Standing daydreaming at the station in the early morning sunshine, I didn’t see you at first. It was such a surprise when you said hello. Oh my goodness taken back so many years in an instant! You hadn’t changed a bit, not one bit. I had: from brunette to grey, from slim to, well, not so slim. Yet you recognised me.
Funny that. Funny how 30, probably 40, years can slip away and memories flood back.
We were the best of friends, so close that people thought we were gay. That used to make us laugh: if only they knew. We were friends of a different nature, bound close together by shared experiences. Drinking, chasing men, men chasing us, just having fun. When I look back now, I can’t believe what we used to get up to.
I guess I didn’t smile when you approached me. I’m sorry, my eyesight’s had got a lot worse over the years. I wish it weren’t so: I hate getting old.
You looked so well. Always striking, at 6 feet, people were never going to ignore you. A veritable Amazon who delighted in wearing heels “just because I can”. You never did take prisoners did you? I learned so much by being your friend. I also saw how a lot of your chat was to hide your vulnerability and shyness. I guess you had no choice but to be loud and proud because, my goodness, nobody was going to pass you by. Your beauty (still there) stunned many who came in contact with you, and that included me.
Of course, we talked and talked as the London train came in. The journey passed in a flash of laughter. No doubt our fellow passengers hated us by the time we reached Waterloo. But what a joy to see you. Such a joy!
I am so glad we had that fun. We never touched on those dark parts, which there always are, until we reached the ticket barrier.
“How’s Dan” you asked.
The one thing – no person – that had come between us. I couldn’t speak. How did you not know about Dan? It had been all over the papers and television. I remembered why our friendship had faltered and failed. Even though we had been friends, it had always been about you. So why should I have expected you to know that Dan had died only a few months ago?
For that moment, I hated you. And then you hugged me hard, so hard that I thought I would break. The dark thoughts disappeared as I realised why you’d asked: you needed to touch that darkness once more to get to the light.
You had always known about Dan, hadn’t you? That’s why you appeared today. Even after all these years, you knew. Dan had always said you’d turn up again. He was right. You came when I needed you most. Thank you.
Together we took a cab to St Paul’s for his memorial service, friends once more.