The sun hangs low in the sky like a big fat pumpkin. It makes a dramatic exit from the day, staining the sky pink and orange. I sit on the grass by the creek to welcome the evening. Cicadas hum, mosquitos quietly buzz. The birds chirp their dusk songs as they retire for the night. I take a sip of wine and wait for the sky to put on its dark blue dress and glittery bling. I’m tranquil … until a conversation from the morning strikes me.
Him (a strong Australian accent): How long did ya live in the UK?
Me (reflective): 15 years … I’ve been back for 18 months.
Him (face scrunched up in distaste): You don’t miss it, do ya?
Me (nodding): Desperately.
Him (incredulous): Really?! Why??!! Why would anyone wanna live in Pommy-land?
Me (smiling): I miss my friends.
Him: Why don’t you make new ones? Aussie’s are better anyway – no one likes the Poms. This is the best country in the world!!
The exchange burns in my brain. His words have left me sad.
I look up. The milky way glows and illuminates the sky. The night has arrived.
Stars shine brightly in lonely places. Neon lights and crowds of people scare them away from cities. But in the country, when the world is asleep, they creep out.
Venus pops forward first with a sharp, bright burst … a theatrical attention seeker. Her confidence entices her sparkly friends to join her, and one-by-one they arrive. Stars and planets smiling brightly, unashamedly happy.
With the arrival of the sky-glitter, I visualise my friends on the other side of the world. They and the sun have risen from their beds. My physical surroundings are serene and isolated, theirs is hectic and swarming with bodies.
In my mind I see them on their way to work. I hear the opening of the tube doors, and the woman’s voice reminding them to “Please mind the gap”. My friends are full of energy, thoughts racing, ideas coming. James gets angry as people push in front of him to get on the train. Helen is suppressing a smile at the man who tripped in front of her and pretended it hadn’t happened. They’re stimulated by the things they’re reading. The collective intellect, creativity … and irritation is tangible in London’s morning rush.
My heart swells fondly as I picture my friends’ faces and imagine the sound of their laughter. They’re a mixed group, but they all share sharp minds and quick wits.
One of them is searching for new friends, “Just two people I need Simone, one male and one female. How hard can that be”?!
Real friends are hard to find, make, and sustain. Friends who know your backstory, with whom you have shared experiences, shared values, common interests, and equal strengths.
Seinfeld knew the challenges of making new friends. You can be stuck with the ones you’ve got. Thankfully I’m very pleased with my little bunch.
The peaceful night is interrupted by my phone beeping. It glows with tweets, whatsapps, and emails. Slowing at first, like the first stars of the night. Then fast. My friends are up, out, and happy. And they’re winking at me.
It’s time for me to go home. The mosquitos are biting … though they’re less irritating than my morning conversation. And probably more intelligent.