Final Days . . .

I am at Heathrow Airport waiting to board my plane where I will fly across the Atlantic on my own. – Well I’m Dublin-bound first and then on to Boston.

I have been spending the last month wrapping up my time at work, seeing friends and family, and organising my things to pack (I now hate packing).

Monday night I went to the theatre with one of my best school friends, S, to see a favourite play of ours that we had performed together during our A-Levels. (S described the fact that this play was unexpectedly being performed on the exact date we had chosen to say goodbye to each other before my travels as Fate!) It was perfect.

Before seeing the play S and I went for coffee and then for our Pre-Play ritual (established before seeing the same play we were going to see that night in York six years ago) of cocktails.

I hadn’t seen S for a few months so our catch-up was packed with gossip on both sides. I explained to her about my time in Spain for A’s wedding – A, myself and S being members of our close 5-person friendship group in school – to which S was horrified at my time there and also in hysterics at my storytelling.

As mentioned in my last post I had lost myself in the last year. Something S (who has never been one to tell anything but the direct truth to your face even during our awkward teenage years) was all too aware of during our catch-up.

She listened to my epiphany-moment stories (as I like to call them) and after I had finished speaking told me with a beautiful smile that she was glad to have me back; something I almost cried at hearing.

S has known me since the first year of High School. However it wasn’t until four years into our high school experience that we become close.

The exact moment I knew I had an incredible friend came during a typically dramatic High School moment in our common room where I was in the middle of an argument with a girl that I had fallen out with. S and I were friends and in the same friendship group at this point but we were not close. We had been thrust together in a Performing Arts assignment but had not established a close friendship in the slightest; to be honest her frank honesty and confidence at times scared my teenage-self.

It was during the argument with the other girl when our friendship suddenly solidified and S became one of my best and most consistently loyal friends to date.

When another girl joined in the argument against me I was ready to defend myself further when, from behind me, S immediately stepped forward and stood herself next to me, she then proceeded to defiantly defend me against this new attack. I was blindsided and simply watched in awe as this girl I barely knew behaved as my most loyal protector and took charge. She explained, fairly, to the second girl that this argument was between myself and the first girl and had nothing to do with either herself (S) or the second girl, however she would not stand by and watch me being attacked two against one and therefore the second girl jumping in had made S jump in.

I had never had anyone but my sister ever jump in to defend me in the heat of the moment. To this day S is the only person that has ever done this for me.

I was bullied a lot through both primary and secondary school and therefore defending myself in arguments became a common occurrence for my school years. I had needed to look after myself so often I had no doubts I could defend myself, and having never had anyone step in for me before I had never expected it.

S undoubtedly became one of the most important people to me after that day. My friendship with her was fun, silly, filled with laughter more than any other friendship I have had, and it was secure. I had found possibly the truest friend I have ever known.

I don’t see S often. But when I do see her nothing changes. She is still S and I am still me. She treats me as she has always treated me since our school days; with complete respect and love.

Monday night was no exception to our experiences together. We spent our time embraced in hysterical laughter, tears, hugs, and silly comments and stories.

During our Pre-Play cocktails S handed me a small gift and a card for my travels. My gift was a guardian angel pin – to which I cried when opening. But it was the card that really caught me. The most caring and true words written with so much love that I again burst into tears (S is very used to my emotional state, as I am known as one of the most emotional people my friends know). She even stated during one of her stories “I’m sure you would remember me telling you this because YOU would cry!” as she was attempting to remember where in our storytelling lives we had last left-off on. True to form she told me and I cried – in my defence I am more emotional than usual given that I am leaving for six months, plus it was a really emotional story!

Friends like S do not come along often enough in life.

I am now awaiting my gate number to my adventure beginning. With friends covering my back each step of my life’s journey, and only a Video Chat away, I am the happiest I have ever been looking at my future.

I have incredible people in my life, each with his or her own incredible story to tell in my life story already, and now I am about to open the gate to new friendships, new experiences, new prospects, and a new but still the same ME.

Only time will tell what the next six months brings me.

Smiling as I type this; I cannot wait to find out . . .

Happily

xxHBxx

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