A little bleary this morning after a nearly five hour phone call with my oldest friend of all. We met when I was 16. We went to school together. We lost touch for about five years, a long time back, just moving around, then we got back in contact. There is a good thing about an unlimited talk contract on a mobile. There is something much better about having a friend you can tell everything, who can hold you as well as scold you. Who is always, always there.

This has been a difficult year on so many different levels. But I have been blessed this year, discovering things about myself. Some were things I didn’t want to learn. And one of the most important things I had not learned is that friends are there and when you ask them to, most people will help if they can.

I learned you have to be strong enough to ask for help too. Which is a sad and interesting dynamic in itself, because often when you really need help you aren’t strong enough to ask for it or to accept it when it’s there.  So as Paul Simon put it, we talked about the old times and we drank ourselves some beers. Or now we’re who we are and the age we are, we drank a bottle of wine together, 220 miles apart. We weren’t crazy though, then or now. Just happy to be talking to each other in a place where time didn’t happen, where even if it did, this huge thing, that wasn’t going to change or go away, ever.

My friend’s job is sensitive. The things she deals with every day are horrible and they happen to lots of people, far more than people like to admit. She’s not a spy or a secret agent or anything like that but in her job using Facebook would be instant career suicide. So she won’t see this. Her children will. And they know how it is anyway.

Thank-you, my most brilliant friend, in a year which has sparkled with brilliant friends, not just you, but the Brilliant Three as well who this dark summer have kept me mostly upright, who have picked me up, who have been on their own different penances and pilgrimages, who sometimes I was able to help a bit, too. Thank-you, my friends. Thank-you so much.

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