There are some people, the kind you’ll be lucky enough to meet and love once in a lifetime, and you’ll keep them for a lifetime and longer, because you know how rare they are. You won’t be in contact with them for years, except for the odd-birthday wish, and then when you meet them, all the distance melts away, and you wonder how it was that you survived so long without them.
The last time I met Diya was 3 years ago. And apart from the occasional birthday and New Year wishes, contact was minimal. But when I saw her again, a few weeks ago, on my doorstep, I forgot I was supposed to be angry at her inability to keep in touch and felt only a gush of love that had been there from the moment she’d become my Di, so many years ago. For 9 hours straight, we sat on my bedroom floor and spoke and laughed and listened to music and drank chai and nibbled on pancakes and shared cigarettes, and the few remaining wounds I had left, healed under the influence of her strength, bravery and independence, that I’d envied from the first day I’d met her.
It felt like old times. Making her tea in the blue mug she’d claimed as her own years ago, running to her house and venting and listening to her merge her anger with mine, sitting at Starbucks and talking of our art and our music, and reading an old essay in the breezy sunshine, I knew, that despite years and distance, there will be some things that will never change or get lost somewhere along the way. Loving Diya will be one of those things – that will never change, or get lost.
To the Collaboration. And getting you to create again in May. Because one of your best creations (An Ode) is mine. To sharing french cigarettes, hopes and dreams. To being single. And still being small. To nosepins, lucky and unlucky. To London snow and California sunshine; riding bicycles and taking the tube. To crying over men and then realising how much happier we are without them. To gossip in a small world. To travel in a bigger world. To independence and freedom. And being exactly where we want to be. To feeling safer and braver in the warmth of your advice and our conversations. To influences, me being yours, and you being mine. To carving on tables with my keys – which we completely forgot to do this time. But we’ll do it in 3 weeks. To your purple wall, which I miss painfully, and my apple green walls, which you have to repaint for me. To being blissfully and achingly glad that you are here, that you exist at all, and that despite the drama and the years and the distance, we are still the same.