Walking arm in arm with Cesca would usually guarantee some kind of wolf whistle or respectful request for us to 'get our kit off' from the gentlemen who frequent the outside of the Raymond pub.
But this time they refrained, perhaps because our skirts weren't short enough or we weren't showing our multi-tasking skills by balancing a baby on one hip while shooting up in the other arm. Or maybe it was because we were both in tears.
We were off to the park for our final goodbye. I adore Cesca. Since The Big Weekend in 2006, our friendship has grown into a spectacular bond that I didn't know could have existed. We laughed, we cried (well, I mostly cried) we drank and we occasionally stayed sober. We swapped clothes, we stormed into pubs, we gesticulated, we touched hearts.
Then one day 8 months ago Cesca put an ad on facebook. 'Cesca and Mikey need a housemate or two.' They got two responses. Mine, reading simply 'shotgun' and one from a then unknown to me but now only describable as bloody brilliant, Cordelia.
I'm sure if they had got 400 responses they still would have chosen us, (well that's what they tell us) but either way, we won and we moved in.
The fun began. The first few months were a heady cocktail of laughter, boozy dinners, late night discussions, massive amounts of cheese consumption, games and laughter. Oh and once or twice, we watched TV. But Mike had to draw us a diagram so we could turn it on when he wasn't there. I'm sure it helped him feel like the Man of the House, that and the fact he lived with three girls.
But we never talked about periods. (ok, once, but Mike got such a moan on we never dared again) We talked about wine and beer, pies and lives, careers and fears. Every night was a guaranteed funfest and I'll never forget it.
People warned me not to live with my friends. 'It'll ruin it,' they said. Er, no, in your face, it's made us closer and I wouldn't swap it for the world. The only thing I regret is that I didn't mop enough. I'm sorry Cesca, I should have mopped more, to show my respect for the house, but somehow the mop and I didn't get on so well. However I definitely beat Cords in the mopping department so 1-0 Kim.
I've never had a best mate like Cesca before. Mike, Lazza, brilliant. Even people from the past - Rory, Iszy, Swanny... amazing people though they were, they served to further confirm my theory that boys are more fun. (except Iszy, she's a fun girl) Boys have better banter, better wit, are not offended by anything and drink without worrying about calories.
Then along came Cesca and showed me a girl who can drink and swear any man under the table.
As she prepared to leave the country, I realised it was to be the end of a very fun era. We can tell ourselves it'll be back, but it won't. By the time Cesca gets back, if indeed she choses to come back, I will hopefully be writing a column in a hot country. By the time we're all back in the same country, we'll have pesky little children selfishly expecting us to change their dirty nappies instead of drink wine.
So here's to the era, Cesca, it's been a riot and I'll never forget a minute of it (that I haven't already).
But as my sister-in-law pointed out, the end of an era is followed by the start of a new one. And I've already got a list as long as my arm to make sure the next era is every bit as good, although importantly very different, from the last...
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