When I was a kid I spent most of my time on my own. In my own imaginary world and it was full of make belief. When I went to school I walked home for lunch every day. Pretty much by the time I walked home it was almost time to go back. Just time to eat my sandwich. I came home because I always felt awkward at lunchtime. In lessons I was ok. I was clever and could do the work. Teachers liked me because I just flew under the radar and was no trouble and also I was very polite and kind.
But at lunchtime in the moments of group activity, the picking of teams and chatting I felt like I didn’t fit. And I hated that feeling so much. I was happier spending a lunchtime walking by myself through the woods taking me back home if just for a moment.
I had one proper friend. JH. Complete tomboy, played football with the boys, also a bit of a misfit. She became my friend. I camped in her back garden with midnight feasts and played with her baby rabbits. I loved going round her house. I pretended that I lived there. She never came to mine. It was very rare for anyone to come to ours and I never had a party. But I did get invited to a few.
Even though my friend did not. I remember once that she had a moment where everyone suddenly loved her one day. I came walking back into school and they were playing bulldog. And everyone wanted to be in her team and she didn’t talk to me. It only lasted for that day I don’t remember the reason why but I do remember in that moment I was so jealous which was not a feeling I had really.
It was like they all had each other, all part of the In gang but that wasn’t enough for them. They had to have my one friend too. Funny the things we remember.
We were friends till the end of little school. We went to different secondary schools. We said we would stay friends forever but we drifted apart. But years later when I was in my twenties she got in touch with me. Her parents had just split up and she was so upset. And she said to me she knew how I must have felt when I was a kid and she loved having me as her best friend. She said it was like we were twins. She said she always felt different. She realised at secondary school that she was gay. She wished I had been in her school then too.
We spoke a couple of times after and then we drifted back to our own lives again but I think of her often.
I listened to her mainly when she rang. She was feeling a lot and even after all that time I still felt connected to her. But I never told her that she saved me from extreme loneliness and how much I loved having her as a friend. That I thought of her like my twin. And that in our little sleeping bags in our tiny tent in her garden at night I never felt so safe. ❤️