While writing yesterday, I got an email from my oldest friend. We don't live more than an hour or so apart, but we haven't seen each other for centuries. I'm effectively working two jobs and he's a parent in London who works as a doctor so free time isn't something either of us have much of. In any case, he was back in town for a few hours and wanted to meet up. Very short notice, of course, but possible for me on a Saturday afternoon. By the time he was actually free from family duties, he had barely forty minutes before his train back so we met for a coffee in the station at around seven yesterday evening. And here's the thing:
The time since we last saw each other did not matter. At all. We could have last met a couple of weeks ago, not a couple of years. We could live ten minutes' walk apart, not in different cities with a hundred miles between us. We caught up, drank our overpriced coffee and he jumped on his train to London saying he hopes to be back this way sometime next month. If he is and he's free, then cool. We can meet for a longer time, have a few cheeky shandies and talk much as we did yesterday. If it doesn't happen, then we'll do it if I'm ever London bound. The only difference being a pint in London costs about eight quid more than it does round my way.
Anyway, our catch up got me thinking about friendship and the power of it. The magic of it. It's often the case in horror fiction that people going through all sorts of awful, painful shit need anything good they can get hold of to combat that shit. Whether the good comes from family or a spouse or a friend, it amounts to the same thing: magic. Exactly the same applies in real life with or without something awful trying to break your spirit. People in fiction running from death (and that's pretty much covers whatever the threat might be - it's death wearing a different mask each time) need that magic if they're to have any chance of survival. People in real life need it even if they don't realise it.
Sometimes, the magic comes along when you don't need it simply to remind you it's there in the background of a train station coffee shop.