Memories from a 20-Year Friendship

Photo of Sophie and Jo

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a handful or two of besties. The kind of besties who you turn to when you need a hug or to talk an issue through. The ones who message you to check in or to sing your praises when they’re proud of you. Some of those besties I’ve had since I was 5. Some I picked up through school or college. Some via work.

This post isn’t meant to detract from any of my other wonderful friends. It’s just that this friendship is all kinds of special because it started at a pivotal time, year 7, aged 11. We were in the same form as each other in the big new world of secondary school. There were 8 of us that formed a bond and quickly spent all our lunch breaks together. The group went through phases of best friends pretty rapidly. Eventually, whether she liked it or not, Sophie became my bestie and it stuck. Through thick and thin.

We’ve shared a heap of firsts together. Boyfriends. Jobs. Cigarettes. Periods. Smirnoff Ice. Grief. Followed several years later by babies. College. Therapy. Marriage. Mortgages. Break ups. New Relationships. Holidays. Loss. New chapters. University. First jobs. Second houses. Not in that order.

We’ve been there, holding each others hand, when times got and still get really shit. When you feel like your free-falling and you’re not sure where or how it’s going to end. There’s no judgement. Just the nod of understanding whether that be in person or through the other end of a Whatsapp message.

We recently started messaging each other random memories we had of our friendship after I found an old card she’d written me, while cleaning out some boxes in the garage. Because that’s what we did when we were teens. We wrote to each other. In class. At weekends. It was our thing. And to a certain extent, it still is. Except those notes have developed into Whatsapp messages. The arrival of flowers. A BuddyBear box. A card that tells you you’ve got this.

We decided to start saving of all the memories we send each other so that when we’re in a care home together, causing mischief, we can take a look back at our love story – because it most definitely is – and laugh about them all together.

Because laughter is what our friendship is based on. Our memories are proof of that. She’s the one I lean on and will continue to lean on. And the one who I know has been there and gets it.

So, I wrote down some of our favourite memories which document our friendship love story…

Spending evenings at my family home with my closest 3 besties from secondary school at the time. Sophie would be in charge of head massages and I would be in charge of eyebrow plucking.

Shaving a slit into one of our eyebrows when it was all the rage with the boys in our group.

If one of us has a cold we’ll send selfies of us with tissues stuffed up each nostril *cough* usually her *cough*

Stealing a lone cigarette from a friend and smoking it together at parties became our ritual, even though neither of us were a fan of the taste.

Wiping tear-streaked mascara from each other’s faces from sadness and from laughter.

Witnessing tequila shots come back out of nostrils.

Paying for several pizzas with loose change and watching it be counted out.

Wearing matching Primark PJs at one point but in different colours.

Eurovision sleep overs with face masks and WKD.

Attempting to make pillowcases with each others faces on in our Textiles class.

Carrying a spare pair of knickers in our school bags incase we got caught out by our periods and borrowing them if we were the unlucky one.

Getting fired from our weekend cafe job, Sophie quitting in solidarity before starting a huge food fight at closing time. Cracking eggs on each others heads. Flinging baked beans and other jacket potato fillings. Running heads under the cold tap.

Camping holidays with friends and her family.

Walking down the aisle as her bridesmaid before asking her to return the favour years later.

Taking a day off work to go into town with my her and her newborn baby as she figured out the ropes as a new mum.

Getting in trouble for wearing tiny mini skirts to school so deciding to swap to pencil skirts but cutting a slit up the sides to keep it fashion.

The way that every year she’d have a themed party at her family home, from superheroes to ball gowns.

My love of taking as many selfies as possible on whatever camera she left out. Much to her annoyance.

Her borrowing a change of my clothes at college after getting soaked by a puddle before heading out on a driving lesson.

Going food shopping with her dad and getting away with sneaking all the snacks into the trolley. All while her choices got refused.

Texting each other every Friday with the same message and a variety of insulting names.

Weaving our way into each other’s families, effortlessly…

There are so many others that I can’t type for fear of losing some dignity. And some that shall remain for only us to know. And some that I’ve likely forgotten because my brain can hold onto song lyrics but not all memories.

Cheers Sop. May we grow old in age but young in spirit together. I love you, butt munch.



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