Old friends are the best. The only other people you will know for so long are your family.
Old friendships require some magic. You can’t consciously choose them. They just happen. You never know who will walk through life with you for the entire journey and who will just play a bit part.
I’ve had intense friendships that I thought would last until the end of time, but instead faded, fizzled or burned for whatever reason.
Old friends are like sign posts on the peaks of life’s triumphs and tragedies, reminding you of who you are, who you were and who you’ve got the potential to be. Old friends keep you from getting lost in the wilderness.
This girl and I have taken very different paths, but always in an unexpected and treasured parallel.
We first met each other as five-year-old 80s kids – wearing chords, skivvies, knee-length boots and homemade haircuts featuring half a head of fringe.
The primary school days are a bit of a blur, but I can remember summers spent riding bikes to the local pool, chewing magic gum and sleepovers.
I loved sleepovers at other people’s houses,eating other people’s dinners and watching movies in other people’s lounge rooms. VHS players were pretty new, and only a few families had one - back when Beta was still a contender.
When we were 12 Polly’s mum took us and our other friend Sandy to the movies to see Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and Polly’s mum bought us all a bangle pen.
In high school we tried alcohol for the first time – sickly sweet UDL cans bought by friends with fake IDs, and drunk with pride at the speedway.
We were VIPs at each other’s 18th and 21st birthday parties.
We spent more than one summer at her family’s beach house - getting sunburnt, kissing boys and one time tripping as a storm rolled in.
We went to the same university and lived on campus together.
After uni we both ended up living in the UK – Polly studying at Cambridge, and me working and spending every penny on travel.
Life rolled on. Polly got married in a registry office in London. I eloped in Fiji.
I moved back to Melbourne, she moved back to Melbourne.
She got divorced, I got divorced.
We commiserated with each other, celebrated with each other, counselled each other, believed in each other.
And now that we are 40+ year olds, with half a lifetime of twists and turns between us, when we manage to be in the same location, it feels like we are still those kids who spent summers riding bikes, chewing gum and talking about boys.
When old friends are in town, promises be damned!