My best friend growing up was a total nutcase, well truth be told, she still is a nutcase. We met in the year we turned six, and today some twenty-seven years later, she turns 33. It’s odd to believe that a lifetime has passed since we first met, that we have somehow grown up along the way. I think back to the things we had in common, to the things that cemented our friendship at the tender age of five and half and can’t help but smile. For starters, both our mothers taught at the same school (and both were disciplinarians), we both had the same initial and surname (surely that meant we were sisters) and most importantly, we were both convinced that there was buried treasure hidden in her back yard.
A lot has changed in the last twenty-seven years, we’ve both seen heartache and loss. Our friendship has seen it’s share of strain and ugliness, but the one thing that has not changed (apart from the fact that I am still convinced of the treasure in her backyard), is the bond we share. It is a bond that we will always share. I had always been convinced that since I was a good three weeks older than her, that I was automatically her protector. I would fight with anyone who made her upset (and since she is a bit of cry baby, you can imagine I had my work cut out for me), I was, by default, her older sister. Of course, she did her fair share of protecting me as well. As a child, I was very literal, so when my mother told me that I could not come home unless I finished all the lunch that was packed for me, you best believe that I knew that my options were clearly defined. Either I find another place to live (I had checked around and none of my other friends were receptive to my plea for refugee status) or I somehow manage to eat all of my lunch. On a side note that is critical to the story, it is important to bear in mind that my mother thought it best to feed me like teenage rugby player, on most days I was sent to school with a lunchbox that could easily feed four. So, my best friend, always the sensitive one between the two of us, decided to help me out. We would sit under the shade of a tree after school and talk of the important things like what we would wear to the Brownies costume party while she bravely munched on my sandwiches, saving me from a fate no five-year-old wants to face.
Perhaps in the telling of this story, you would have come to realise more about my friend than the fact that I shared my lunch with her. Perhaps you will see that she loves easily, that she cares deeply, that really, with a friend like her by your side, even the scary things seem manageable. There are so many things that I will always admire about her- her ability to love, her strength, her sense of humour, how she has the ability to tell a cashier her entire life story. I know that she will always be my sister, this bond was forged too strong, no matter what comes our way. She will always be the one I hug too tightly, the one I laugh too loudly with. She will always be the one that understands me and the one that stood by me when I needed a friend. And today, on this day, I want to celebrate her birth, I want to celebrate having her and her special brand of nonsense in my life. I want to celebrate the joy, the happiness, the sadness that we’ve shared because this is just the beginning. I love you my friend, I love you for all that you are and for all that you aren’t.