It’s always lovely to hear people speak about childhood friends. I had them too; but then I grew up.
So let’s talk about adulthood friends…the kind made at part-time jobs, and on the daily commute. The kind that took one class with you and ended up staying for all the others, up until your final semester.
How thrilling it was to talk about who we ‘like liked’ (when the degrees of likeability are encompassing and formulaic like the periodic table) with our childhood friends back in the day. And where we bought our outfits for the one day that we didn’t need to wear uniform to school: civvies day. But in adulthood, everyday is civvies and choose your outfit carefully so as not to wear your heart on your sleeve.
In 2014, I met a tall woman – best described as a modern building in a archaic suburb – who was to become one of my first adulthood friends. It was the January before I began university, before I had the vocabulary to articulate my ideologies or ways of being. I was straight outta matric (as opposed to Compton) so naturally we spoke about which high school I had attended. It was later revealed that she lived in the suburb that housed my high school.
Through many a walk, and numerous bus rides, this person showed me my city. Adventure was a window seat in a rickety Golden Arrow bus, a afternoon spent in a soon-to-be gentrified area, an introduction to a hidden away second-hand book store in Woodstock and a power walk through a colonial garden in the rain.
Then, this friend moved to another city and another province. Through 30 minute WhatsApp voice notes, we updated each other on the little things, the heavy things… we were able to muster that kind of vulnerability not because we were speaking to a phone but because we knew of the empathetic ear that would eventually listen to it.
My first adulthood friend began and continues to astound me with her perseverance, her commitment to independence but willingness to be helped, her tireless work to be true to herself and what she produces.
Happy birthday Anna.