As you may have seen from this fabulous thread, @19syllables is approaching a landmark birthday this week. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hanging out with Haiku, then reading through her words of wisdom for her daughters will give you some sense of what it’s like to be her friend. And being her friend is a complete privilege. In many ways our lives are very different and as she wrote here, the media would like women like us to pitch ourselves against each other. But as we all know, opposites attract! Not only are our lives very different, we are hilariously ridiculously different, full stop.
When we’re chatting over coffee I start one of my long and detailed (and sometimes tedious!) stories. Before long she’s impatiently interjecting with questions or a summary conclusion. “Well let me finish the story and you’ll find out,” I retort. When we’re on a photo adventure she’ll be bouncing all over the place, waving limbs and busting moves while I through gritted teeth say: “Hold still, I haven’t got my shot yet.” I am a dyed-in-the-wool planner, carefully and logically plotting things out before I start. She meanwhile will say yes to a day out, then realise she can’t go because it’s A Level results day. Me: “I already checked and that’s not A Level results day.” Her: “Ah, maybe I’m still on holiday.” Me: “No, you’re back by then.” Her: “So I can come?” Me: “YES!” Her: “HURRAH!”
My kitchen is turning into a little shrine of things she turns up with. On the window sill a fading dragon from Chinese New Year and a glass in which she brought a flower for my newly decorated bedroom. In the drawer is a paper vulva and some random stickers that she picked up at a festival to use as a prop for a photo. On the back of the door is a cool bag that she delivered full of food when I was sick earlier this year. So many touches of kindness season my kitchen.
And she is the greatest cheerleader I know. For family, for friends and for nature. She is a clarion call for living, loving and feeling. Recently I was sat at my desk working on a dull document when my phone pinged: “I’m actually fucking crying with rage. IN A FUCKING CAFE.” She’d stumbled across something and in her reading of it a penny had dropped about something that had been causing me sadness. Her response to what she read was passionate angry tears; for me and for others who are dear to me. The words she fired off in the ignominious state of crying IN A FUCKING CAFE did more to ease my emotional burden than she’ll ever know.
So if you want to know what kind of friend she is, know that she will run naked across a bridge at 8am, don her most elegant skirt in a wood, deliver food parcels when you’re sick and cry tears of rage about the things that hurt you. She really is one of the best!
Happy birthday, my friend! ?