Been thinking this week about friendship and how grateful I am for the friendships where I can be totally honest, real and (if the mood should strike), completely and utterly ridiculous too.
And that, pretty much sums up my 27-year-long friendship with Un-named Friend, who’s been there through all the highs, lows and the many middle bits too.
We first met at school, aged 11. My version of the story is that she was Queen Bee, very popular with all and loved by the boys. I arrived at school, culturally inept but with an American accent which instantly catapulted me to ‘star attraction’ status in the playground at break time. The kids would gather round me and demand I utter words like ‘yoghurt’ in my lovely twang.
Unnamed Friend (UF) and I had an uneasy start – but we soon became inseperable and did it all; school days, school plays, school lunches, church, sleepovers – we even got a job working in the same shop together on Saturdays.
We would sit in my room as kids, write ridiculous church songs together (I could play D, C and Em on the guitar, so I was a musical genius), scribble love letters to boys we fancied, play practical jokes on each other, swoon over film stars, fall out, fall back in again and somehow, managed to get through the painful business of adolesence, without too many scars.
She was my confidante on the night of my first ever official ‘date with a boy’. I was so shockingly nervous, I could barely speak. She was 3 months older and therefore considerably wiser in the Ways of Men. Her advice of, ‘You don’t have to kiss him, if you don’t want to’, ringing in my ears, I somehow managed to survive that awful, cringe-worthy night. For the record, I didn’t. (kiss him!)
Fast forward to later years, we moved through university, heartbreaks, student debt, first house-shares, faith crises, more first kisses and later, a wedding, babies, bereavement and other things in-between.
But for UF and I, despite the ups and downs of life, nothing much has changed. When we get together, (like last night), we’re still just 11 years old, strumming an out-of-tune guitar and laughing like drains at something incredibly stupid we did at school.
UF has been there all the way – it’s not just the laughs, but the really bad times too. And she too has weathered some pretty horrific storms over the years, so our conversations are sometimes a mixture of laughing, with pauses for sadness, remembering, tears and more. You can’t beat a lifelong shared history with someone else.
So, Un-named Friend – I salute you! I think you’re strong, brave and one-in-a-million.
Thank you for being my friend.