My first friend ever, Isabel, was a couple of years older than me. We were neighbours and played every day on the pavement in front of our houses, under the watchful eye of our respective nannies.

A few years later another little girl moved in next door to us. Her Mom was a nurse who worked at the hospital across the road. She was older than me and younger than Isabel. Her name was Mercedes. This made me the youngest in this trio.

I became quite jealous when Isabel and Mercedes became close friends and felt that they were excluding me from their playdates. I thought that I was Isabel’s friend first so I had first claim to her. I cried to my Grandmother and to be honest, I don’t remember what she said to me.

We all continued as friends though but I was happier when it was me playing with Isabel or Mercedes on my own – as a duo. I lost touch with them when we emigrated to South Africa. I know Isabel is still living in Mozambique with her family. But of Mercedes I have no idea – I heard she had moved to Brazil.

All of this happened many decades ago. My circle of friends has grown. Some have come and gone. I believe that some people come into my life for a reason and when that is fulfilled, we both move on.

Most of my friends stay. Not many live close to me. Many are in other countries, others separated by continents. What is most satisfying is that when we are in the same country at the same time and we meet, we carry on where we left off, like we’ve never been apart.

The quote below encapsulates what friendship for me is about.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. – Oprah Winfrey


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