I went out last night for a meal and drinks with old college friends. We do this every year between Christmas and New Year as it's the only time we're all in the same county at the same time what with all the parent visiting et al.
It's also a good time to hand out Christmas cards to those people we'd forgotten to post them to weeks ago. I was quite good this year. I only had two to give out having posted the others a week or so before Christmas.
Anyway, L & D turned up and I dutifully handed over their card (I'd already texted L a couple of days before Christmas to say I still hadn't posted it and I'd give it to her at the meal). The last card I had was for C and his girlfriend M. A few minutes later, C arrived and I was rummaging in my coat pocket for said card when I noticed that the girl following him didn't look like M. M had dark hair. This girl was blonde. Maybe she'd dyed it?
Then I saw the girl's face. She was not M.
C had a new girlfriend and I wasn't told! I turned to L and said "That's not M. Who in Christ is she?" It turned out that C & M had split up in August. August! And that C was now with B and had been for the last two weeks. Bugger. I couldn't very well give C & B the card that said to C & M so I didn't say anything - luckily I hadn't sent a text to C saying I had a card for him.
Anyway, the evening progressed successfully. No arguments, no fights, no raucousness. All in all very civilised. We ended up in a pub not far from the restaurant where we all relaxed and mingled and met other halves.
Then I heard my name mentioned in the same sentence as card. My head snapped around and I saw C looking straight at me.
"Have you got a card for me?" he said.
"So you haven't got a card for me in your pocket?"
"No. I must've left it at home."
"You're sure you haven't got a card for me and my girlfriend on you?"
At this point I turned slightly and glared at L. I might have known she'd say something.
"Did you tell him?" I asked her indignantly.
"Well, yes." I rolled my eyes. "I gauged the humour of the situation and decided that C & B would find it amusing. Especially seeing you squirm!" Then they all laughed at me.
The moral of this story is to gossip. For all you're worth. And keep in touch with your friends, I guess. Although, any one of them could have sent me a text letting me know C & M had split up. Or told me about it when I last saw them or spoke to them on the phone. From now on, whenever I speak to one of them, I'll be asking for any gossip. If there isn't any, I'll make some up so they can repeat it at the Christmas/New Year meal and look stupid instead of me.