The Friend That Made Me Me – Jessica

***Competition Winner!  A couple of weeks ago we introduced the fabulous The Sewing Cafe on Weekend Wonderings.  Becky and Fay very generously gave away a bunting kit for one lucky reader, and the winner is Hollie (comment no.4).  Hollie is planning a surprise 50th wedding anniversary for her husband’s grandparents and wanted the bunting to take centre stage behind the cake.  They even wrote one of the readings for Hollie’s wedding.  Sob.  Well done, Hollie!  We’ll put you in touch with Becky and Fay so you can talk colours, etc.***     

 

Sometimes you get a Friends  post that just warms you all the way through.  I don’t have a friend I grew up with and I’ve always wished I had; reading this post by reader Jessica makes me realise that you are inexorably linked to those who you are closest to at the most pivotal time in your life.  What a friendship this is, what a tribute, and what a way to remind us of the mysterious power female friendships have over us.  Jessica writes vividly, candidly and oh-so-well.

Thank you Jessica, and over to you:    

I put so much pressure on my friends to be the most mind-blowingly amazing, only-exist-on-tv, you-are-my-everything friends that I’m surprised I have any friends at all. But those that do make the cut- and it’s a surprising amount given my unrealistically high standards- really have stepped up to the challenge. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful human beings in my life, and once I have you in my grasp, you aren’t going anywhere.   One friend in particular who really has surpassed my extremely high expectations of what a good friend should be, is a certain Sarah Appleyard. For the purposes of this post I shall call her Apples, because that is her real name.

The year was 2001 and the setting was a rural comprehensive school. We bonded over a mutual love of Harry Potter and would spend hours sitting in the back of class in hushed, frantic discussion about whether Harry was going to kiss Cho Chang as if it was the most important thing in the world. School was no longer a place of learning (or was it ever?) and now was a place for us to discuss, giggle, analyse and share. An eternity (or so it seemed at the time) was not long enough, and every conceivable moment we spent together was a moment of potential information sharing which was not to be wasted. We must have been every teacher’s nightmare, although Apples had an inexplicable skill which allowed her to absorb the essential elements of a lesson merely by being present in the classroom, which allowed her to concentrate the rest of her efforts into solving whatever dilemma we were facing that day. I was not so fortunate in this area, but luckily for me no one has found out about my extremely poor knowledge of crop circles or isosceles triangles, so for now, I’m safe.

The years ran into one another in much the same manner, Apples and I dissecting every detail of one another’s (wholly uninteresting) lives; we shared stories of first periods, fancying boys and maths tests, along with the new experiences which were always ventured with Apples at my side. Our first ‘gig’ in a dark, sweaty room, awkwardly dancing to music that we pretended to like, our first unaccompanied trips to new cities where we could get lost in a world that, as country girls, we had never known, and our first experiences of parties, alcohol and boys.

Leaving school changes the dynamics of such friendships, but for us, it only brought us closer, and soon Apples was my sole confidant in all my woes great and small. Our college years saw us side-by-side exploring what young adulthood was, and resulted in countless luminous drinks in scummy bars, late-night escapades and the kind of mischief that only eighteen year olds can get away with. Of course by this age we were also engaging in the sorts of things that one cannot bring their best friend to, but we were both safe in the knowledge that we would get all the juicy details the moment that something was newsworthy. As university drew closer, this was another opportunity for us to engage in adventure, and while most people take their parents to university open days, Apples and I took each other (I went to prestigious redbricks with her, whilst she dutifully accompanied me to induction talks in buildings that barely qualified as educational establishments.) Driving up and down the country in our equally dicey clapped-out old cars, singing at the tops of our equally diabolical voices were times that will stay with me for the rest of my life. 

Moving away from home blew caution into the wind of our idyllic friendship, but our adventures did not stop there. Our new found confidence that came with the independence of our student lives resulted in some experiences that it would take a lifetime to forget. Sleeping on the floor of a mud hut in Thailand, going up the Empire State Building to see the city at night, and trekking through jungle, mountain and despair to get to Maccu Piccu. Those of you who have travelled will know that at times it can be testing, but with Apples by my side we just giggled the whole way through (apart from one poignant moment at the Bolivian border when we genuinely thought we were going to die).  These are experiences of a lifetime, but what really made them unforgettable is that I was able to share them all with Apples. The whole world over, people would comment on the bond that we shared, joking that we speak to each other so incredibly fast that no one else has a chance of knowing what we are saying, or refusing to play against us at charades because we know each other so well that no one else would stand a chance.

A couple of years on from this, and we are entering a new chapter of our lives, Apples is engaged and I really cannot wait to walk behind her down the aisle next summer.  Wherever we are in life, we know that we are not there alone. It is such a comforting feeling knowing that you can do anything, go anywhere and be anyone, because even when you feel lost, there is someone else who knows exactly where you are.

Categories: Friend That Made Me Me
18 interesting thoughts on this

18 Comments

  1. Posted May 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t even read this yet but just wanted to say I’ve got that coat! James calls it my Susan Boyle coat. Right, off to read now…

  2. Posted May 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Aw, lovely FTMMM! Although you’ve made me feel old. :)

  3. Shaz
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    What a moving description of a rare and precious friendship. Great photos too!

  4. Esme
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this was so wonderful. It made me smile on this miserable afternoon.

    • Jessica
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! Very kind words. xxx

  5. Posted May 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I was grinning from ear to ear throughout this. How lucky you are to have each other!

    K x

    • Jessica
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Oh glad I could put a smile on your face :)

      And yes I do feel very lucky to have my very own Apples!

  6. Posted May 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Jess, you are my best friend’s little sister and I can’t believe how beautifully you write. I feel a bit teary reading this and thinking of my special bond with your big sis Bec and our other bestie also named Apple. However you have made me feel very old x

    • Jessica
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Oh thanks Becca I’m so pleased that you like my writing :)

      And I learned about the importance of friendship from the best! <3 xxx

  7. Steff
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    V jealous of what you and Apples have (in a nice way), very special, lovely story :) x

  8. pam
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic article….really touching…go for it jess and Sarah

  9. Fat Club in Epworth
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous article. Made us cry. Jilly wants to know why she didn’t get
    a mention. She says remember the first lunch at the horsey place in
    Girona when we both drank the bottle of house plonk!

    p.s. you snored all night every night x

    Love from the thinnies at fat club xxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Jessica
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Trust you lot to lower the tone! But thanks you guys for reading, I hope you all enjoyed it, I learned about the importance of friendship from the best!

      xxxx

  10. Posted May 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Awww, my FTMMM is getting married next year and that last para made me squeal. Perfectly put.

    Px

    • Jessica
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Thank you!

      I think the wedding preparations/rituals are the BEST when you have an amazing friend to share it all with. xxx

  11. Sarah
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Nothing I write here can match how beautifully you’ve described our friendship (despite me trying to think of something all night). I love reading anything you write, and this will certainly keep a smile on my face for a very long time!

    P.S I’m still working on refining my toneless grunts into some x-factor worthy dulcet tones – we’ll call it a working progress.

    Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  12. Peridot
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I WANT A FRIEND LIKE THAT! So lovely…

  13. Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    How did I miss this?

    Anyway… I am so jealous of you two lucky girls. What an amazing friendship… and beautifully written x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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