Special Guests.

We’re a little bit excited here in Doha, we have guests arriving from Australia on Monday. In an episode of Love Boat – this would be a definite “special guests” week. I met Krissy when I was 15, ahem, just a couple of years ago, when we were heading off with a mutual friend on a Easter camping trip. I can’t remember too many of the details. It was cold, the drive was long, there were giggles, chocolates and a lot of a roaming around waiting for something to happen. At the end of the trip we went to see Footloose and I preempted every scene by telling Krissy what would happen – she wasn’t impressed, she reminds me about it every few years. What I didn’t preempt though, was that in years to come, we would end up having our first babies not only the same day, but at the same hospital. Like I said, special guests.

When they rolled me back to my room after the first little traveler was born I received a message that Kristina had gone in to labour. I kept pestering the midwives “Can you go and check? Is she okay? Has she had it yet?” and they just kept shaking their heads saying they couldn’t tell me anything. I knew they didn’t understand. 

We’d shared a flat, been in a car accident and gone to each others 21st birthday parties. We’d been there for the dramatic breakups and the inexplicable makeups. We gave readings at each others weddings and then got silly at the receptions. Kristina had watched me attempt a series of jobs in a spectacularly bad fashion until I fell into the right one, while I’d seen her be her usual reliable, hardworking self, she was always ‘the girl most liked’.  Krissy is the girl you call in a crisis. By the time we both arrived at the front steps of the hospital that day, we’d crammed a lot of friendship in to those sixteen years. 
We’re part of one of those intertwined groups of friends that all have a connection. It’s the same faces each year when I go home, I seek them out. We know each others history, we rehash and retell all the good bits and then pretend we’ve forgotten the bad. Sometimes we forget to forget and that’s when things can turn a little pear shaped, but it never lasts for very long. At an annual lunch one year, a new girlfriend to one of the boys told me she was finding it hard to work out who was married to whom, everyone appeared so comfortable with each other. I couldn’t imagine myself married to any of the boys – but I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

At a quick breakfast in Sydney last year, G and I giggled continuously with two of the guys, really silly, naughty giggling. I hopped in a cab afterwards thinking I hope the little travelers make friends like I have, but I really hope my girls get to have man friends like mine. I never ring these guys, I email sporadically, but I love being in their company. Krissy happens to be married to one of them. At our beach house last year, one of the guys arrived with his beautiful wife and three boys, holding a copy of the weekend Australian. “There’s a story in here about a woman who’s returned to Oz, she’s has her own column, she writes really well- I reckon you could do that”. I want my girls to have friends like that. It’s the simple things that make the strongest friendships.

Amongst us, there has been a succession of share houses and weekends full of sport, drinking games and inside jokes that don’t make sense to anyone else. A story begins to take form and the laughing is immediate, because we all know where it’s heading. We’ve farewelled each other overseas, danced at weddings, christened children, given up smoking, taken out loans, renovated houses and moved interstate. We’ve giggled like teenagers while having a cheeky cigarette, and wondered out loud about how it’s all going to turn out. When we talk about it each other – it’s because we care – there’s a difference.
I often wonder if we were put in the same room now as complete strangers would we gravitate to each other or would we chose someone else? It’s unimaginable because somewhere, in all of these years, we stopped being friends and began being family.

Special guests.

How about you? Do you have an old group of friends that feel more like family?

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