I don’t say this often enough, but I should: I love my friends. They are, without a doubt, the best group of women on the planet. Don’t bother arguing. It’s just a fact.
“The girls” in the picture above have been my best mates for a really long time. I’ve known them all at least since college; most of them since high school; and I’ve Chloe since I was the “messy Brownie” in her mum’s Brownie troop (gang? Tribe? Coven? I can’t remember. I quit after the meeting where we how to iron hankies).
Even though some of us have moved far away – to exotic places like Adelaide and Brisbane – whenever we catch up it was like we were never apart. And even though some of us are mums now, and most of us are married or soon-to-be, when we’re together it’s like we’re still fifteen, in the lunch room at Burnie High, or the Caf at Hellyer College, playing “spoons”, singing Madison Avenue and Shania Twain songs (yes, we are that old), and cracking up at anecdotes we now can’t remember the origin of.
Who can remember why “salsa on the doona” is funny?
Or “I love you, Egg!”?
Some memories are clearer. Like the time when adding “ness” to the end of everything was all the rage.
i.e. “I just got a new cat!” “Ooh! Cat-ness!” or
“Did you see Brett’s new car?” “Ooh! Car-ness!” etc.
One night we went out to dinner. One of us (Rachel, I think), told us excitedly that she’d just got an A on an assignment. Our Adelaide friend Sarah clapped her hands together and squealed, at the top of her (trained opera singer) voice: “Ooh! A-ness!”
It took her awhile to work out why all eyes on the restaurant were now on her …
Remembering this stuff is what makes it so easy for me to write from the perspective of a fifteen year old. The fifteen year old me is still very much alive in my head, and my friends help her stay there.
They help me remember lying in Rachel’s rumpus room eating Top Deck and watching Circle of Friends for the millionth time, even though we knew all the words (It’s like taking me to the top of the mountain and showing me the world, and then marching me back down, and saying, ‘That’s what you can’t have Benny, you silly great fat article. Here’s what you can have: Knockglen for the rest of your life and married to Sean bloody Walsh!’), or watching Spice Girls Live in Istanbul at Shelley’s house the night after the leaver’s dinner (Ahem, after we went to all the cool people parties of course … errrmmm…), or the many, many nights we spent at Roz’s house, listening to the sountrack to Can’t Hardly Wait and dying with laughter as Roz and Donna showed us their latest interpretive dance routines.
Life was good then. It’s good now, too, and the fact that I’m still friends with those girls is what makes it so. I’m really privileged now that I can put some of our memories into the books I write. I can call a cat Plugger after Rachel’s maniacal moggy. I can sneakily work the words “salsa” and “doona” into a scene in my paranormal book. It’s my way of keeping the memories alive, and of telling those girls I love them. I don’t say it enough.