Friday, 13 February 2015

friends with Deborah: why I'm grateful for an old friend

This week on the gratitude challenge, I'm talking about why I'm grateful for a friend. I can pick any friend I want, and I'm grateful to all of my friends, mainly for putting up with me, but also for fun times, a friendly ear, and sharing the road.

The person I'm going to talk about today came into my life when I was very unhappy, and I felt very lonely. I'd gone through adolescence, the bumpy way, and seemed to lose my friends along the way. No malice was involved, it was just a factor of growing up into different people, at different rates.

I was quietly spending time in the library, trying to work out who I wanted to be (and this involved a confiscated stash of RAW magazines - more on this story here), and keeping my dark thoughts to myself, when Deborah arrived.

She'd moved here from another school, which must have been tough, but I'm so glad she did. Deborah was a rocker, and outside the library one day I heard some kid being mean to her about it. She didn't do as I would have done - kept quiet and got away. She gave them grief. And they backed off. It wasn't that Deborah was rough, or mouthy, she is neither of those things. But she wasn't going to be spoken to like that either.

I immediately respected her and decided to befriend her.

It turned out that Deborah didn't really need any friends, she was close with a nearby cousin, and even had a boyfriend, however, she did want to have someone to go to the church youthclub with. I had walked past the church youthclub many a time, but never had the courage to enter. That was where the rock kids went, and several of them would be smoking outside when I passed. I dreamed of going there.

So I told Deborah I wasn't sure, and she told me not to be ridiculous.

We went that Friday. I spent HOURS getting ready. I probably looked a bit tragic. The tale of what happened that night is told here. But the important thing for today's blog post is that Deborah and I became fast friends. We did everything together for a while, and she gave me the courage to try new things, change my style, and to grow up a little bit. 

I really liked Deborah's style too. She was into Napalm Death (each to their own), but also T Rex, and she went from wearing mainly jeans and ex-army shirts to being very glam. I meanwhile, gothed it up to the max, eventually wearing ballgowns to go to Tesco. It was so much fun to try new things, and I really appreciated Deborah's coming along with me.

Deborah and I also took up smoking, which she would pretend not to do, and blame me for the smell. I assumed my Mum knew I smoked because she'd given me an ashtray for Christmas, but apparently that had been for Deborah to use. She was very disappointed (not disappointed enough to give up herself but).

Deborah was also Christian. She still is. Very. But she's never disaproved of other people believing different things. Not that I took much advantage of this. Rather, I tried to be Christian too. It didn't work out. But I'm happy for Deborah that she has her faith, and is in a rather lovely church.

I don't see much of Deborah now. Time and distance have got in the way, and we don't need that best friend connection any more, but I still really appreciate her attitude, and the fact that she was there at the right time for me. I also still love her style (she's a big fan of layering).

Apologies for the bad picture quality. This is from The Phono in the late 90s. I'm on the left, and Deborah is the one being squashed by a man on the right (the man is Dave, and the two women in the middle are our friends Annabel and Nicki).