The stars aligned the other night and I managed to have dinner sans children or menfolk with three of my dearest friends. It was wonderful and bloody awful. As friendships go I suppose we’ve all lasted the test of time and weird phases involving distant lands and partner choice since finishing high school and going off on our separate trajectories. Always orbiting the other, sometimes lining up for a brilliant eclipse when the rest of the world darkens and we can look at each other and say: “I See You. I Hear You. I Know You.” A moment of absolute beauty. But like all lining-up-of-great-celestial-things, breaths were held and a moment of anxiety, of feeling small and helpless and frightened for a world lived in was had.
Oh, it wasn’t something out of a Housewives Of Blah Blah: there were no glasses of water thrown or angry words about some perceived slight. No one got up and walked away in disgust. But it was heart wrenching in spots. And it has left me feeling both recharged and spent.
There was talk of careers on the up and of those fading away to stupid (no prizes for guessing the latter), love at its peak and at its absolute polar opposite, of health, of triumphs and gothic-like tribulations. It was beautiful, terrible and awful and that is what catching up with your old friends is if you leave it too long in between.
A total solar eclipse achieves such fanfare and fear because it is so rare. It would certainly be less of a news item on Facebook if it happened every other week or even month. That’s why this meeting of friends was so resolutely, eye wateringly poignant: it had been far too long since we’d sat down together and said “I See You, I Hear You, I Know You.”
The last moment, over six months prior, had been a four day binge of cups of tea, glasses of champagne and endless cheese and chocolate all completely unfettered from life at home (Click here for more on that awesome Ladies Only Trip). We could get beyond “How are you?” and move back into being friends who laughed about unimportant things like “WTF are possum gloves and why are you buying them?” We could enjoy each other’s company and remember why we’d persevered through all the shit and drama of each other’s lives for the past 25 years: because these chicks KNOW me, just like I KNOW them and we KNOW each other.
But you know what, it’s really bloody hard to do all that KNOWing in a few hours while a noisy numnut with a guitar plays and the place decides that no, they won’t stay open past 10:30pm and could you ladies get the hell out now because we all need to go home and no we don’t care that it’s been six months since you saw each other last. In this situation, you only get crude, raw facts without any ability to process or offer anything beyond an ear and a quick hug or high five: it is not in any way satisfying.
To that end, we’ve locked in a weekend long get together every couple of months- not dinners of a few hours, entire weekends. We must have been drunk when we did this too because everyone’s kids can come along to these catch ups (I guess that just means more wine will need to be brought along with muzzles and chains. Ha! Jokes. I think I might bring gin as well). Hopefully it will be equal parts ‘How Are You?’ and ‘Still Got Those Possum Gloves *snigger*’.
Do you have a group of friends you love to see but rarely do? How do you get around distance and schedules? And do those catch ups live up to your expectations?