A few months ago, Jon’s life long best friend, Bergen (pictured above next to me) left the country to live abroad. Today, we wished Britt the best as she and her family left too. Sad to think Jon and I are alone right now. We cried buckets of tears when Bergals left, Jon and I. We inherited his old Mogsi cat, a bunch of house hold stuff and loads of memories. I watched my husband mourn for the loss of his best friend in person and I thought I couldn’t feel sad like that again, until today.
Today I said goodbye to my almost life-long bestie. Not forever, just for now, as she and her beautiful family move to New Zealand to better their lives and start afresh. Britt and I met at Spur in our teens and instantly decided to become the very best of friends.
At work, we had a ridiculous code name of “Mayo” whenever we felt the desperate need to cut our shift short for a chat that couldn’t possibly wait until we were off duty. Whenever one of us called Mayo, we’d get to the giant walk-in freezer, grab ourselves a bucket of Spur sauce to sit on (yes, those table sauces really did get manually refilled by hand out of 20L buckets back in the day – gross!), and tuck into the refrigerated cooking chocolate while we’d chat. In that fridge we discussed boys, family, friendships, work, the woes of life as a young adult, what we wanted for our future. I wanted to go overseas and never return, Britt wanted to become a police woman in charge of looking out for abused children. I didn’t go over seas never to return (obvs), but Britt did become the police woman she always wanted to be. Often when we spoke over the phone it would be from her office while she was Acting Captain of her Child Protection Unit. When she wasn’t filling in for that role, she was a Senior Sergeant (which, I believe, is one of the higher ranks a white female can get to in this country these days). She also went on to marry Fritz, the South Coast’s most handsome and sought after bachelor, one of the rare decent ones. A man with a mischief as tall as his height. The two of them have since raised Nikita and Cullen, two of the best behaved and beautiful kids I know. I’m not biased, even though Jon and I have claimed Godparent rights.
A bad day for me would be a missed advertising deadline, misspelled word published or an angry client. A bad day for Britt would be a dead, raped toddler. Perspective. Yet she somehow always managed to deal with the situation with professionalism, character and grit. That night she’d go home to her husband and kids and put it behind her until the next day – I’ve always respected that so much. She is stronger than anyone I know, and kinder than most. She’s sensible, fair and true to herself.
Britt is one of those people who would be the first to volunteer and the last to leave. She never judges and always supports lovingly, firmly when you need it, and always with a brilliant sense of humour. She accepts people for who they are, their shortcomings and misgivings included as part of their character and package, without question or condition. And she adores Aiden.
When I still lived on the South Coast Britt would call me on her way to visit unexpectedly to find out if I needed milk, sugar or toilet paper – one of these things was always out of stock in my house. She’d step over the reptiles at the bottom of our entrance, push the excited dogs out the way, walk over the pond and along side the bearded dragon cages, into our home which would house a monkey, tame Indian Myna, baby crocodiles or tarantulas at any given time. She’d step over the toddler brother, high five the older brothers usually found playing PlayStation and into the kitchen where she’d stock up on whichever grocery she’d replenished. While she boiled the kettle she’d either pop into my mom’s room for a hug, or stop to chat to my step dad outside for a few minutes. Eventually she’d make the coffee and then step into my chaotic bedroom and uncover me from my duvet and poke me awake with her one hand while passing my coffee from her other. She’s always been part of the furniture.
When Kiera died, she stayed in that room with me for I don’t even know how many days. Every time I woke up from my sleeping pill induced slumber, she was there.
Every break up I ever went through, she was there.
Every milestone I ever achieved at work, she was there.
When I left town and moved to Joburg, she was there.
When I met Jon, she was there.
When we got engaged, she was there.
When I got married, she was there.
When I fell pregnant, she wa– wait, no. That would be weird.
It didn’t matter that some of those things happened while we were in different provinces, we were always together.
When Britt and Fritz got married, I was there. Nikita and Cully, her stunning children, my godchildren, know me as their crazy mom’s extension. Our husbands know that when we’re together, they step aside and let us just be. They laugh with us and cry with us when we need them too – but they know that B and I were first. We are each other’s confidant when even our husbands won’t do, which doesn’t happen often though because we both married so well.
And now my B is moving across the world and although I’m heartbroken sad, I’m so many other things too. I’m excited and nervous and happy for them.
They will move mountains there. They’re both walking into incredible jobs and the kids will be at schools where they’re not being picked on or bullied or belittled for being the smartest in the class. They will have a lifestyle they’ve never been able to have here. They’re stepping up in a big way and I’m so proud of this huge decision they’ve made for themselves and their future.
So now we’ll just need to adjust our communications slightly and Britt will need to learn how technology works in order to Skype us.
They’ve been the best godparents to Aiden – and their children have given Jon and I such joy and pride over the years, being theirs. The way our kids love each other is crazy. She’s been my one constant for the longest time.
B, I know you will continue to be my constant for years to come and this isn’t goodbye, it’s just ‘see you later’ for now because the race to see who can afford a holiday first is on. Make this heartsore worthwhile. Make this the best thing you ever did. Make the distance feel silly.
Thank you for making yourself and your family such a huge part of me and my family’s life.
I love you. I’ll miss you.