This weekend I am on the south coast of England in Portsmouth to catch up with my best friend and brother. Whilst technically we may not be relatives by blood, coming up to twenty years of unwavering friendship we may as well be – I have quite literally known you as long as I can remember.
Whenever I talk to anyone your name comes up sooner or later, and for good reason: the countless times we were sent to the headteacher together, the time you split your head open at my house, when you hit an old lady over the head with a plastic bottle in France in an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, the night we tried to ‘explore’ a barn and had a run in with an angry farmer and his dogs… All the best stories I have to tell aren’t mine, but ours. We started our first bands, and played our first gigs together; we learnt poker together, years later going to our first casino together; the first car I skitched was yours. But there’s more to our relationship than just mischief and adventure; some of my fondest memories of my teen years include singing along to your car radio, grabbing a drive through (often ordering in fake accents), and sitting by the lake to eat while chatting away about anything that came into our heads.
We share in each other’s successes and achievements, but also our pain; when my girlfriend of six years unexpectedly left me, waking the next day to you knocking at my door having dropped your plans and driven for hours to spend the day with me – to make me feel loved when I would otherwise have felt my most alone – is priceless.
For years I mistakenly believed that your house felt like a second home, but upon visiting you for the first time in your new flat I realised that it is you, not the house, that feels like home, and I hope that you will always feel the same. Thank you for bringing me so much happiness, and for being a source of light when things get dark; for being my confidant, and for never giving up on me.
Not too long ago I read one of those viral photos shared on Facebook (the ones with the unsourced and often dubious “facts”) that read something along the lines of “if a friendship lasts more than seven years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime”. Well, if that’s the case then I am a very lucky man.