It is a soggy Sunday morning but a calm one. The October morning sun is casting its pale light across all things, soothing nature from yesterdays indignant weather. This is a moment of bliss, and my intention is to keep it that way. This process of literary expression needs to be organic I have decided, not forced. So, I have remained observant of events and conversations around me since last we communed. I have remained mindful of my thoughts and reflections and this morning I realise the message is friendships.
There is, it seems a common thread most of us experience with friendships, a kind of ‘warp and weft’ effect. When I cast my mind back, I can recall countless people who I have been friends with but that later have fallen away due to things like moving house, big life changes such as divorce, illness or big new commitments and occasionally falling out. That said, I do remember them and when I think about those friendships, I recall how perfect they were for me at the time.
There was one friend I spent a good deal of time with when I was living in London. We were both ex-military and married to squaddies. We were living on the same ‘patch’ (estate). We both had toddlers of a similar age and often met in each-others houses for coffee and to let our kids play. She was a horsey person and married to a Cavalry man. She was more ‘Hello Magazine’ than ‘Horse and Hounds’ if you catch my drift. There was a free-spirited wildness about her that left me dumbfounded at times, but she made the most awesome roast potatoes. She was not without her challenges, but she took them all in her stride. She was excessively endowed in the chest region and had arranged for a breast reduction while I knew her. She had it done and just kind of got over it like she had returned a dodgy pack of knickers to M&S. She was hilarious too; she was usually laughing at herself and the utter cluster f*cks she got herself into at times.
We did our best to stay in touch but… well, life. She was a welcome relief for me when I was far from home with no support as a young mum, I felt like a stranger in a strange land and she grounded me.
She was a weft friend and travelled across my lifeline for a time, sprinkling roast potatoes as she went.
There was the weft friend who’s hubby was a bandsman and tried to teach me circular breathing, the couple who were druids and invited me to join their grove and the friend who asked for a spell for a good army posting and got it. She reported some weeks later that whilst sunbathing on the beach, she noticed a nonchalant tarantula sauntering by her sunbed, she leapt from her sunbed and sprayed it with ‘roach spray. She said it seemed mildly perturbed but that was about it.
These people are still my friends as they are woven into my past and have there for added to the richness of the weave.
Then there are the friends who are part of the weft and run alongside you. They seem to have been chosen by you or for you somehow. They are the ones who have a familiarity to them, whose lives often run along similar paths, who know you so well that they can detect what is being communicated in our silence on the phone. They bring reassurance, a felt understanding and a pure acceptance of the who and the what that makes us, us. I am lucky enough to have one of those and I know the experience is reciprocated. The beauty of it is, its effortless.
There are those friendships you thought were warp and begin in the same effortless way but for a variety of reasons start to become difficult. I’ve experienced this also. For me I think a chasm grew between us. We began on the same ground, but I stepped forward and developed. I wanted to know more, see more, do more and the chasm grew. Meanwhile a resentment grew in her that at times was palpable. I tried to ignore it and I found myself stepping on eggshells for the sake of our friendship’s legacy until one day I needed to just be the me I had become. Needless to say, the judgement call was made and the weft broke. That one needed repairing and a knot betrays the perfection of the weave.
Even this though, as hard as it was, tells me how far I’ve come from that first step. Sure, it has a knot, but this is no shop bought product, this is hand-made honey! It has character and depth; intricate details and unique textures and every single thread has played its part in making this what it is.
I have made new friends, ones that know me now and they help me to see that the progress I’ve made is good and that I’m OK. They come from a place of love, they are authentic intelligent and fierce! Again, I am blessed!
For me this weave is now a big poncho with a hood, bell sleeves and deep pockets to shove my hands into when British weather is at its best. Its all colours but the colours at the top are much brighter than those around the hem. It’s thick and it grows with me. I made it what it is by being who I am. The friends I’ve had, have, and yet to have, weave their wyrds with mine and some become my chosen family, and I theirs.