It’s very hard to explain how special it is to live with one of your best ever friends. How deeply comforting it is to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and know that there is a person in the kitchen that loves you and cares about how eating vegan cheese affected your dreams.
It’s difficult to explain what an inspiration it is to live with another strong woman and be there for each other, even when the caramel has stuck to the bottom of the pan and takes two of you a whole evening to deal with the aftermath.
And it is also difficult to explain why our microwave has had a tally drown on it for the last 9 months. And why this will be the last part of the house we’ll clean when we leave.
So, I’ll try to explain.
Last February I packed my tiny studio flat (and not so tiny collection of plants) and moved in with Josie, one of my dearest humans and fellow conservationist. Two scientists sharing a roof, great cooking and an unreasonable amount of houseplants. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, a pandemic. That’s what.
Apart from that (or maybe because of that), the year I spent in this flat has been so special. One can brag about good friendships for a long long time and still you think what you have with your friends is better, so I won’t go there. My friendship with Josie is for us to share and smile about.
This year has been so hard for all of us, right? From the little things, like the fact that we really do miss pubs by now (and I never even went), to big things. Things we’ll all need our time to digest and some things we shouldn’t expect ourselves to ever digest. We all sat in our flats and watched time as it stopped. We went for walks in quiet cities and said hi to our loved from a screen. Life as we knew it stopped, but somehow we were all expected to still produce work and pretend like nothing’s happened. Life goes on, even when you are not ready to move along with it.
So it is a miracle, really, when in such times you find yourselves surrounded by people you actually want to spend time with, isn’t it? Friends and loved ones that stand by you while the shit hits the fan and take a hit of shit-splash in solidarity. Whether by the mighty power of zoom calls, social distanced walks or actually living with those people, I wish that if you are reading this you keep fighting to have those people in your life.
Josie has been one such person for me. One I would step in front of as the shit bounces back from the fan. Not just because I have made it my business (in science) to never shy away from scat, but also because I will protect this woman with my fake training swords until the fan has span itself clean again.
It is February of 2021 and it’s now been a year since I first moved in here. Tomorrow I’ll be arranging my plants in a new flat. It was Josie’s time to live with her boyfriend and it’s my time to live with a garden! It is a blessing to be able to leave a houseshare without worrying that they’ve packed a rotting fish in your box of clothes, or that they’ve cursed you so much, all your plants die and you suddenly start growing one very long nose hair.
It’s a blessing to leave and know that your friendship will be stronger.
We went into lockdown a couple of weeks after I moved here. The first thing we did was to start a lockdown prison tally. The second was to compete in fruit Olympics – I am Greek and she had bought blueberries, so it was the natural progression.
I will never forget this year. I will never forget the tally and the boozy iced coffee and painting black everything that wasn’t already black. And I will never forget the love, support and fun. Nor will my knee ever forget trying to skate in full lotus across our living room.
Thank you, Josie, for a year that was good even when it was difficult.