Vague plans have been afoot between myself and a few friends for a little while, because 2015 is a landmark for us: we’ll have been friends for 10 years. For one reason or another, I don’t have many people outside of family who I’ve known for that long, and although we live in a world where it’s easier than ever to keep in touch, it also feels like it’s very easy to pull away from people, so I put huge value in the friends I’ve retained – I feel like it must be for a good reason.
I hadn’t heard from one friend of this circle for quite some time – this isn’t unusual for her, nor when you consider the fact that I’ve spent eight months of the past two years out of the country – until her husband tagged her in a post on Facebook two days ago. It was to announce the birth of their daughter. I’m not a broody or maternal kind of girl (unless you present me with 17hands of Warmblood, Thoroughbred or Trakehner, which is when my ovaries start making funny noises and my wretched bank account drools), but I burst into tears of joy over this one. Everyone has That friend, the one who they think deserves this more than any other; the one who has fought many battles, lost faith or hope and come close to not making it. But finally, through much adversity, this friend has made it. She has many new battles ahead of her, but I know that these will be happy ones.
As I drove to the yard to see Prince that morning, I couldn’t keep my friend and her daughter out of my mind. Although our contact can be sporadic, we’ve shared many experiences – adoration of a favourite band, whose reunion tour we attended; selection of our retirement hometown, thanks to a last-minute magical mystery tour; support of a beloved sporting hero in a fairly intimate and hilarious setting; her wedding, the reception of which she spent debating whether it was me or her hairdresser who would win the award for best legs on display (I’ve never been so flattered in my entire life).
There have been those moments when we’ve shared few words, but each has said to the other, “yes, I absolutely hear you. I feel that,” and one of the most profound incidences of this for me was when she shared with me a short story she had read. It’s a story I relate to heavily in parts, one which I return to time and again although I know parts of it through intuition. It reminds me of what it is – as I see it, anyway, because we all identify differently – to be a woman in a variety of ways, and what it is to have soul sisters.
Thank you, Clara, for sending me Sam Binnie’s The Dress. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, and here’s to friendship – dresses and things don’t always last, but memories and friendships can.