I am over excited as I dial Suzanne’s number in South Africa. We were thick as thieves in London before romance completely dictated our lives. And then came the babies and then came the moves to separate continents.
She has a very mild South African accent and I wonder when my Aussie one will kick in. We haven’t spoken for five whole years. She calls me ‘Annie’, I call her ‘Zannie’ and that will never change.
I can’t believe she is 44. That makes me 46! To me she will always be in her mid twenties with me cruising forever at 27. On her Facebook photos she hasn’t changed a bit and her figure is as enviable as it ever was. I forget to mention the time when she arrived in a black bikini top and shorts to watch my almost boyfriend (who is now my husband) play Aussie Rules on Clapham Common . None of the players could concentrate on the game and they lost!
She was the one driving my mini Metro when my almost boyfriend first got in it. I sat next to him in the back and she and a random Australian male sat in the front. They got out to check out a party and I turned and said ‘Shall we get out or shall we kiss?’
I was adopted by the Australians in London, and then I stole the best one to take travelling around the world. Whilst I was away, she snuggled up to the London based South African fraternity and on the day we arrived back, engaged from our odyssey, she had just that night hooked up with a new crowd who would be her friends for life. Then while I was making Anglo-Aussie babies she was clubbing and bringing me photos in the back of one of those new-fangled digital cameras. Suddenly she got pregnant with her daughter and we were in the same boat again.
We talk about how we packed up and left our favourite city for a better upbringing for our children. I left first. I remind her that one of the reasons we left was because my oldest had hearing difficulties and the class that she was about to join had 35 four and five year olds. In Australia we joined a class of 6 children and she could hear everything. Suzanne apologises for not being more understanding at the time but I don’t know what she is saying sorry for, she was always a good friend and we were often both frazzled from the pace of the city.
She moved to be near to the father of her daughter but maintained a separate life. Now she is married to a hunk six years younger (of course she is), has a son and she and the fathers of both babies get on like a house on fire. Her friend who is a divorce lawyer tells her that she uses Suzanne’s situation, with everyone muddling along happily, as an example to divorcing couples. ‘Get over your shit and get on with your life’ she tells them.
Suzanne has been helping the father of her eldest choose a flat. They all rocked up for a tour of an apartment with the two guys, Suzanne and young family and the agent had to stop them half way through the viewing to say ‘I’m confused.’ They explained and she said ‘How refreshing!’
We talk at length about the decisions we have made over the years, the people we were and the people we have become. We talk about the loss of both her parents and the loss of my Dad.
I say to her ‘The only ‘thing’ we really have in life is time and the only ‘things’ we really remember are friends.’ She tells me to write that down.