Friend

You are my oldest friend. It all began when I was nine and you were ten, and it’s been fifty years.

We met at school, back in the days of wine and roses of the Mozambican era, when we lived in paradise but didn’t know it then; those days when we dreamt of knights and damsels, kings and castles, battles, and bravery; those long, hot summer days when we sat for hours in my swimming pool, just enjoying the moment.

Then came the days of shock, parting, and heartache. We both left our homeland for good. I came to live in the big city, and you went to your father’s birthplace, the beautiful green mountainous island surrounded by the dark blue sea and had fate had it another way we would never have met again. But our friendship had to be, and it came to pass that I went every year to your island for holidays, and our friendship continued, and grew stronger.

Every summer we knew the month of August was ours, and we made the most of it. We laughed, we played, we danced, we swam in the sea, we told each other all about our lives, but most of all we felt good just by being with each other, a feeling that, no matter how much time has passed, has never gone away.

During the year we kept in touch, not as much as I would have liked because, while I was a keen writer, you rarely picked up a pen to write a letter. Still, sometimes we talked over the phone – not much, because long distance calls were expensive back then! But when we met it was as if we had parted only the previous day, and so the years went by. When the time came for us to go to university, I stayed in my city, but you had to move to one far from your island, nearer to where I lived. You came over for the occasional weekend and it was so good to see you more often.

Together and apart, we lived our lives to the full. We loved and were loved back; we had our hearts broken and broke a few on the way. We finished university; you went back home. We still saw each other every year. Then you married; one year after I married too, and those holidays came to an end. There were other priorities now in my life, but our friendship was intact, if possible, strengthened by distance. I still managed to visit you a few times, and you came to see me too. We became mothers, you first, then I, and met our respective children. I divorced; you were lucky to have a happy marriage that lasts to this day; we led different lives but the bond between us never changed. No matter what.

A few years now August has again become the month when we meet. I am always welcome at your beautiful house atop the hill, with the magnificent ocean view; every year I go back to your – our – beloved island to see you, to spend time with you, to have those long talks when I open my heart as I do with no one else, to go swimming with you, to just sit outside at a terrace and never stop telling you about my things, and listening to yours…

And so, it has been again this year, my friend. For a whole week we were inseparable. The days were entirely ours to enjoy, and we made the most of each hour, each minute, each second. So much so that, a few days after coming back, I miss you and wish I still had you by my side. You, that person I can share everything thought with, every yearning of my heart. The one who will always understand, always have a kind word or a piece of wise advice. Or the one who will simply listen to me and let me be.

It’s been fifty years, my friend. Let’s hope to have, if not many, a few more. Let them be good ones; let´s still laugh together, remember the good old days; go shopping, take a swim in the sea, delight at a beautiful sunset, enjoy a good meal, have a drink and toast to our friendship. Let’s just be together, without even talking, because we don’t really need it to know what goes on in each other’s heart.

Thank you so much for having me these days. For your generosity and steadfast friendship, one I know will last forever. Thank you for being who you are, a very, very special person in my life.

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels

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