It has been my birthday this week. I feel no older, except when I look in the mirror or remember just how long ago x or y happened. And I often miscalculate those dates! It’s age you know. It comes to me when I realise just how long I’ve known the people in my life.
FriendAbroad has just e-mailed me a daft message about how none of the wishes, angels or whatever she has received has worked, and please could we send chocolate, wine or air tickets instead. Over the years we have seen one another spasmodically. We were next door neighbours when we were 9, and wrote termly to one another at our respective girls’ boarding schools until we pitched up at the same sixth form. Our friendship flourished at school despite her being more confident and successful in our co-ed surroundings. She taught me to put on eye-make-up, shared novels and companionship, enthused about our sewing skills and laughed with me. When she needed somewhere to live in London she came and shared my one-bedroom flat. Later, when she moved to the USA to accompany her widowed father, I went to stay for a long summer earning my keep by helping her with the household chores. Later still we lived in one another’s pockets as she prepared for her wedding and I made her dress and my bridesmaid’s dress. I’m her eldest son’s godmother.
Husband-to-be and I visited her family in the Netherlands for a ball and she memorably sewed me back into my dress when the clearly too cheap zip split open! She was, of course, one of my bridesmaids.
Her life has changed direction several times since then, and we have both moved about rather a lot, never close enough for detailed contact, but we keep in touch, and we visit when possible. She usually drops in when she’s in the UK, and we exchange e-mails randomly. Our lives have been different, but the things we have in common remain key, and we never have difficulty in finding things to talk about when we get together.
With a friendship that has lasted so long, it is impossible to imagine FriendAbroad ceasing to be part of my life. I can’t see a reason why two little old ladies couldn’t still be exchanging views on the novels we’re reading, our sewing and our children. Not to mention the Husbands and (future I trust!) grandchildren. Aren’t I lucky.
(The cushions were Youngest's Christmas present.)