I had been telling you about my time in Europe, which already feels like a distant memory, when I had to stop because of the tomatoes and peppers waiting for my attention, and because of my tiredness.
I am still tired. I am always tired and I am tired of being tired. I stopped smoking four and half years ago, but right now I would love a cigarette. Don’t worry I am not going to have it.
Anyway, we left Rome bright and early and arrived in London at ten o’ clock on a nice, grey, dribbling, cool morning.
What a relief after the heat of Rome. How perfect and cozy for my reunion with our dearest friends Christine and David. It had been four years since we had last seen each other, when I had stopped in London on my way back from India. I was so happy to see Christine then, and I was excited that after a month apart, I would have soon seen my children and husband again.
Because of the rain, when David picked us up at Heathrow, we hugged quickly and got in the car. But just seeing him was enough to open the tear-tap, but it wasn’t until I saw Christine waiting for us outside her house, that the flood gates opened.
Andrew and Tom had been childhood friends. Before we moved to the States we lived four doors away from each other. We had such a wonderful friendship. We shared a sense of the ridiculous, of the outrageous, and we made each other laugh. No one else could quite understand what we found so funny, but we did, and we laughed.
But seeing each other for the first time since Andrew’s death, we were crying.
Christine’s son Tom, Andrew’s best childhood friend, came to the door. How many hours had he and Andrew spent playing with Lego or keeping the baddies at bay?
And now? All grown up, Tom was revising for an exam he had to retake, and Andrew was dead.
Ensconced in a quiet corner, we talked and talked. It was like the old days, so much to tell, never a silent moment… But unbeknown to me, Hugh had asked Christine and David to invite some of our friends to their house for lunch. It was nice and annoying at the same time.
I enjoyed seeing everybody, but it was Christine and David that I wanted to be with, and like schoolgirl, Christine and I kept locking ourselves in her study.
And then it was time to go… Hugh and Robert got in the car with Hugh’s mother and sister, I got in the car with Christine. We crammed the short drive to the airport full of talking and we cried our hearts out when I had to run out of the car. We had left leaving her house to the last-minute, and now there was no time for prolonged good byes.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” I cried, bolting from the car and dashing inside the terminal. Before walking through the revolving doors I turned around in time to see her wave before driving off.
Dear Christine, David and Tom,
Thank you for the many happy years together.
Dear Christine, I loved being young mothers together, going to the park, walking in and out of each other’s house.
Thank you for loving Andrew.
Thank you for all the happy hours he had at your house.
Thank you for everything.