(This prompt was inspired by a suggestion from la chica de la burbuja — thanks!)
(Small aside – la chica does a little dance of joy ! )
Anyway – best friends…
At school this was something that everybody had – as every day as a pencil case – and if you did not have one, well…
I am not sure how the girl who was my best friend for 4 years in primary school became my best friend aka H. She was a lovely girl who was diabetic and played the cello. She used to eat KitKats at 11:00 everyday. I think that is the reason why during my university days I ate a KitKat after my afternoon lectures. I do not think that I ever went to her house for tea as children did in those days. The purpose of a best friend? I think at that time in junior school it meant that I always had somebody to sit next to in class (as long as you were not separated by ability, surname or some other distinction) it meant that she would always chose me for her team during PE. She would always fight my corner and defend me to the bitter end, whenever girls became girls and started short lived cliques. And of course vice versa. And of course I always had a ‘second best friend’ – the deputy. I have not seen H for many years now but Facebook has allowed us to peak in on each other’s lives. She has two lovely children and she continues to look amazing.
I went to a different secondary school to my best friend from primary school. In secondary school, I became best friends with an amazing girl aka P. She was tall, funny and intelligent. We would walk home from school together everyday and talk about everything that pertained to the lives of teenage girls. She was a good source of advice for the socially naive adolescent that I was. The thing I loved best about our walks home – her singing! She has a wonderful voice and she loved to sing. I haven’t seen her for some time now but we keep in touch via Facebook and rare text messages. She has two beautiful daughters who are in their different ways the spitting image of her when I know her as a teenager.
Then came ‘A’ levels and the concept of a best friend fizzled out really. I was focused on exams and getting into medical school. Also at that stage I seemed to be excluded from the realm of exclusive relationships mainly because my social life was severely curtailed. Therefore I struggled to partake in the post party-, youth club- gossip and ‘recommendations’ . It also became very clear to me at that time that I was a bit of a loner, more an observer rather than a participant.
University started 20 years ago and I met the three people that I would consider one of my current best friends. Two of them and are now both mothers of two and work as psychiatrists. How did they become my best friends – alphabetical accident. But our friendships has lasted. The other person is who I would consider the male equivalent of me – quirky but loveable.
Then I left university and qualified as a doctor and moved jobs every 6 months so it was hard to see friends regularly but we all made good efforts. In my last stretch of training I met a wonderful paediatrician who I would spend hours talking to on the phone and at work. She has so much love and wisdom to give. She two is a mother of two beautiful children who call me “Aunty Francesca” , offer hugs and streams of chatter.
So I seem to have accumulated best friends over time. People who I cherish and love. Friendships that seem to have endured over time. Friends that are there for me at different and difficult times. I hope I am as good a friend to them as they are too me. In comparison to my school days – none of my friends live in London so I do not see or hear from them everyday. Sometimes we might not speak for months and then just pick up the phone and pick up where we left off. Or there will be the meetings where they or are will be ‘in the area’ and we just have a impromptu meal or drink.
Or share in good news
I don’t think there can be one person whose friendship matters the most. Different people mean different things at different times but all maintain importance. We move so much these days for family and work reasons that by definition new friendships are made and old friendships evolve into something different while still remaining special.