Friday Fiction – Just Friends

I know I said on Monday I wouldn’t be posting FF every week, but this week isn’t one of them! I hope you enjoy the story that sprang from Barbara’s evocative photograph. As ever, others can be found through FF HQ.

My Mum’s arriving today, the third in a recent spate of family visits – all very much enjoyed. Family is unique and special, but as they say “Friends are the family you choose” and I’ve been thinking recently about some of the wonderful friends I’ve made along the way. Last night, I was reminiscing about an old friend I’ve sadly lost touch with – I must have another go at looking her up, surely that’s what social media is for. In happier news, my best friend and I are planning a trip for the autumn and I’m at least as excited about spending a week away with her as I am about the prospect of seeing polar bears (!) up close. And this year I’ve started writing more letters (yes, real, paper ones) to the friends who had dropped down to “Christmas cards and Facebook” … it feels good to make real contact, even from 3000 miles away.

Maybe somewhere among all that is where this story came from.

copyright_bw_beacham

Just Friends

From the island where Jennie was born, everything seemed distant. Her father’s talk of stores and churches seemed as mystical as the aliens and magic in her books, and she often wanted to stop and ask him, “Are there unicorns on the mainland?” “Cows?” “Centaurs?”

When at last he let her board the boat, she devoured the sights, sounds and smells. Rounding a corner, she saw something truly incredible. Two girls, both about her age, leaning in over a magazine and giggling together.

“It must be nice to have a twin,” she said quietly.

“Sisters?” said one, “We’re just friends.”

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35 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

35 responses to “Friday Fiction – Just Friends

  1. Growing up alone on island.. yes I can see that some thing seem very alien… and not knowing you could have friends.. quite sad actually.

  2. I really felt her loneliness, and loneliness that was only awakened when she saw two girls together.
    One one very minor point – I don’t think you need ‘hungrily devoured’, just devoured says it all.
    Claire

  3. Jen, what pathos you got across here in a very understated way. I think that she might feel joy in realizing that you can have friends who are like sisters, but also sorry that she doesn’t have one and evidently won’t have one if she stays on the island. Lovely, lovely story.

    Congratulations for writing real letters, something I love doing. They (and cards and postcards) are so uncommon now that people love to get them even more than they used to. As far as your trip, I was able to do a trip with my best friend a few years ago and what a joy it was! I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful time.

    janet

    • I’ve always been a fan of letters, Janet – the same friend and I have exchanged them ever since ever, but there are lots of people I haven’t written to in a while and I agree they are extra valuable for their rareness. Thanks for your kind words and good wishes.

  4. Dear Jen,

    My parents never had another girl, but I have some dear friends I consider to be sisters.

    Jennie’s feelings of isolation are tangible. As always, beautifully written with many facets.

    shalom,

    Rochelle

  5. Beautiful story, Jen. I’m glad you found the inspiration for writing it this week.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  6. We sometimes assume so many things in life, like friendship, that it takes a story like yours to remind us how special they are. Thanks, Jen. A lovely story.

  7. My mom would have called those girls the Bobsy Twins after the name of a children’s book she read. Interesting how an imagination can fire up in isolated circumstances, yet the truth is more real and far more fascinating. Good job, Jen! Have fun with the fan.

  8. What an interesting perspective which says a lot about the human condition. There was something very sweet about this that I loved. Thank you, Jen.

  9. Jen, Good story about the need for friends. I’ve kept in touch with some friends for years, a couple from childhood. I also write letters to some because they don’t do email. Have a great trip. Well done. 🙂

  10. Beautiful story, beautifully written! And your intro was lovely, too 🙂

  11. Dear Jennifer,

    Polar bears? Do you know my favorite way to catch one?

    (You cut a hole in the ice and sprinkle frozen peas around it, then hide nearby. When the polar bear comes to take a pea you kick him in the ice hole.)

    I applaud you for writing letters on paper. It is an art I am trying to cultivate as well.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  12. Yes, friends are very special and as we grow older the special ones are the ones that are left. Writing letters is almost a lost art that, as a dinosaur, I’m trying to keep up with.

  13. The melancholy here is palpable, and tender.
    Congrats on your travel with a friend. I savor those times and look forward to being with my friends (who are like family to me) and my family as well. I am a longtime letter writer and just convinced my nephew to buy thank you notes, to WRITE (AKA: pen to paper) real thank you letters! Perhaps there’s hope? 😉 Lovely piece, Claire.

  14. *Jennifer!* So sorry, second time in 2 weeks that I’ve typed the wrong name, and hit send. I apologize, Jennifer… clearly, I was addressing your story!

  15. I hold my friendships dearly so I especially enjoyed this.

  16. sometimes our deep-seated wishes color our vision.

  17. Poor girl, can’t help but feel sorry for her and sympathy. Lovely written btw 🙂

  18. Poor thing. To be that lonely. Great job. Lucy

  19. That ends with such a punch – her isolation and innocence so stark after the gentle introduction. Great execution as ever.

  20. She must have had such a lonely childhood. What was her father up to? It seems like a case of child abuse.
    (Keep up the handwritten letters. Perhaps you can lead the revival – and get the shops to stock decent writing paper once again.)

    • ooh, decent writing paper, where do I sign that petition?!
      In my head, she has brothers and sisters for company (although none quite her own age), and isn’t *that* old in this story, but yes, a lonely childhood for sure.

  21. A genuinely “nice” story. I’ve too have been blessed with friends who are as close as sisters. Her discovery that friends can be “family” seems a hopeful discovery for her future.

  22. A moving story … it seems such a sad situation when what most people take for granted a wished for myth … and the aloneness is poignant. A great write.

  23. Such a lonely childhood she must have had. I want to say sad, but sad and lonely aren’t necessarily the same. She could have been very happy in her situation while still being lonely.

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