I complain about my single status on this blog ALL THE TIME. I’m sure you’re all sick of it by now, so you’ll be glad to hear that’s not what this post is about. You can thank me later.
Have you heard the new Ellie Goulding song; Army? Well, she was tired of writing songs about boys and the stupid things that they do (although you’re not all innocent, are you Miss Goulding??) so Army is written for her best friend. So I’ve taken a leaf out of her book and this post is for my best friend.
I was 12 when I met Arlene, she transferred to my school when her family moved back into the area. My guidance teacher had called me up to her office and when I went in Arlene was sat there with her mum. She had brown curly hair with two blonde streaks down the front (two blonde streaks that were straight, must have been the bleach…) and my first thought was ‘this girl is going to hate me’. You see, I wasn’t particularly ‘cool’ when I was at school. Yep, I know, shock. Cause’ I’m so cool now… *coughs*. But she looked ‘cool’ and cool people didn’t like me. I was told that when Arlene joined the school after the summer that I’d be responsible for showing her round and introducing her to people (with only about two people who would actually speak to me at that point, I didn’t think this bit would take very long) and I actually felt a bit sorry for her. She was going to be starting a new school and I was the one charged with settling her in. She could do better.
I’m not sure how it happened. But she liked me. Not just that though, she accepted me for who I was (and she still does). She also stood up to the people who picked on me. I don’t know how I would have turned out if she hadn’t shown me that it’s okay to just be me.
We were just bog-standard teenagers, with all the teenage drama that goes along with it. We had shared hobbies; horse-riding, drama classes, (bad fashion…). We helped each other with our studies; she was cleverer than me, she still is. We read each others diaries; with permission, obv. We were together the first time we got drunk, we celebrated each others successes and cried on each others shoulders when we had our hearts broken. We were part of each others families, family parties and holidays. I’ve watched her fall in love, first with her husband and then two more times with her beautiful sons. When I held Matthew, her eldest son, for the first time I couldn’t believe that she was a mum and that she’d created this amazing little life (he then proceeded to projectile vomit all over me, I’ll always feel kinda special that I was the first person he did that to. Thanks Chew!).
I have always had this niggling little insecurity that people don’t like me. I’ve been this way my entire life, or at least as far back as I can remember. Arlene gets that. She doesn’t understand why anyone would dislike me (she’s nice like that), but she understands that I worry. She knows me better than anyone else, she knows that while I’m pretty laid back, if I really don’t want to do something then I’ll dig my heels in and no one can budge me. She knows that I’m not malicious and that I would never intentionally hurt anyone. She knows that I don’t really like talking on the phone; but that I make an exception for her and we generally spend about two hours chatting whenever we have a catch up. She knows that my memory sucks and forgives me when I can’t remember that epic day out we had 10 years ago. She knows me inside and out. And she still likes me. In fact, I think she loves me as much as I love her and I feel secure in that. It’s one of the few relationships in my life that I do feel secure in.
So, despite the fact that I’ve been single forever and frequently think that no one is ever going to love me or that I am incapable of falling in love, I know deep down that it’s just not true. Cause’ I have Arlene. My best friend in the world, the person I can be silly with, the person who invites me into her family’s home on Christmas Day, the person who supports me even when my life and career moved me all the way to Bristol and separated us, the person who loves me unconditionally, who will have my back and actively hates anyone who has ever hurt me. One of these days I will hopefully meet a man who I does all these things too and they will have to work really hard to make sure that Arlene approves. Cause’ she’ll be in my life for the rest of it. She’ll be there beside me when/if I get married, she’ll be there to hold my hand when/if I have children (largely because I won’t have a clue what I’m doing and will need her to help me), she’ll be there for every laughter, every success and every tear. How do I know this? Because she has been there for every laughter, every success and every tear for nearly 20 years. You don’t grow up with someone and then not grow old with them. Or at least we won’t.