A couple of weeks ago, I treated my best friend of 34 years to a weekend away. CG and I have been friends for so long now, we’ve really become sisters. I think of her as family. She’s more important to me than just about anyone. She’s always been there for me and I can always trust her to support and believe in me.
When we were seven years old, her family built a house on my street. Long story short, we became neighbours and best friends in a very short space of time. We saw each other every day, went to school together (our Mums took it in turns to take us to school and pick us up), and then hung out together every afternoon.
In truth, we were, at least superficially, very different people. I was short and awkward, clumsy and hated sport. CG was tall and athletic, captain of the sports team, good at everything. She was fashionable and pretty, I was dorky and a bit clueless where clothes were concerned. But we bonded over books and toys, music and a love of tadpoling. We shared hobbies and interests, celebrity crushes and talked about everything under the sun.
I’d never met another kid who knew how to play. I didn’t have to explain the concept of playing “shop” or “detectives” or anything else. She knew how to do voices for her Barbie doll and didn’t feel silly doing it. She was happy to play with baby dolls and Star Wars figures equally. We built cubby houses together and miniature cities for snails (not one of our best ideas, I have to admit) and dressed our dolls in clothes made from scraps of fabric or tiny sweaters knitted with fine wool on toothpicks. I had my first proper tea party with her and countless sleepovers. We sang and danced in my lounge-room with my brother and stayed glued to our radios at night, listening to the Top Ten countdown of chart hits. We watched “Grease” approximately a million times. We cried when Johnny Depp’s character was wrongly convicted and sent to jail in “21 Jump Street”. We stuck posters on our walls and wrote in our diaries and talked about boys.
In year eight, we went to separate high schools. I thought my world had ended. I was lost and frightened and lonely and felt sure all my primary school friends would forget about me. But not CG. If anything, we were even closer and now had even more to talk about. We still saw each other most afternoons and started the process of growing up and changing and navigating the trials of teenage-hood. Throughout high school we remained best friends, even though we had our own separate groups of buddies in our own respective schools. I was very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends, that I am still close to to this day. But CG was always by best friend.
Fast forward a couple of decades and here we are – still best friends but with different lives and trials and realities. CG got married quite young, to her high-school sweetheart (luckily, I approved of him, much to her relief) and went on to have two gorgeous kids. I did the opposite and got married 15 years later, divorced and remained childless. But we are still close. I often say we have nothing in common but, truthfully, we have one major thing in common : each other. Our core values are the same and I think our hearts beat to pretty much the same rhythm. Our mothers have remained firm friends over the years and have moved away from each other, only to very quickly move to the same neighbourhood, just streets apart. My Mum sees CG as another daughter, and I know CG’s Mum feels the same way about me. We all see each other at Christmas – usually spending Christmas Eve or Christmas night together. It’s been that way since I can remember.
So, this weekend was a celebration of that bond. We hardly ever get to spend time together these days. CG works extremely hard at two jobs, plus she has to coordinate the sporting and social arrangements of her children, one of whom competes at a National level in her chosen sport. It’s not easy for us to find a window of time that can be spent together. I wanted to spoil CG and give her a relaxing break and enjoy some time together, like the old days. This was also a gift for her 40th birthday (which was in December) – I figured the thing she needed more than anything was a rest and some indulgence.
We stayed at the Hotel Rendezvous in Scarborough, overlooking the ocean. The view was lovely, even if it was too cold to actually go out on the beach itself. We watched the (crazy) surfers out there on the water and enjoyed the sunset. We went out to dinner and ate our bodyweight in desserts. We stayed up late talking and catching up, in our PJs of course, just like we would have done 30 years ago. We drank tea and relaxed and bemoaned our ever-increasing age (although we think we look pretty ok for two women in their forties) and slept in. We went to a movie and had afternoon tea (there was a lot of food involved in this weekend – can you tell?) and a delightful couple of hours in IKEA looking at all the pretty things we wanted to buy but didn’t really need.It was so nice just to hang out together with nowhere to be and no one to bother us.
I am so lucky to have had a lifelong friend and I hope we will always be close, no matter where life takes us.
To CG, I will say this : Thank you for always being my friend, through all the ups and downs, through boyfriends and heartache, from childhood to adulthood and beyond, through weight gain and weight loss, from illness to health, babies and career changes – I love you lots and wish you nothing but happiness and contentment all the days of your life.
With love xxx