Nobody died. But I still feel bereft since leaving the sheep-dotted hills of Cheshire three and a half months ago. Moving back down south was the right thing to do, but God how I miss my friends.
When we moved north in 1999, I didn't know anyone. Then I got pregnant, went to ante-natal classes, and life improved. There were some wonderful women in my group, all first time mothers, all "more mature" in our 30's. The two blonde bombshells I bonded most with were fiery and outrageous; they made me laugh and cared about me. We filled the long days at each others' houses drinking tea - and wine when necessary - while the babies and toddlers played, screamed and squashed food into the furniture. Our houses were always a mess and the chaos became normal after a while, like water off a duck's back. We knew the details - and I mean details - of each others' lives: how much sleep we'd had, what time everyone woke up, what colds and rashes the babies had, who was constipated, what we'd cooked for the freezer, how much weight we'd put on. Not to mention sore milky boobs, each others' sex lives (or lack of), birth scar progress, the state of our finances, very little was not shared. The baby years would have been so much harder without my friends.
Big G - who's wise - says that solid friendships are formed by enduring hardship together. The handful of buddies I've hung onto since college will also be friends for life because we faced and survived the poverty line, bad skin, broken hearts, drunken messes and freezing cold, slug-infested student houses together. We had some legendary adventures too.
Times change, and people move on. I'm lucky to be living near my family now ... but God how I miss my friends.