Getting by with a little help from my friends
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”
I am writing this with a glass of wine next to the laptop and acoustic love songs playing on Spotify so I fear I may veer into slurry indulgent ‘I really bloody love you’ territory. But so be it. I do and therefore I don’t care. Its National Best friends Day and I want to pay homage to 3 of my favourite human beings on the planet.
They won’t mind. After nearly 30 years they know what I am like. . .
We met in 1990 as wide eyed English undergraduates not yet knowing our assonance from our adolescent elbows. Daunted by a punishing regime of 4 hour weeks and the lure of a subsidised bar I quickly decided I needed a little help from some friends. A squad before #squads were even a thing. Someone to discuss the symbolism in metaphysical poetry with until the early hours (never happened), to share their last Silk Cut before the days of 24 hour opening (happened a lot) and to diffuse the hyperbole –yes, I graduated – of whatever angst and drama was unfolding (happened daily).
Luckily within the first week, the stars and planets were aligned and I had found ‘The Girls’. The 3 Musketeers to my D’Artagnan. The Fab Four. The Posh, Northern and Essex to my Gobby Spice. Despite being a clash of council estate and boarding school backgrounds with widely differing hairstyles and life experiences we gravitated towards each other.
In today’s algorithm obsessed society, had we subjected our statistics to compatibility database, I am pretty sure we would have been issued with ‘a computer says no’ conclusion. But back then we applied a far simpler formula; we laughed at the same things, had a shared liberal view of the world and a mutual love of alcopops and cheesy 70’s disco. That was – and still is – enough.
We survived the next 3 years learning and living together until we were finally cast far and wide into the real world as fully grown ‘adults’. Despite all going our separate ways we still managed to stay connected and as each decade unfolded like a Netflix drama we’ve rejoiced in each other triumphs – births, marriage, career progressions- and then protectively gathered round when the slings and arrows of life have tried to break our resolve.
The past 20 odd years have flashed at a bewildering speed and we are now surprised to find ourselves our late forties. Time is a good leveller, we are now all middle class and middle aged. We have ditched the fags and perms, switched the alcopops for a nice glass of chablis and developed a new shared love of ‘the cheeseboard’ : But aside from these minor adjustments essentially we are still ‘just us’.
Whilst the maelstrom of midlife life roars on our friendship remains the constant throughout. So until ‘our cruise ship years’ descend and we get ready to take residence in our adjoining rooms at Shady Pines, we’ll continue to take comfort from being ‘just us’ 4 girls drinking wine in the sunshine, making each other laugh like we’ve always done, happy in each others company and secure in the knowledge that whatever happens next we’ve got it covered.