Friday, 9 September 2016
At the weekend I lost a close friend to cancer. Next week is her funeral and I have busied myself with train tickets and plans to meet people and rearranging dental appointments because ticking stuff off on a list is so much easier than thinking about what it means, about facing the black hole in my life. And then at odd times I remember moments from our past, like movie flashbacks, and for those seconds it's like she's still here. So I can't make sense of it but I can remember. Here are some of the highlights:
1. The time we drank a bottle apiece of cheap prosecco at a work pub quiz and decided, at 11 on a work night, to go to the local nightclub (Eros, I kid you not) and drag her unsuspecting and sober sister and my unsuspecting and sober husband with us.
2. The time I made her get two kittens because the rejected one looked lonely and I was pregnant and VERY hormonal and cried.
3. The time I phoned her on the way to the airport to beg her to record a new TV series for me and thus got her addicted to Alias and more importantly to Agent Vaughan.
4. The time I moved into a new flat and she cleaned the filthy kitchen and bathroom because I was pregnant and they made me gag.
5. Curling up with her and my then 5yo on a sofabed on a snowy night when she was exhausted from chemo to watch Hannah Montana the Movie and Twilight.
6. A year later taking the same daughter on a fairground ride that looked innocuous and ended up flying at top speed round and round, helpless with laughter whilst clinging on to said child for dear life.
7. Crying over Buffy. A lot.
8. Cutting my hair and she knew INSTANTLY that it was a Buffy bob (season 6).
9. Heading to hers for a long weekend and somehow finding ourselves getting up at 5am to stand on Whitehall and watch Kate Middleton marry Prince William. I'm still not sure how she persuaded us...
10. Being proper London tourists the next day with a boat ride down the Thames and a tour of the Tower,
11. Jugs of cocktails after work.
12. Dinner in the Eiffel Tower.
13. When she sat next to Joss Whedon at a play and asked him if Buffy and Angel were ever going to get together...
14. Her 26th birthday when she sobbed on me all the way back from a club because she was so old.
15. Writing Sherlock the Black Kitten and Jasper the hairdressing horse when we probably should have been working...
She was one of my closest friends almost from the day we met. I'm not a demonstrative person and it took that first diagnosis for me to tell her I loved her. Then it became normal, a sign off to a text or a phone call. It's not something I say to many people, daughter and dog excepted, but it probably shouldn't take the prospect of losing someone to force the words out. We should make the most of our friends while we can. And make sure we're not too caught up in life to stop making memories because they're the things we cling to when the rest is gone. Thank you for fifteen years of a brilliant friendship, Jo. I love you.