"Is that Danny Swanston?" I asked my fellow Christmas Eve pubgoers and Currie High School Alumni, of the boy standing chatting to his friends round the corner of the bar. High school was seven years ago and few of us had kept up with many from our old school, outside of our circles of friends. Looking at this boy, we all agreed it looked like Danny Swanston, but we couldn't agree on whether it actually was him. I was sure it was, because it seemed impossible that there could be two people who looked that much alike. But at the same time I couldn't believe that he could look as good as he did. Most of the people I went to high school with, excepting my circle of friends, have gotten fat, ugly and dishevelled as a result of alcohol, cigarettes and dead-end jobs. The girls have all turned orange from excessive fake tan. It seemed unlikely that Danny Swanston could have escaped the ravages of post-school malaise.
After repeated observation, during which he must have started to worry about the attention we were giving him, Heather became convinced it wasn't him. From the side, sure, it looked like him, but when he was looking this way straight on, it wasn't his face. The other three disagreed, stating emphatically, "It is him. No no no, seriously, it's him. It's Danny Swanston." I started to come round to Heather's way of thinking as he looked our way a few more times. If it had been him, it would have been after cosmetic surgery. But I really couldn't be sure. There didn't seem to be a good way to resolve the situation. Someone could have gone up to him and asked, but the likeliest suspect - Heather - refused on the grounds that she no longer believed it was him. So I proposed a solution. "Is he on Facebook?" I asked. If he was on Facebook and had a picture, we could see what he looked like these days. Jenni got out her phone to check.
And at that very moment, when she was making her way to Facebook on her phone, someone walked in the door to the pub. We all turned round and looked. Then we were standing in fits of laughter. "Oh yeah...that's what Danny Swanston looks like," we thought to ourselves as the man himself walked to the bar with a couple of friends.
Perfectly timed moment of Christmas magic.
And to all a good night.