It seems strange to think that it’s nearly ten years to the day that you wondered in late to a fashion PR lecture and announced that you were from Reading when we “got to know more” about our classmates. I announced that I was from near by you, and beckoned you to sit with me. And that was it, friends, just like that.
So ensued many a ridiculous night – the kind you can only have as a Fresher, and together we made some terrible decisions about what outfits to wear, what hair colour to have and how orange was too orange when it came to fake tan.
Before I met you, I’d never had a friend like you. We quickly became inseparable, staying friends even when I decided uni wasn’t for me, and you decided the same not long after.
Although we lived a good hour and a bit away from each other, there wasn’t a day that didn’t go by without a phonecall, or a Sunday that went by without me driving over to see you – just because we loved hanging out that much. You’d make me a cup of tea, and we’d sit and chat about nothing – just like we would on the phone.
So a couple of years passed, and we both bobbed aimlessly along side by side. Somehow, before we knew it, we were real grown-ups, working in real grown-up jobs and, for the most part, feeling like imposters; who were we now that we didn’t have a student loan and have to live off 80p noodles?!
Like you always do, you persevered with the dream of working in fashion, doing the impossible and working your way up from a shop floor to working in Head Office for one of the most well-known brands in the middle of a crippling recession. You were just that good that it was impossible even for strangers not to see how talented you are. I have always admired your commitment to seeing things through, and to relentlessly pursuing your dreams and goals.
You took the plunge and moved to London and again, I admired your bravery from afar, whilst I stuck to living in a small town in an unhappy relationship. Soon, I left my job and my partner left me, and as my life came crashing down you called me every day to check in, always encouraging me and supporting me and giving me the confidence I needed to move to London.
Suddenly, after way too many years of living miles apart, we lived down the road from each other. I’d picked West London to live in for no other reason than it meant I’d be close to you, reasoning that I could cope with living in a house share with total strangers, because we were now only a few minutes walk away from each other.
As we have ‘grown-up’, the trials and tribulations we faced as 18 year olds seem so trivial now; what we both wouldn’t give to go back to those worries instead of some of the things we are faced with now. The past couple of years may have been far from the best of your life, but you have come through them with such dignity and grace, whilst still staying true to yourself; in spite of what has been – often cruelly – thrown in your path. You are kind and caring, warm and funny and you are truly one of the most genuine people I have ever met – and I should know, I’ve known you for ten years now!
We have always had fun; whether we were sitting in a Drive Thru McDonalds, worried about some debt and how we could pay it off, to when we hurtled up to the top of the Heron Tower to celebrate your birthday at Duck & Waffle; testament to our friendship is the fact that I would happily be in either situation with you, because no matter what, we’re always laughing together.
You have become such an integral part of my life that my parents consider you their son, too, my siblings consider you a member of the family and even when I’ve had a “significant other”, you’ve always been readily considered my plus one; how could I have an ‘other’ more significant than you?
I’m so lucky to have a friend like you; 10 years of living out of each others pockets – we’ve gone through everything, bad times, bad boyfriends, bad hair, bad tan (oh god, some of the tans), but through all of it, we’ve always had each other. I’m so happy we’re heading to Spain, yet again, for our annual trip away, to celebrate another year of being friends and also to celebrate your birthday a little bit early!
It’s been ten amazing years; and here’s to the next ten years of Kate and Lee selfies, to life changing, to getting through the sh*t times together, and to enjoying the best of times together. Whatever is thrown our way, I know we’ll be just fine, because we’ll always have each other.
I’m super proud of you and I just know that the next year is going to be amazing for you; now let’s celebrate your birthday Marbella style; the way we have every year, and the way we will for many years to come!