Time fades when meet­ing a good friend


SIT­TING op­po­site my life­long friend for a rushed cup of cof­fee re­cently, it struck me how friend­ship isn’t so much a big thing but a mil­lion dif­fer­ent small things.

She and I grew up to­gether on the same street in houses that faced each other like mir­ror im­ages. She was a year ahead of me in school so though we never got to share a class­room, we got to share ev­ery­thing else. She shared her Sindy dolls with me and I shared my coloured mark­ers with her. I lent her my hula-hoop, she lent me her party dress. And when at the age of six, she lost her mother – we shared that too.

At 9 years old, she could cook pota­toes and bake a Christ­mas cake with equal aplomb. When she joined the girl guides, I did too. When she took up hockey, I joined as well. And when my very first boyfriend asked me out, she urged me to go for it on the ba­sis that he wore an army jacket and shoes with a tassle!

We grew up and moved away and the daily con­tact of child­hood was lost. She learned to speak French, I learned to speak Ger­man. I mar­ried a man she did not know and she mar­ried a man I did not know. We live in dif­fer­ent places, we work at dif­fer­ent jobs and we so­cialise with dif­fer­ent people. Yet all the same, we stay in touch. We do not talk ev­ery day, we do not speak ev­ery month, but when we do, the gap in time di­min­ishes, our two worlds col­lide and the de­light in each other per­sists.

As in any friend­ship, we have had our ups and downs, our ins and outs but we have al­ways fol­lowed the adage that to for­give is a gift to each other and to for­get is a gift to our­selves.

I knew when call­ing her for that re­cent cup of cof­fee, it would be rushed. I al­most didn’t call. I had 45 min­utes to spare and I thought it wasn’t enough. But it was. It was enough for her to squeeze tighter her al­ready tight sched­ule, it was enough to re-or­gan­ise a morn­ing that was or­gan­ised al­ready and it was enough to re-cap­ture that which has kept us to­gether all along.

When we meet, there is no small-talk, pea­cock­ing was never our thing and we do not get bogged down in de­tail. We cut straight to the chase, hun­gry for each other’s opin­ion, search­ing for each other’s truth and relishing an hon­esty that has never gone away.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, each stage in life has yielded a val­ued friend, friends that will be cher­ished for life. As my long­est friend and I part ways mak­ing the same prom­ises we al­ways do, I am re­minded of how the nicest thing in the world is to have a good friend and the best thing in the world is to be one.

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