And you’re gone…..
This is another one of those meme things. The idea is to write about a friend who means a lot to you. I have chosen an old school friend, who I shall not name for the sake of his privacy.
Not meaning to sound over the top, but I’ve always said that this person (I’m going to call him Dave) is the brother I never had. As it tends to be with family, we’ve had our ups and downs – we spent a year or so when we didn’t even speak because of a stupid argument. I can’t even remember what we argued about! You see we’re both as argumentative, stubborn and bloody minded as each other. Apart from that we also share the same smutty sense of humour, the same love of crappy celebrity gossip, have the same disregard for our old teachers and many of our school colleagues, and the same trust – we know that we can tell each other anything.
There are a couple of enduring memories. One was the afternoon we skived games. It was in the fifth year, and the teachers had given up badgering me and Dave, and it was around exam time, so they really didn’t seem to give a damn whether we attended or not. So we didn’t! We sat on the swings at the park nearby and just chatted. I can’t even recall exactly what we talked about. All I remember is that both of us were at a turning point, virtually at the end of school, starting out on new paths, both feeling relieved that we were leaving school years that neither of us had particularly enjoyed. I just remember casually swinging and dragging my feet on the tarmac, and looking out over the grey/green hills, feeling hopeful. We were both quietly smug that we weren’t in games, that they weren’t ever going to make us go again, and that we had finally escaped school’s iron rule. Freedom was in the offing!
My other memory was of Christmas Eve. Our group of friends had a tradition, we’d all traipse up to the local church for Midnight mass. That year I’d gone round to Dave’s house first, and we sat drinking excessive amounts of white wine. Dave and I egged each other on, and probably matched glass for glass. Giggling and staggering very slightly we arrived in church, and sat down towards the front. This is when the white wine finally kicked in, we had to stand for a hymn and I dropped my hymn book. I tried to pick it up, but was completely unable to and had to sit down before I fell over. My mum and her friends, and a lot of my ‘good’ friends who didn’t drink were also there, along with loads of other churchgoers. The service finished and I shot out of there (probably zigzagged a little) before anyone could ask me how I was. My mum’s friend apparently asked her if I was ok, because I’d looked so poorly. She obviously didn’t realise that I was completely off my head on cheap booze. I blame Dave. If I rot in hell for being paraletic in church, he’s coming with me.
Dave’s seen me in floods of tears with a broken heart, due to an arse of an ex boyfriend. I’ve seen him on the verge of a breakdown due to an arse of an ex boyfriend – you see the theme here? Dave’s been a constant friend, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with, a solid, wonderful person who never realises his own worth. We’ve been through so much together.
When we were about 16 we agreed that if we couldn’t find partners we’d live together as best mates. We’d have an entire room full of cushions, simply because it’d be cosy. Dave said he eventually wanted to work for an organisation that helped people with AIDS, I think I said I wanted to work with dolphins or something. As it is, I’m married with two kids, and a cat – no dolphins swimming in the bath. Dave remains an unappreciated genius and does not work at all, due to the mental scarring he accrued from the bullies that made his life a misery at school. Life takes its course. I always thought we’d grow old together and laugh at each others grey hair and increasing waistlines, that we’d be friends until our teeth fell out.
Problem is he’s leaving and I don’t know how life will be without him. These days I have kids and family, friends are hard to make, and harder to maintain. There will be a huge gap, one that chocolate, tv, blogging, a new pair of shoes, walks in the sunshine, smiles from the kids, will not fill. Dave will be gone very soon and I will have lost a piece of me when he sets foot on that plane and flies off to meet his destiny.
Well, ‘Dave’. You’re not rid of me yet. I’m after claiming that missing piece, so expect a visit. If I have to swim freezing seas to get to Canada, I will. That way at least, I might get to spend some time with my beloved dolphins at last.