I wrote earlier that sometimes it takes a lifetime to know which of those magic meetings in life with significant others remain with us as platinum rings of eternity. Now, I think I may have been placing too much emphasis on the idea of endurance. For a start, I don’t have as many friends now as when I was younger. I’m more reclusive, more disillusioned and whereas I used to love talking on the telephone for hours I now dread it ringing and would far rather communicate arrangements in staccato, via text.
Since I wrote about friendship I have found myself recurrently thinking about two or three very important relationships in my adult life with whom I have now lost touch. Although they have become past chapters of my life, they are not, at least in my mind, closed. In two instances – where the relationships ended abruptly – and in one case no matter what I did to make reparation, I was powerless to heal the misunderstanding. In the other case, I was not generous enough to try, and now it is too late. In fact that is why I no longer enjoy talking on the phone, it reminds me of our almost nightly conversations that often simmered on the professional gossip of the day: who was in and who was out, for hours.
There are those critical friendships where one shared life-stages with a significant other. When I was younger, in contrast to now, these people were always women and it then felt as though I had a husband, the man I was and am married to, and a ‘wife’. And, it was with my ‘wife’, or maybe we were two witches, that we sifted through the vegetation of our children’s lives: their thread worms, nits and fevers. Looking back, I cannot recall any time when I was happier than when I pushed my firstborn in her pram across Primrose Hill with my ‘wife’ and we were entranced not just by our babes’ beauty but also by our own, it was a marvel, yes a marvelous love feist of motherhood and friendship. We shone as brightly as two stars in our psychidelia and patchouli.
What I am trying to say is that even when relationships have died – and for whatever reason – their memories vividly mark a chapter of our lives. I still remember not only my own, but my children’s long lost best friends as if it was yesterday. It is not, after all, I think the length of time that matters but the depth of loving, or come to that, hating.