Four little words. That’s all it took. What happened next inside a primary school playground, would start one of the most important relationships in my life.
‘Wanna be my friend?’ I asked. She was the new kid who had just moved to our school from Darwin. We were only eight and still listening to Michael Jackson and watching Family Ties on a Friday night. I rode a wonky green Raleigh twenty bike to school that had a piss stupid squeaky seat and embarrassed the shit out if me. She said things like dinky and doona, had a sprint on her that could rival a greyhound and could flick flack and backward walkover like a Russian gymnast. I had found my new best friend.
We grew up on the same street – our houses only about 200m apart and from that day on spent every afternoon, every weekend and almost every single holiday together.
I made her come to youth group with me on Friday nights, mostly because I had a crush on a guy who went there. She reluctantly tagged along, not because she wanted to learn about ‘all that stupid God shit’ but because she was my best friend. She probably hated every bloody minute of it, protesting that she’d never set foot inside a church before then.
We became blood sisters and I christened her in my back garden under the apple tree with the middle name she never had but always wanted. We never once had a single blue. Not ever. She had my back and just because she was tiny didn’t mean she couldn’t sink a decent left hook.
That little girl and me, we who went through everything together, from our first love to the birth of our babies, to saving me from the brink of destruction after grief, and she’s entire worlds more than just a friend.
In all our thirty-two years she’s been my one true constant always mending my heart or laughing in unison at life’s trivial shit. Never once letting me down, she’s my family made from love, instead of blood. God mummy to my son, twice my maid of honour and bearer of all my innermost secrets.
These days we don’t live on the same street or even in the same country but we talk every other day as if we still did.
Life has punched us both in the guts with some pretty horrific tragedy over the years but her love and compassion and loyalty and strength has got me over mountains. I could never ever have made it this far without her.
This week I flew back home to see the little version of Mini Driver who I asked to be my best friend a gazillion years ago. She turned forty and I was damned if I was gonna miss it. It’s been forever since I last saw her and we laughed about the shit we used to get up to when we were a coupl’a kids sun baking at the local community pool. So long in fact that three years has passed since I’ve been home. Thanks IVF and your wonderfully debilitating powers, you really know how to interfere with a girl’s life.
I’d been sneaky and found out she’d be having lunch at her local food court. When I sidled up beside her and wrapped my arm round her shoulders I think her brain didn’t register if it was real. Soon enough, her smile, covered with tears from the both of us was enough.
It had been the best 48-hour trip eeeever.
Thank you for being the jam in my doughnut…the best bestie a girl could ever have…lov n hugs Lady MamaG xox