Dear Harrie (Harriet, H, Billy, Howie),
I promised you that I would do a speech at your 21st, I ended up having one cocktail too many (must have been the ones that Ben got behind the bar to make for me!) and fluffed it really badly, in front of 80 of your closest friends and family. Typical me, eh?
There are loads of things I wanted to say, and although I didn’t write anything down, I had the best intentions of explaining everything that I had been planning in my head. I’m going to put it here in the hopes that I can redeem myself, just a bit!
I met you when you were a plump little pre-teen. Your hair was dirty blonde and you had a middle parting that made you look like Charlie from TOWIE. I didn’t look much better, dressing like a middle aged woman and wearing white eyeshadow, thinking I looked really good.
We weren’t best friends at first, but then we started hanging out more and more. We would have sleepovers, holding ‘photo shoots’ in the fields by your house. When we got a bit older, we would drag a chair over to your larder and take clear bottles from the top shelf. Not knowing quite what was in them, we’d mix the contents with fruit juice then fill the bottles back up with water (sorry Jayne and Mac!)
Parties started to happen and we’d go to all of them, all the drama and gossip that occurred, we’d know about first then spread like wildfire between the schools.
During summer holidays we would lie in our bikinis by your pool, waiting for your mum’s phone call to say that she was bringing down fresh strawberries and iced drinks to us. On Sundays, Mum-Mum would bring over a pie and we’d demolish it in the movie room watching America’s Next Top Model. We were so very spoilt and so very lucky.
Sometimes I’d join you down in Cornwall for holidays on the beach. We’d drive down with your mum and sister in ‘the girls’ Mini with the roof down, by the time we got to the campsite, our hair would look like Bridget Jones’ from the scene when she drove to the country and her bonnet fell off. But we wouldn’t care, we were ready for water skiing, wake boarding, boating and making new friends.
I came skiing with your family once when we were about 15. I’d been going out in Val d’Isere for a few years and thought all ski resorts were the same, so we got all dolled up to go out. We bolted it into the first pub we saw and marched up to the bar, only to be shot down and marched right back out again by the bar man. We couldn’t face going straight back to the chalet to be met by all the adults’ ‘I told you so’s’, so we hung around the streets in the freezing cold before dragging our feet back and telling them that we had one drink, but the atmosphere was drab so we came home.
When we left school and I moved to London to live on my own, you would ring me every single night without fail to check that I was ok. I wouldn’t have been able to cope with depression, without knowing you were always there at the other end of the phone to keep me sane.
You, me and Polly had an incredible time in Thailand and I’m so glad I have the records of our adventures in this little online space. Especially all the Hissing Cockroach air conditioning units, Bangkok and Pouring Thunder Storms that we dealt with!
When Ben and I started dating; my family had already given their approval, but I needed your family’s too, for confirmation. They all welcomed him with open arms, so I needn’t have worried.
Although, we live so far apart, and are at two completely different stages in our lives, you will never fail to be such a huge part of me. Your entire family have always been so generous to me and I have had the best childhood with you as my best friend. You have such an incredible life in front of you and the world is so lucky to have such a bright ray of sunshine in you. I can’t wait for a time when we can be in the same City again, drinking cocktails and chatting for hours like we always do.
Cheers darling, to the next 21. Love you so much and I miss my best friend already!