This morning I headed up north to see my friend from university days. Three hours hammering up the motorway through the snow-dusted rolling countryside of English Midlands, like being a student again twenty years later. The same roadside landmarks, a little greyer and seen from within a much nicer car. Waylon Jennings cranked up on the stereo: "She's a good hearted woman in love with a good timin' man/ She loves him in spite of his wicked ways she can't understand". Sigh.
We met in the food court of an anonymous out-of-town shopping centre. She taking the mick out of my near temptation to buy my food from McDonalds, I ended up with a greasefest fish supper.
How do you come out to someone in a crowded mall food court? Quietly. Yet again I'm really lucky in my friends, despite it being the last thing she's expecting from me we spent the next couple of hours having a really good chat about our lives over the past twenty years, the time we knew each other at university et cetera. I had forgotten that she's bi, something she was open about when a student so I should have remembered, but then why should that be the thing she's labeled with? I always think of her as my very switched-on friend, and that was whose counsel I was seeking. I think she was amused as a feminist when I pointed out that next time she sees a bloke like me eyeing up a woman she should consider the possibility that he's not a leching bloke but a t-girl in drab assessing the girl's outfit.
We parted after a wander round the shops and I set off for the mate's fortieth birthday party that brought me up north in the first place. I'm very grateful to her for letting me bend her ear as it really helps to talk to someone who's known you for years. I hope I can return the favour some time.