Friendship

Jake phoned me this morning to continue has story about his drum kit, so my diaphragm spasm hadn’t given me a true escape, just a delay. I now know that the snare drum is the same one as used by the drummer from ‘Metallica’, enough said, I can feel you drifting off already. He asked me is Tracy was in Glasgow just now? That kind of surprised me. Tracy was probably the best female friend I ever had. We met when we both lived in Rhu and is often the way, we met through our children. My daughter was attending the nursery school at HMS Faslane, the children were picked up each morning by the Navy transport and returned at lunchtime. I received a call from one of the teachers late one afternoon. asking if I could take a message to a mother who had just moved in the day before, as her phone wasn’t set up yet. It surprises me still how such a simple act, could have impacted so massively on my life.

Before I met her I never realised that you could just simply meet someone and with in hours feel like we had been together since birth. It is probably fare to say that we changer each others lives in ways that those around us couldn’t understand. Both our husbands were in the Navy and both of us were frequently alone, we filled that void left by husbands, duty and distant families, we took care of each other and supported each other. With the children off to nursery, we would sort out anything that was needing to be done in our homes then meet in one or others houses for coffee, most afternoons we gathered up the children and our dogs and head off to the spit or off up into the hills behind the village. When I left my first husband and went to work at the Ardencaple Hotel, Tracy soon after landed a job there as well and although I was now single and living in Helensburgh, we made a point of seeing each other outside work, going out for evenings together and remaining firm friends.

I new her husband didn’t like me, but put up with me for Tracy’s sake and when I move to Glasgow and our relationship stayed strong, he told me to my face that I wasn’t going to take his wife from him. Clearly he saw me as a threat. At least twice a month we would spend 24hrs together, she would stay over at my house and we went out shopping and clubbing. With me she knew that what ever she did in that time I would never tell anyone. I gave her the freedom to be herself and not just a wife and mother, I gave her the support she needed to grow up and she returned every second of it. We were always there for each other at any hour of the day or night.

I will never forget the phone call the day that she found out that her husband who she had thought of leaving more times than I could remember, was having an affair. Just like my ex he had had several over the years but this one she found out about and the truth tumbled in behind it. As she had supported me, I supported her through the break up of her marriage. By this time the Navy had posted them to Bath and of course she had moved there, she had a job, her daughter was settled in school, so her life was there. We thought about sharing a home but decided against it, work was the main reason, we both had jobs we loved and neither wanted to change it. But still our friendship didn’t change.

While she was staying with me for a holiday, she met one of my friends and started and affair with him, but he was possessive, no matter what she or I said to him, his infatuation with her was becoming destructive. He would send flowers, turn up at her home in Bath, phone her several times every day and then again in the evening. She moved house and I refused to tell him where she was, but he found her. I knew she thought I told him but I didn’t. The last time I saw her was less than a year after that. I asked her to be witness to my marriage to Adam, she stayed in Glasgow with us for a few days before the wedding. Everything seemed normal, she was excited and enthusiastic about all of it. On the day Tracy and my daughter were to me the most important guests and they were fantastic.

Adam and I returned from honeymoon and I tried to phone Tracy, there was no answer. I kept trying, thinking that maybe she had gone on holiday, or was working extra shifts. After a month I stopped making excuses for her and realised she was gone. I tried, I tried really hard but couldn’t find her. We bought a house a year later and moved, taking our phone number with us just in case she wanted to call me. I still secretly hope that one day the phone will ring and it will be her, but it never is.

Jake thought he saw her in the supermarket a few days ago. The person looked as he thought she would now and she kept looking at him as though she wasn’t sure if she knew him. Neither spoke to each other, so I will never know but I have asked Jake that if he should ever see her again to make a point of speaking, I don’t care why she vanished but even 13 years on I would love to see her again. Friendships like that are rare and even if I never see her, she will be a special person to me for ever.