We break our fast this evening with friends we first met twenty-one years ago in West Ealing. Now I feel very old, for the toddler we encountered back then is now a confident twenty-three year-old medical student, her brother following suit. Their youngest is a day older than ours, turning teenager this summer.
Where have the years gone? Moons ago we shared an allotment, then they moved abroad for a decade to pursue their fortunes in the Gulf. By the time they returned, we had moved out of London. They are amongst the few friends still remaining from those early days. Who else is left? Hardly anyone, for we have all wandered off into our own worlds, forgotten.
Still, the house is filled with laughter. Memories are cracked open. Photographs recalled. We fill our stomachs as so many times before, grateful for these friendships. Years ago, we were a ten minute walk away, now a half hour drive, but some bonds can never be broken. Kindred spirits break bread together. Distance cannot separate such affections.