We have just spent two beautiful weeks on Stradbroke Island, in Moreton Bay off Brisbane.
We make the trek over the water every year. My sister and her family stay nearby, Mum and Dad and my brother are right next door and my aunty and uncle, cousins and their kids are just down the road. It’s all highly jolly and a really awesome family time.
Every year I particularly enjoy catching up with my cousin’s partner, Michelle. She is truly a special person. She radiates warmth and loving generosity. She’s a liberal thinker and is super-smart. And she has a great sense of humour.
Whenever we’re saying our goodbyes I think it’s sad I don’t get to see Michelle more often. But they live in northern New South Wales and, well, you know…life happens.
On the barge home, I was thinking of Michelle. And mulling over friendship in general.
I think friendship is sort of chameleon-like, with various faces, smells and melodies. I love how it inspires a wide range of emotions; how its malleable form fills the different-shaped gaps in your life; how friends appear randomly for unknown reasons; how absent friends can be the most poignant.
I have some lovely friends who I rarely see, but when we catch up, it’s like the time and space between us has evaporated. I saw one such beautiful friend before Christmas. Another lives in country Victoria and when I see her we always say, “Wish you lived down the road”. I have known one friend for over 25 years and I deeply value his cryptic mind and his scornful sense of humour, but if you saw us together we’d probably seem like the odd couple.
On the other hand, I have close friends who I see very often and they never lose their shine (like the irreverent, articulate Champagne Carolyn!).
Someone commented that I don’t let go of friends. I guess that’s true. But I am super sentimental. Each friend is so special and beautiful in their own way. They provide deep inspiration and I love they way each connection has a language of it’s own.
I couldn’t write an article about friendship without mentioning my absolute dearest friends, my sister and my husband. She is an angel. He is a rock. They are the funniest two people on the planet. Words can’t describe how lucky I am to be sandwiched in their awesomeness!
A truly beautiful and moving story of friendship is told by Patti Smith in her great memoir, Just Kids. Patti, ever so gently, details her deep life-long relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.
Patti writes, not long before Robert’s death, “He looked at me, his look of love and reproach. My love for him could not save him. His love for life could not save him. It was the first time I truly knew he was going to die. He was suffering physical torment that no man should endure. He looked at me with such deep apology that it was unbearable and I burst into tears. He admonished me for that, but he put his arms around me. I tried to brighten but it was too late. I had nothing more to give him but love.”
Maybe today would be a good day to give some love to a friend, don’t you think? What great friendships have you had in your life?