Blood transfusion

Not the sort that requires needles and a drip. I’m talking about the blood transfusion of friendship. I had three separate dinners this week with my closest friends and there is nothing quite like it. I even managed to cook two of them, lately I’ve become lazy about cooking, but my time away recently when I was eating three cooked meals a day, largely because they were put in front of me, gave me loads more energy than usual.

So Sunday was chicken and a sort of risotto followed by homemade lemon drizzle cake and caramelised plums. Hadn’t seen this friend in ages and she had some good news about a job and brought me the most beautiful bunch of yellow roses which have been a delightful burst of sunshine on these darkening days. There’s nothing quite like catching up with someone when you both know one another so well.

Tuesday I cooked again for a friend I first met at work more than twenty five years ago and we immediately recognised each other as kindred spirits. Steak and chips with more cake and plums. We roved over our usual topics, ranging from catching up, to commenting on the news, to deeper waters. This is a pal who swims in the deep but longs for the shallows, just like me.

I mentioned that I felt I had lost much of myself over the past year and she surprised and disconcerted me by saying for her I was the same, on a continuum of myself, albeit knocked about by life events. Disconcerting because my inner landscape feels so alien now, I struggle to catch any sense of the self I used to be, yet here was one of my closest friends suggesting that my landscape is not that different in her eyes.

So dinner out with more close friends, they cooked and it was delicious as ever. I asked them the same question and was surprised again by the answer. ‘You’re more yourself because of all the events that have happened to you’. Astonishing.

Still struggling with that idea – that I’ve been pared down to the essence of myself, like a really excellent tomato concentrate.

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