I had something written about me the other day that was quite probably the loveliest thing anyone, anywhere has ever said about me. When I first read it I was surprised, emotional, overwhelmed. It was too lovely to go unanswered.
I met Kathryn at The Smallest Tribe when I was 14. We met for no other reason than we had just moved into the same street and our mums thought we should be friends. Funny how when you’re younger that’s all it takes for the basis of a friendship. It was enough though. If you ask her about our first meeting she’ll tell you I was wearing a very short black skirt and she thought it was one of the shortest skirts ever. If you ask me about it I’ll tell you she was watching that movie Cry Baby with Johnny Depp, which I thought was a big pile of shit and I didn’t understand why she loved it so much. I sat with her while our mums had coffee or tea or whatever, and watched that movie and I hated it, but I decided to give her a go anyway, despite her taste in flicks. (Couldn’t fault the taste in men – Johnny Depp at any age, yum.)
It’s funny the bonds you form when you’re a teenager and what it means for lifelong friendship. We were both at that age where you rage against the things about yourself you don’t like, instead of accepting them. You sometimes try to be someone you’re not to gain acceptance. And through all of this angst your friends are the only ones around you who truly understand what’s going on. It’s no surprise what with all those emotions that teenage friendship can be intense. We became each other’s cheerleaders through these years, always having the time to prop each other up, even if we couldn’t do that for ourselves. We also pulled each other into line. I have said some things to her that I wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else, and vice versa and I know that our ability to tell the cold hard truth to each other probably saved our friendship more than once.
After high school we inevitably stopped living in each other’s pockets, as what happens when jobs and moving cities and travelling and boys get in the way. I stopped knowing exactly what she’d eaten that day, she didn’t know who I was hanging out with on a Friday night. We started to lose the details. I moved overseas for a year, she started having babies (super, super cute babies). It’s hard to keep in touch when timezones and not wanting interrupt dinner and sleep time become a factor in scheduling phone calls. Three years went by before we actually saw each other in the flesh. Seeing her after all that time apart, it was like a million years and no time at all had passed.
I think if we met today, at a party or something, we might have some lovely conversation, think that we are both very nice people and then go our separate ways. We do live different lives today and when you’re a ‘grown up’ you’re often too set in your ways to make room in your life for someone new and your mum isn’t there to make it happen.
But I am so glad we didn’t. I am grateful we met when we did, that with her I’ll at once be the age I am now and simultaneously a 14 year old girl. That when I say “but how will we get you over the fence if you’re tied to a chair?” she’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and no one else will. That it won’t matter if we go three years without seeing each other.
Recently we’ve started keeping in touch more via, of all things, Twitter. I’m starting to know again a little bit more about what she’s eaten that day (rye toast and tea. So much tea. The girl loves tea) and she’s starting to know what I’m doing with my weekends. The other day she tweeted to me that I had always been braver than her. We were talking about Pretty Little Liars and the creepiness factor of that show, but I know her and I know that’s not all she meant. I have to say I don’t agree (she knows how much I like to have the last word). She is just as brave, as strong, as independent, as successful and all of those other words as she thinks I am.
When I think about the mother, wife, daughter, sister, business lady and friend she has become I’m proud and happy and my heart bursts.
I think she will agree that our friendship hasn’t always been perfect, but it’s perfect for us. And for that, and so many other things, I just want to say thank you.