My good friend, my ex-colleague, had a tale to tell, when we met for his requested "catch up", which began with the usual casual "how have you been," then unfolded slowly and horrifically with his tale of a mysterious illness, contradictory diagnoses, tests, more tests, tests upon tests, then liver disease, then liver failure, then, additionally it seems, liver cancer, five tumors, just as a topping for the earlier "terminal" diagnosis while "given about 18 months,"... then the dramatic tale of receiving a transplant 19 months after that verdict, and so now, about 10 weeks post-transplant, sitting opposite me with a dead man's liver in his belly, and which he has been warned might fail at any time, or might not; and he was supping his orange juice while I, by then rather awkwardly, supped my second beer, while pondering the slight jaundice around his eyes.
That tale took a couple of hours, then there was a pause.
"Well, I broke my arm," I said. "Let's talk about me."
He laughed, fortunately.
We parted, and he gave me a longer and firmer handshake than usual; then put his arm around my shoulder, before moving on.
"Keep in touch," I said, and walked away, thinking...