I had lunch with three high school friends yesterday – Megan, Megz and Katherine. As we munched bruschetta we figured out we hadn’t been in the same room since year 9.
Together with another friend, Estelle – who I sadly lost touch with about a decade ago – we were the odd bod gang at school. I hope they’re not offended to be described that way, because I mean it as a compliment.
As “odd bods” (the term my dad used for my taste in quirky friends during his speech at my 21st birthday party) my friends weren’t the slightest bit interested in conforming – they were all proudly “different” and fiercely intelligent.
Two were church ministers daughters, one was the offspring of a maths whizz, the other battled for her identity in a strict religious sect called the Plymouth Bretheren … and then there was me … the mad redhead.
I’ve known Megz since pre-school. I have a very clear memory of her refusing to leave me alone when I was sick one day … And we’ve had an unbreakable bond ever since.
Katherine arrived on the scene around year 5, I think, with Estelle and Megan following in high school. Together we adored writing and sci-fi and books and flights of imagination.
Then health problems led Megan to study from home, Katherine moved to the Central Coast and Estelle was forced to leave school by her parents.
Intermittent contact continued, fuelled in recent years by Facebook, then somehow 30 years had passed. So I suggested it was high time we met for lunch.
We gathered at an Italian restaurant in Hamilton and hugged and laughed and talked our heads off.
Two hours wasn’t really enough to catch up on three decades, but we gave it a decent stab.
We vowed to do it again, much sooner next time, then I headed off to meet my friend Paul for an afternoon drink. Paul’s in Newcastle for a wedding – we’ve known each other about 25 years. He introduced me to my first bowl of laksa, bless him.
Wow, now there’s a day to make you feel old: meeting three friends for lunch who haven’t been together for three decades, then drinking with someone I’ve known for a quarter of a century … With a rather large non-overlap between …
I took Paul bar-hopping: Merewether Surfhouse, Coal & Cedar, The Lucky, some French place in an old sandstone bank, the Red Barron.
That’s an awful lot of prosecco now I come to think of it. I left Paul in a bar at 9.30pm with two fellow – female – bar hoppers called Sam and Charlotte, who cheerfully accused us of following them after we crossed paths for the third time.
My mum had offered me a lift home and I figured 9.30pm is about the latest you can ask a 72-year-old to tackle the mean streets of Newcastle on a Friday night.
Then I crawled into bed and tossed fitfully (next to the snoring nine-year-old) feeling dreadful due to a virus/prosecco glut. At one point I had this overwhelming desire to go and poke my mum awake and wail that I was siiiiiiiiiiick. But logic prevailed – there was nothing mummy could do for me, so I sucked a Strepsil and coughed myself gently to sleep.
Do you keep in touch with childhood friends?