by Akim Reinhardt
I have a friend of Indian descent who was born in Africa, but raised almost entirely in London.
Or, I should say, I had such a friend. About a year ago, maybe more, we got into an online argument about the Pope, and that was that. Much to my surprise, he de-friended me from social media. And since we haven't lived in the same town for well over a decade, it was over.
That we're both atheists just makes the whole episode even stranger.
No matter. The point is that I recently heard from a mutual acquaintance who said my ex-friend is now attempting to move back to Great Britain.
"Have you spoken to Nigel lately?" the mutual acquaintance asked me
"Not in about a year," I replied, not wanting to give anything away. This mutual acquaintance didn't speak with Nigel much after the latter had moved, but remembered him fondly and had occasionally asked about him.
"Not in about a year," he echoed. "Well, he's looking at a job in London. He wants to move out of the country because he cannot abide the Trump administration."
"Ah, I see. That's all well and good I suppose until England gets its own strong man."
The mutual acquaintance, an elderly gentleman from sub-Saharan Africa, smiled and chortled. Then his chuckle bubbled up into a laugh, as loud a sound as I've ever heard emanate from this very calm and quiet man.
He knew. My quip wasn't just a commentary on Brexit and lord knows whatever comes next after the towering doltishness of Theresa May. He knew that it can happen anywhere. No society is immune from falling under the spell, either through ballots or bullets, of a shitty nationalistic strongman; the kind Donald Trump aspires to be, although he is probably too inept to ever attain such lofty heights of villainy.
We each turned and wandered off to our respective destinations, the mutual acquaintance still laughing.