I know who my friends are.
They’re the ones who, even though I now live on the other side of the planet, still spare a daily thought for me, as I do for them.
The ones whose emails and phone calls remain with me – whether their import is happy or sad, content or troubled – and keep me company during my day.
One of my dearest old friends sent me an email and then left me a phone message last night which upset and worried me deeply. Not because she said or wrote anything mean – she wouldn’t – but because she is really struggling. She’s a full-time Mum with three children under the age of 5, a house which is about to undergo major renovations, a husband whose work takes him away a lot, a Mother-in-Law who… well, let’s just say the MIL isn’t helping, and a family whose expectations are preposterous.
She says she’s a bad mother and that she’s not coping, that although she loves her kids she’s got to the point where she doesn’t actually like them. And I can hear in her voice that she is trying SO HARD not to cry, to be cheerful, to comment on my news and ask after my family that it breaks my heart.
Here follows a small tribute to some of my truest and most dear ‘out of sight but not out of mind’ friends:
Alex, Claire, Ed, Fran, Jools, Oliver B, Olly C, Plum, Sam, Sezbat, Tabitha, Tamsin, Townie. I love you and I miss you all.