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.