Monday, January 02, 2006

It's 2006

Happy New Year to you all.

Maybe it should be a defining moment, maybe it should be a new start, but in reality it's just another day. The Chinese, for instance, will be celebrating the beginning of their new year on 29th January, it will be the year of the dog.

We all need to mark time in some way, we use these markers as milestones by which we judge the progress and achievements in our lives. I wish a new year could really mean a new start, however we cannot escape our years, they all come together in the being that is us today, we are formed by our past, but we can still create our own future.

I ended 2005 with hope not hatred, I feel proud and honoured to be able to call so many of my fellow passengers my friends, I would not be where I am today without them. I raised a glass to them at midnight, we texted and phoned and we are meeting up on 7th Jan to mark 6 months since the bombings.

I have just got home. I'm sitting on my sofa eating chocolate and drinking Lucozade, Gone with the Wind is on TV. What more could a girl want?!

I spent last night at a friend's in west London. Four of us sat around the dinner table until at least 2am. We consumed seven courses of mouth-watering deliciousness and copious quantities of alcohol whose colour and texture changed with every course. It was heavenly and I can't think of a more perfect way to end this year or better company to see 2006 in with.

John went out with a good friend of mine at university, that's how we met. When she dumped him he was heartbroken and I think he thought by befriending me he could weadle his way back into favour with her. He even came and travelled around Kenya with me for a month as she had been there the year before and he thought it would give them more common ground. Sadly for him his plan backfired, he never got back together with her and has been lumbered with me as a friend for the past 17 years instead! He is now happily married to a wonderful lady called Lucy. Sometimes her friends ask her if she feels threatened by John's friendship with me. This summer, for instance, we went kite surfing on the south coast, we camped and shared a tent, Lucy was on holiday in Canada. She delights in telling people the story of our trip to Kenya to explain her lack of concern. John and I were camping deep in the Turkana desert with a group of others, huddled under the shade of a lone tree. The wildlife in whose company we were sleeping didn't bear thinking about. I was woken early in the morning by John, who was lying next to me, swearing loudly. My immediate thought was that there was some deadly creepy crawly in the tent. 'What is it?' I asked in a slight panic.....'I've got a hard on!' he said. I took a moment to weigh up the situation and realised I had two choices, tent with John's hard on or desert with hungry beasts. I chose the desert, and fled the tent at great speed in my pyjamas!

He is one in a million and has been a pillar of support to me throughout our friendship. His flat is like a second home to me and is a place I naturally gravitate to when times are tough. It's therefore not surprising that I've spent many a night there over the last 6 months, and I'm sure I will spend many more.

I eventually phoned Claire at 2am, she was in Devon with her boyfriend. I can forgive so many so much, I feel no anger towards the suicide bombers, but I am finding it difficult to forgive her and I don't know why. I am not angry that she went without me, I'm angry that she didn't have the guts to tell me that she was going without me.

Then I spoke to another friend. Long drunken emotional conversations riddled with much mutual appreciation. I felt rather elated after the call. Ten minutes later he called back....'did we just talk?!'. My elation was burst in an instant, like a balloon!

I am here to see 2006 and I am lucky to be, we all are. I have thought of those families who are without someone they love this year because of the hatred of others. I lit a candle for them at midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I was with a man who I have lit a candle for at Christmas for the last 3 years, he has been in a psychiatric hospital. This year he was by my side, I didn't have to light a candle for him, he lit his own.

'tomorrow is another day'

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