A few months ago, a girl I was at school passed away after a battle with cancer. I blogged about my feelings about that at the time. It certainly brought back raw memories of losing my Mum to that awful disease and also memories of the girl herself particularly her vitality.
Via Facebook, people who had known her posted on a memorial site. All of a sudden, I got a private message from someone I had known well at primary school and less so at secondary school. The message was tentative, Lottie, clearly not sure if I would want to contact her at all.
The funny thing was that I was delighted to hear from her. In fact, I had tried to locate her via the Internet more than once. My Mum had told me that when they bumped into each other in my hometown, Lottie would always ask how I was going on. So there was a connection as Mum also passed on snippets of news from Lottie. I should have got in touch with her then but was off having my new grown-up life and perhaps neglecting the people back home who really mattered.
Lottie and I used to spend hours around the age of 8 and 9 in my cellar which my Mum and Dad let me have as a playroom of sorts. We used to look through old photographs and also fantasise about who my "real" mum might be - a famous actress, a princess, what?
I will not give details of Lottie's story but suffice to say that my Mum was inviting her to tea at the time knowing that she was having a tough time at home. That is what people did then. Invited the children to tea but also minded their own business about troubles in other people's houses, minding their own business and perhaps not doing enough to help in the process. Lottie has suggested that she found romanticising about my "real" parents was a useful distraction from problems with her own.
Until I met the Ratbag Boyfriend in my late twenties, I had it easy in many ways. I was well loved at home and sailed through my exams. I got to the college and university I wanted to and loved it so much. Mind you, life since has always had so much to live up to having met such fascinating people and lived in such beautiful surroundings.
Whilst I was living the dream, Lottie was living a series of nightmares. And whilst I perhaps squandered a lot of my life chances mainly due to wanting to help other people and make society a fairer place and also an inherent insecurity issue, Lottie worked hard and has a decent career. She also is a wonderful mother to her three children. She has made her own dream despite so many setbacks and I admire her loads.
I also appreciate the fact that she does not judge me harshly. I think she still sees the girl I was. Having lost sight of that girl myself a bit, I find this reassuring. People who remind me what I used to be and perhaps at core still am despite being overweight, run down and confused about what to do next.
It is odd having a female friend to confide in again. It has been a while really.
Lottie shares her feelings openly and that gives me the confidence to do the same.
We have only had two meetings so far but email constantly. We have 30 years to catch up on after all.
I think and hope we are at the start of a new journey, a renewed friendship that sounds so unlikely but is proving good for both of us.