I met up with one of my oldest friends last night. We first met when I was a mere 19 and had my first job at a local building society. She was on maternity leave when I started working there and when she came in to visit with her newborn son (now 25 – eek!) I have to admit to being a bit intimidated and thinking I wasn’t sure that we would get on. I don’t know why other than that she was very glamorous (even with a newborn in tow) and very blonde and sure of herself. Basically the opposite of naive 19 year old me. However, I ended up working for her (my first foray into the world of I.T. or D.P. as it was known then) a year later and we soon became the best of friends. I would go to the supermarket with her in our lunch break to help her do her weekly shop (she paid me in Tunnocks Teacakes) and laugh at her terrible driving. We would do the daily banking trip, as we were “back office” staff and therefore less likely to get mugged, and we would laugh at the creep in the barbers down the road who would ogle her as we walked past. She was also a great help when I was navigating the tricky waters of boyfriends (and how to dump them). She left a couple of years later to have her second baby but we remained good friends and would see each other fairly often or talk on the phone when we couldn’t.
She’s had some tricky times – a tempestuous relationship which made for a rocky marriage at times -and I’ve been there for her; going out on the town to cheer her up when her ego needed a boost and supporting her when she decided, as she always did, that her husband wasn’t that bad and she should probably stick it out – they are still together nearly 30 years later; and she has been a good friend to me too (although my life has been far less eventful).
We only meet up every 3 or 4 months (less in the winter as we are both self-confessed hermits) but when we do we always feel like we saw each other last week. We appreciate each others family lives and don’t mind that we don’t see each other often – she has just become a grandma and works full time, with 2 adult children still living at home – and so we enjoy our evenings out together all the more for it. Last night was the usual round of catching up on family news and ourselves; diets; sizes of bums; moaning about failings of husbands (mainly tongue in cheek) and how crap telly is at the moment (thank god for books).
And god we laughed. We laughed so much that I think the people on the tables around us wondered if we were pissed. We weren’t. Just enjoying catching up with someone who you’ve know for so long that you have so many shared memories. My favourite story that we remembered last night was of an evening about 12 years ago when T was small and I wasn’t getting out much. She had dragged me out to the pub with some of her work colleagues and we were having a good night, until an ex-colleague who had recently left under a cloud arrived and started causing an atmosphere by being rude and boorish. I remember feeling so aggrieved that this a******e was ruining my one night out in months that I just let rip. Told him that no-one was interested in listening to him if all he was going to do was insult them; that he was ruining my night out and that he really didn’t want to mess with a post-natal highly emotional woman who would gladly smack him one round the fat chops if he didn’t stop. He left. I was the star of the night and felt like Supergirl, came home on such a high that I felt I could conquer the world, let alone a 9 month old baby who wouldn’t sleep.
As I was dropping her home she confessed that her daughter had queried how good our friendship really is. She was basing this on how little we see each other and how often we cancel our plans and rearrange. And how we don’t talk on the phone (who does that?) anymore, just text or WhatsApp. L explained that you don’t need that to be friends. History; shared memories; just knowing that if you needed them they would help you whether you saw them last week or 3 months ago; laughing. That’s all you need.
P.S. I’m not a 1D fan just thought it fit nicely as a title.(Liam, I love you).