Some people come, play an important role in a play called your life, and go. Think about your childhood best friend, best friend in high school, first boyfriend or girlfriend, ex-colleagues, and so on.
I’m still in touch with my childhood best friend. Sort of. Facebook, you know. I’m still friends with my high school best friend, and we even do stuff together in real. Although nowadays it’s our husbands, who hang together more often. I have no clue what has happened to my first boyfriend. It would actually be fun to meet him. There are a bunch of ex-colleagues I used to spend a lot of time with outside work hours, whom I now “meet” in Facebook every now and then.
Then there are people who pop in and out of your life like an interesting hitchhiker. For a brief moment you share something special, such as a trip, an assignment or getting a child at the same time. In, intense, out. Poof! Role over, life goes on.
UK became our holiday destination this summer because we promised Talky he’d meet his best friend. Originally the plan was Greece, but hey, when you make plans with South Africans, a villa on a Greek island easily turns out to be a barge in the UK. And then you just literally go with the flow, through a few locks. [smily face]
And how sweet it was! The moment those two met, it was like there would never have been a distance or six months between them. In a few days Talky turned back to him self, and got rid of his moody-grumpy-teenager-me-mask. Instead of a game-playing, screen-obsessed, nasty-talking peer-pressured preteen, he was again wrestling with his buddy, feeding swans, and running around. Okay, and watching Love Island… I couldn’t help myself thinking that he just had to grow up way too quickly when we moved to Finland. He’s still a little boy in his heart and mind!
Those two boys have a long history together. They met at a daycare in Cape Town in 2010, when they were three. Talky didn’t really speak any English, but those two bonded. At least it was how it looked like. Then in 2013 when Talky started pre-primary in Cape Town, the first day they bonded again after not seeing each other in two years. Which, at the time, was almost half of their lives. And ever since they were more or less inseparable. I remember Talky telling when he’s older, he’ll be living on a xhosa farm with Chatty (let’s call him Chatty). And chickens and pigs. And three wives.
Now they are a world apart. Talky plans to leave Finland “as soon as he turns 18” to either study in London with Chatty, or play basketball in the US. This “leaving Finland soon” has made our lives complicated in certain aspects. Such as learning Finnish. I don’t really need it. But you’re Finnish and Finnish is your mother tongue. No I’m not, look at me, I’m an African. Yes, it’s your language but that’s your problem, not mine. Hear the nasty cherry-picking teenager?
We’ll have some pretty interesting years ahead us, but one thing I’m sure about is those two staying friends forever. As to me the real friends are those with whom you pick up from where you left – no matter how much time or how long the distance has been between the two of you. The ones who change and go on, but still stay true to themselves and who they are. The ones with whom you click for no obvious external reason.
I have a really good friend who left Finland more than 20 years ago. We see each other a few times in a decade. We don’t skype, we hardly write. I have a general idea what’s going on in her life. Based on Facebook. Yet when we meet, it’s like we last met just the day before.