One of my best friends is leaving tomorrow to go to live in Australia. It seems such a long way away and such a big goodbye.
We met at the Health Centre, introduced by one of the health visitors because our sons were born on the same day and we lived in the same street. It was 8 years ago. Most days we would walk with prams (and me with toddler too) to and from shops, just for something to do, someone to chat to. We would have girlie nights in, share some wine (sometimes too much) and talk about stuff, just stuff. Her kids went on to school. Mine didn't. But we kept up. Sometimes having to skirt around the 'education' conversations to maintain our friendship. We still had enough in common. And then, over a year ago, she announced that they were emigrating. So our girlie nights were full of talk of visas and money and house selling. It was painful for me to see her excitement at leaving.
Where I live is such a transient place. People come. People go. Sometimes they stay long enough to make an impression. But very few people stay for long. When you get to my age you don't make friends that easily. Well not those sorts of friends.
Of course we'll keep in touch, a bit. Facebook is handy and I've downloaded skype. But it isn't the same. No doubt she'll post photos of her new house, the beautiful beach, swimming pools, barbecues at Christmas, and I'll be envious of the adventure compared with my very very dull life. But we wont see each other again. There wont be any point telling her that I'm decorating the conservatory, or clearing out the shed, or that ds2 has done this or that, or that I've slipped on my promise not to eat chocolate. Because she wont be there to see it or share it with me, and besides nothing much here changes anyway.