Flames and Storms
Edited by Lizzie Rose
Lost earrings, white duvets, and ripe peaches : a friendship that makes a woman
I must apologise that this letter finds its way to you only after five years. There is a bit of irony that all I ever wrote are occasional post-its and birthday poems for you. Few short words will always shake up the core of your being more than an ode to your existence ( and no, I won’t write you one). Indigo, the cursor keeps blinking and my mind races back to the beginning, a friendship formed in between the grey plastered walls and on blue laminated kitchen floors of Max Rayne House. I remember you gasping for air, a stream of tears going down rosy cheeks from laughter. Hands covered in charcoal, a piece of artwork that might barely meet the deadline. The golden earrings laid forgotten on the desk, and we miss Bus 29, yet again. I miss the chaos, and the way you made our bellies hurt with your brutally sharp, witty sentences.
It was a world of nineteen-year-olds founded in the belief of our very own greatness and maturity, before being able to admit their hearts were bleeding from first heartbreaks and life-slaps. As many know, friendships come in all its shapes and lengths, yet seldom help you find yourself. Our friendship, with its highs and lows, annoyances, and gentleness, brought me closer to the essence of my very own being. When there is no need to impress or prove oneself, who are you, truly? When the bar closes and chairs are pulled up, who do you want to sit beside you, on the sidewalk?
In my memory, you exist not as an image or a sentence, but a feeling – you were someone that could calm the raging storm, or awaken a fire when needed. You wouldn’t let me hesitate. Since living with you, I became more determined, I weighed my thoughts more. I remember peace as we roam across the RA gallery, each gliding across the white marble at our own pace. The bubbling of effervescence, and you dragging me into another house party. The mellowness in the air, as you and your mind hid underneath your cloud-like duvet, and I wondered when you’ll resurface. In stillness and in motion, we followed each other’s pace.
That’s a difficult art to master, knowing what kind of support another person might need. You knew when to coddle me. Most importantly, you have the impeccable precision of calling my bluffs, waiting for the silences and hurt between the melodic spiel about another day. Thank you for that, for becoming a pro at it. I could always count on your honesty, yet this never awakened any meanness or brutality within you (besides the traybake incident). In a city where everything was fleeting, from people, and places, and interests, to promises and future plans, you were my certainty.
As an only child, I will never innately know the meaning of having a sibling; but if the annoyance and lovingness you have for me can attest to it, then I could grasp the idea. Now, before you dwell up tears in your eyes, let me tell you what I’ve learned from our friendship.
Someone else’s happiness can mean just as much as your own.
Stretching yoga cats (aka cheeky bastards) indicate a high level of genius and humour, and if one cannot laugh at yoga cats, well, do you need them in your life?
Be patient with your pain, and with those of others.
If there is respect and care in a friendship, there is never a space for resentment to fester. Honesty is an act of kindness, not a hidden blade in one’s sleeve.
Peaches taste sweeter when shared in warm weather, and remembering that sun and peaceful silences with you resemble the golden patchwork of life.
You will always be the superior cook.
I know there will always be a seat for each of us at our respective family tables (Christmas in June and/or Montenegrin christening parties not included in the offer).
My beloved friend, my sister, my guide – thank you. For a friendship that is simple. For a friendship that has allowed us both to grow, on our own and with other people, yet distance has not severed the bond, and calls have never ceased. For still involving me in your life, although we have lived in different countries for a while. For knowing the names of crushes, new colleagues, and new friends. For continuing to still surprise me, and for being the kind of weirdo I am so unbelievably lucky to call mine.
With all my love and admiration,