The old friend

Like a great many people who think too much, Mr Tomkin has spent his life hovering at the edge of alright. He finds a way to be; it stops working; he finds another.

The state of not-being-right has become, to Mr Tomkin, an old friend. Every time this friend visits, something has changed – a new haircut, glasses, a different hat – and Mr Tomkin treats him like a stranger, courteous, afraid. And then, at last, the morning when he sees through the false moustache, and knows at once that his friend rises early and cannot eat bacon on account of cholesterol.

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