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A Christmas story

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He was sitting opposite me; we were en famille having an early Christmas dinner. He’s a quiet man who likes to take walks along the east coast of England. He gazes at the seascape-skies and the grey-green waves of the North sea. He has dark brown eyes and he is well-liked – even though he admits to being ‘antisocial’. ‘Antisocial’ is an emotionally charged word; it might be more accurate to say that he simply doesn’t feel comfortable in the presence of other people. He avoids most social contact.

He’s reserved; he’s relatively diffident and he’s certainly reluctant to volunteer his opinions. He’s not usually forthcoming. In fact he’s not forthcoming at all. He’s almost an enigma. None of this diminishes his quiet charm. A certain mystery attaches to him. Strangely enough although his characteristic expression is doleful there’s a sparkle in his eye. His name is Christopher.

Christopher A. is 67 years old.

During the meal he suddenly declared:

I’m told that up to the age of five I was a happy child.

That’s about all he said.

I found myself wondering if he had spent the last 62 years feeling unhappy.

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