Yesterday I wrote about Mr and Mrs Hero and their adventures in Africa – and I think that all my bitterness and cynicism and sense of betrayal shone through. It was very much a me, me! perspective. I failed to consider or convey their point of view: the enormous upheaval the posting must have caused to their physical lives and their emotional ones.
Ten years later or maybe fifteen, they were still ‘dining out on it’ and clinging to their escapades as self-defining tropes. Newly retired from the game, any new thrills would have to be manufactured by themselves. What I failed to appreciate was their sense of loss, of missed challenges and opportunities.
At the time I did not recognise the competition for exoticism points, hardship honours, or medals for bravery. I was too appalled by what I was facing myself, and crushed that I was getting no discernible sympathy or applause, to think clearly.
I remain an innocent. I want to trust and believe rather than scoff and dismiss hyperbole and self-aggrandisement. It was not that the stories weren’t true of course; places and names had been changed to enhance the protagonists.
I must learn to be more charitable.