce for hours and yet never feel uncomfortable when a silence falls between us.
We've been friends for 21 years this month and they are the two most important people in my life after my family. One is married to my sister, the other to a girl my wife went to school with. We all seem to fit together like we were meant to be. If ever I need someone to talk too they are there, and me for them. I've never had brothers but these guys are as close as I will ever get.
In our head we are still 18, running around Gants Hill, jumping in cars and eating Stevie's out of a silver carton. The reality is we are nearing 40 quicker than we would like, all married, all with children and wives. Yet we are the same as we were back then, we are just a little older.