It was an unexpected Facebook message which read, “Hello! Hope all is as well as can be. I am going to be in South Africa from 4th to 8th August (work-related) and I will be in JHB on 4th and 5th August near Melrose Arch. If you can spare a coffee or quick meal, I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to see you both!” OMG! One of my best friends from high school was coming from Portugal to SA!
The last time I saw Vicky was when my parents bought me a plane ticket to Portugal for my 21st birthday 18 years ago. Our only contact since then had been via Facebook. So I was incredibly nervous as my other best friend from high school and I sat on the couch waiting for her to come down and meet us in the hotel reception. What would we say? How would it all go down?
As I saw her, I could not control my tears! And in those first few minutes, all we did was stare at one another and hug and stare and giggle. It was so surreal. We had aged but still felt like teenagers looking into each other’s eyes.
Later, as we sat around baskets of dim sum, the emotions flicked between moments of uncontrollable laughter to those of intense sadness. The storytelling went from exotic travel destinations, new inventions on to tales of separation and death.
It’s weird. It felt like yesterday that we were strolling around the school corridors but here, 18 years later, each one of us had or is living through some of the toughest times of our lives. Comforting one another seemed natural and instinctive.
A lot happens in 18 years. We grew up. I never would’ve thought that I’d be sitting around a table chatting to my best friends from school about what I had planned for my 40th birthday. Crazy!
Pals, thanks for a wonderful evening of reminding me what great friendship is all about. You guys are awesome! X