I’m waiting for my best friend to arrive. She is coming to visit for the weekend. The house is clean(ish), the guest room’s prepared, and most importantly, the wine is in the fridge. Along with my long-suffering hubby, she is the most important person in the world to me. So since she’s due here any minute, I thought this week I’d write about this awesome lady and our years of fantastic friendship.
I met my best friend in my first year at high school. We got to know each other through another mutual friend, and suffice it to say we loathed each other on sight. I thought she was far too blonde and pretty, and she thought I was a brainy know-it-all. (We were both right). Fortunately, we soon found out there was more to each of us than first appearances suggested. Gradually we realised we had more in common with each other than with our friend(s). When our school days were over it was only me and my bestest buddy who stayed in touch. We did so even though we have lived very different lives from each other. Here’s a basic timeline:
We both left school aged seventeen. I left home and went to university, best friend stayed with mum and dad and went to work full time.
At age twenty, bestest buddy got married (and yes, she still is, to the same guy). I was still happily shagging my way through the male population of Edinburgh. (Shocked?)
Best friend has two boys, born when she was twenty-one and twenty-four. For most of their childhood she only worked part time, if at all, in order to raise her family. When I eventually got married, hubby and I decided we didn’t want kids. I have been a career woman (ha!) all my life and either worked full time or had a part time job while training to do something else.
I have only in recent years moved away from the city. Mad pal moved to the country as soon as she got married and apart from a couple of years here and there, has lived in the middle of nowhere ever since. She has three horses, numerous ducks and hens, and at the last count, FIFTEEN cats (and you thought I was a crazy cat lady). More on the reason why she has so many cats in a moment. For the last twelve years, we have lived more than one hundred miles apart.
So you see, we haven’t stayed friends because our lives have run together, or even along similar lines. Even when we were younger, we had different tastes. She liked Wham, I liked Duran Duran. Yes, there’s the horrific confession: I wasn’t always a rock chick. But we do have plenty in common as well. We like a lot of similar books and movies, we both like cats (obviously) and our husbands would definitely want me to make it clear at this point that we both like wine, and lots of it.
I certainly believe the reasons she has been my best friend for over thirty years (eek!) are a bit deeper than a shared love of wine, cats, and hot action men in movies. She is loyal. She is always there for me – if not in person, then on the phone or via the internet. She is a good listener, and gives good advice when needed. She has a great sense of humour. But most people would say the same about their best friend. I suppose, like the ideal husband/partner/lover, there is just that certain something between us that makes our friendship work. Oh, and just as in any relationship, we have fallen out. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. We have had two major fallouts, one when we were still in our teens, and one just a few years ago. We spent some long weeks not speaking to each other. But we are too good together to let what were, in the end, unimportant things keep us apart. (Doesn’t that sound like lovers talking? Don’t know what that means…I’m sure psychologists could have a field day with it!) Actually, now I come to think of it, one or two people have thought we were lesbians over the years, which we don’t mind at all. But we’re not. *winks*
So, the reason she is coming to visit is that we are going to a cat show this weekend. See, I told you I’d explain the reason for the huge number of cats: best friend breeds Bengals, and British Shorthairs. She is the reason I have the very photogenic Sam cat, whose picture popped up on my first ever blog. She is a very successful breeder; her cats have won many show titles and her kittens have been exported all over the world as pets or as breeding animals themselves. The fifteen cats I mentioned do not include kittens. At the moment, that would take the number up to twenty-three. My best friend has now made a career out of being a crazy cat lady. Not fair!
When we’re not at the show, we’ll gossip and giggle, we’ll eat fattening food and drink LOTS of wine, we’ll watch Daniel Craig or Hugh Jackman or some other hunk on the big screen tv, and we’ll drive my long-suffering hubby insane. (Fortunately for him he’s working most of this weekend). We are now in our early forties, yet with each other we are those same two teenage girls that would get together over Coca-Cola and a copy of Smash Hits all those years ago. Best friends forever! I certainly hope so.
I have come to realise while writing this that there is SO much more to say. What did we get up to when we did meet up, all those years our lives ran so differently? What did we fall out about? This post has gone on longer than I intended it to anyway, so I’ll save all that for ‘Friends Will Be Friends – Part Two’ – to be written sometime in the future.
Oh, and we used to write plays together, when we were teenagers. About boys, mostly. Those will NOT be seeing the light of day.
Thanks to the late great Freddie Mercury for the title of this post.