The Traveller

Forget about 10 sleeps

YOU’RE thinking of a friend, on her 55th birthday today.

It’s the first thing you realise when you open your eyes: it’s May 1, a special day

Yes, yes, Workers Day too, but the real significance for you is the enduring friendship the date trumpets; you consider the qualities in that person that make an enduring relationship possible.

She definitely does not throw fuel on a fire.

You picture her and see a treasure; a rare gift more valuable than any jewel.


You remember her 45 years ago; a schoolgirl, considered and almost cautious, but always ready to laugh.

Her shoulders know how to shake, and boy, can she drum out a beat on a tin — anything really, that’s flat for a slap.and tickle twee do.

You sit at a separate table with her, banished to a corner during meal times, the two of you giggle too much. You barely can close your mouths long enough to eat, for fear of choking on a clod of  laughter and Miss Hills’ lumpy Scottish oats.

The separation from the other tables increases the intensity of this mutual and prolonged release.

But you beat the system, too, with this friend.

You collaborate to ensure that on visitors’ weekend you both have both days out: Saturday your parents, Sunday her parents.

Oh, those long car drives to get here or there. Handsome friendly dad, a beautiful elegant mother, you think you’re an extra in a chic magazine ad, sitting there all observant. Your tummy squeaks and squawks.

You hope the movie stars in the front seat can’t hear what you hear.

The next time you look, you’re not 10 years old anymore. You’re not 18.

You’re into the final third of your lives on earth. Together.

You get the feeling she understands, though she tells little and reveals less.

She is a beacon in  your life. A tenderness lived, and loved.

You say a heartfelt Happy Birthday, to a beloved and dear friend.

You say Thank You x


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