I should have thundered north in an overcrowded, hot train but time, tide and finances were against me. Instead, my sister and I went to the beach and, just as the funeral was starting in Yorkshire, found ourselves a comfy spot on the pebbles at the tide line. Quietly, without drawing attention from the few holiday makers sitting around us, we built a small cairn around the flowers that I’d brought from garden.
Further up the Jurassic Coast, hymns were ringing out in a Methodist chapel in a town perched at the edge of the North Sea. Here, by the Channel, the sea sucked and sighed over the stones below us. Nature’s dirge to remind us that all will eventually erode.
She would have loved it here. The café hidden at the foot of the cliff, the sea, the red cliffs topped with the deep lush green that causes east coaster’s to catch their breath. Best of all she would have adored the beach huts. She had a thing about beach huts. She rented one every spring and autumn. How many times did we sit huddled in blankets discussing books, writers and the sex lives of people we didn’t like? Not enough.
Cairn built, flowers fluttering in the breeze and an inscription on a stone, written in marker pen, I made a rambling speech to the sea about how I’d planned to come dressed up a bit but, on reflection, you and I were very similar in that most of our clothes came from charity shops and were well ‘lived-in.’ As long as we were clean and had brushed our hair at some point then that was good enough. Oh, and you had to have lippy on, of course. I spoke about you riding the comet behind Rufus and Betty and I cried. And that was it. Not showy, not loud, just heartfelt. I looked across at St F and she laughed. The cheap, council toilet roll that I’d swiped from the public loo had disintegrated when I’d wiped my eyes leaving me with white fuzz all over my face.
‘By the way,’ St F said. ‘I don’t belive Betty would allow Jenny on Rufus’ comet. I think she’d be jealous. Rufus was her best pal.’
We talked through a few alternatives and then went to the café for a coffee and a scone.
It definitely wasn’t showy, but it was a release. Distance doesn’t matter, I was there to see Jenny off in my own way and I’m kinda glad it turned out that way because I could be alone in my thoughts of her.
Goodbye old friend. Thank you for teaching me about true friendship without even trying. That’s just the kind of girl you were and I miss you still.
And in case you’re wondering, I believe that Jenny has two comets by the tail and has hitched them, Boudicca-like, to her chariot and is racing Rufus across the heavens.