We met on the equator.
No land was in sight. Yet the crew of ‘The Fairsea’ knew exactly when we were to ‘cross the line’ and held a ceremony to mark the moment.
That’s when I saw her, a beautiful young bride, dancing with her new husband. She was aglow with love.
I wore my wedding dress. I wasn’t quite such a new bride, but still new enough to fit the dress perfectly.
She was immigrating to a new land, the land where her new husband had lived since he was seven years old. Many challenges lay ahead as she learned to master English, and adjust to a very different country.
We became friends, two couples who visited each other’s homes, camped together, attending a summer school and sharing a love of the arts.
Then something happened, a foolish disagreement, followed by a move to another city, and we lost contact.
Many years later, we found ourselves separated from the husbands with whom we had danced so freely across the equator. We also rediscovered our friendship.
Over forty years on, we keep in touch, even though we live in different cities. We phone each other regularly. Our husbands have both died, but we live on and have become even more ourselves. Not only do we hold the memory of our youth together, but we enjoy each other in the present. Long-lasting friendship is like good wine that has gained flavour and bouquet over the years.
My friend has just come to stay and the room still rings with our conversation and laughter.
When she left, she gave me her kete of woven flax. It holds a folder, my choir music, or a book just perfectly. As I swing it in my hand, I think of friendship and longevity, and think that maybe the equator is a lucky place to make a friend.