Happy Birthday Dear Friend

“You can go through life and make new friends every year – every month practically –

but there was never any substitute for those friendships of childhood that survive into adult years.

Those are the ones in which we are bound to one another with hoops of steel.”

Alexander McCall Smith

A little while ago I received a request from a relative of an old friend. They were putting together a memory book for her and wanted any old pictures,stories etc. that might be of interest. This friend is a special one, one that I’ve known from childhood. She moved into the house across the road from me when I was in middle school. Her mother was friendly, out going and gregarious, her father was calm and quiet with kind twinkling eyes. She had an older sister who was funny and sweet, and much older brothers whom I didn’t know. She herself was quiet, subdued, and according to my very astute ten year old self, a snob. I liked her family more than I did her, she didn’t want to play, she didn’t want to talk and I didn’t want to bother.

Sometime the universe knows better, and through various interactions we were practically forced to be friends. A shared classroom and friends helped facilitate a new friendship and a true bond formed. She was funny and sharp, witty and honest. I, non-confrontational in nature, admired her fearlessness, she would never back away from fight if she thought she was right. We would argue and fall out , and make up again. We would hang out after school and listen to records, eat dinner, walk up to the sweet shop,ride bikes, and even sneak into neighbors gardens and steal apples and pears off the trees . We fell out over something petty and didn’t speak for ages. Our final year at high school and our more rational 16 year old selves decided that it was silly and we made up. The friendship picked up where we had left it, easy and warm.

We went to different universities and lost touch for a while. When we met up again, it was a stronger friendship, we were both older and our lives were changing fast, we were now confidants and supporters. Our family backgrounds were so similar that we could understand the nuances of each others life without explaining. The universe gave us another sign, and we found out that both our prospective husbands were based in the same city in the US. She married and moved first , I moved six months after. The change for me was abrupt and disarming. I didn’t cope as well as I could have, and was probably not as open as I should have been. I couldn’t admit that I was having a hard time, and backed away. Just as I was getting acclimated to my new environment, she told me they were moving out of State.

We didn’t speak for a while, each busy with our lives, then my father suddenly passed away and I went back home. We spoke on the phone and it was immediately the same banter, full of warmth and comfort. We still keep in touch with the occasional email and telephone conversation that lasts for ages, and always ends on a promise that we won’t leave it so long next time. As I write this, I can’t remember the last time we spoke, our days consumed by children, family and work but I just wanted to say Happy Birthday H ~ lets speak soon. Love R XxX

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