Week 96: Bunking Off

Friday, 1 November 2019

Reading time 2 minute 59 seconds 

This is my step ladder, I never knew my real ladder – Old Joke

The first person I ever bunked off school with was the kid I now call my step brother, we were six and three quarters and luckily didn’t know any better.

Since as long as I can remember I have always been connected to him, even before our parents met and we were bound that way. I’m unsure why this bond existed but recently read that we are drawn to people who have similar things in common. 

We share the same first name. I often wonder if that was it, and if that’s the case why don’t we ever see the other Matthew who was in nursery and primary school with us?  

If you saw us together we are very easy to tell apart, he has one T in his MATHEW and I have two T’S in my MATTHEW. Weirdly he has two T’s in his MATT and I am a one T MAT. He’s also fractionally taller, marginally better looking and probably owns and can operate a drill. 

At almost seven years old we were both fairly independent, him a little more so than me. He probably already owned that drill or at least had the aspirations too by having the Argos catalogue tools page pinned to his bedroom wall.  

I don’t think I’m dumping him in it here but it was clearly his idea to break the rules and skip school. He made the suggestion, I immediately said yes then took care of the logistics and the plan. I was Face to his Hannibal.  

From about the age of five I was a latchkey kid so I had an empty house plus a treehouse. Two homes at that age is very impressive and it’s significantly better than I’m doing now.

We sneaked like only children can out of school. He was so cool, I thought we should run, he said just walk to make it look natural. It was just after lunch and no one would miss us. There was always the other Matthew, I’m sure the teachers would be happy with just him. 

So we sauntered to my properties like people who didn’t have to live by society’s rules. My heart was racing, he on the other hand was super relaxed. This may have been my first shot of adrenaline and I loved it. He had clearly drank from this adventure cup before. My Step brother was more of a man at six and three quarters than I am today.

Upon arrival to my homes I checked the coast was clear. We then sneaked, in an empty home to my treehouse, got inside and said to one another, what now? 

Neither of us knew what to do. We skipped school and we hadn’t worked out what to do next. What’s the point in school? What’s the point out of school? So we sat there, he looking all suave and sophisticated, me coming down from an adrenaline high. What a rush!

The next day back in the confines of our real life he was caught by the teacher and punished. Looking back I was surprised he was missed at school and I wasn’t. He was the quiet one and I was me. How did no one notice I wasn’t there? Even today I’m still a little miffed by that.

We were good friends then and neither of us are sure why but have remained friends ever since. We don’t see enough of each other but when we do it’s always one of my favourite times and we go straight back to that friendship that was forged over 45 years ago. 

The reason I love him then and it’s still with me today is because he stuck to the Eastend code and didn’t grass me up to the teachers. He, as he does, played it cool and took his telling off like a man. I would have squealed like the little Rat Boy I was and probably still am.

I bet if I asked him he’d lend me his drill and knowing me like he does he’d offer to make the holes for me as I don’t know how to operate one of those things.

Picture: Me, Matt and Gary