Harriet Walker: 'I will be in her life forever - because I fell over at her wedding'

 

Share
Related Topics

No matter how hard you try to make your friends love you, there's never any guarantee, is there? You can be your funniest self, your most supportive self, your kindest, most understanding, coolest or most relaxed self, and there's still nothing to say your friends won't just desert you, like a smuggler's ship slipping its ropes in the bay at midnight.

Some friendships end suddenly and violently, others fade out without even a whimper. Rather than a blazing row, you just look round one day and you realise, with a remorseful and heavy heart but also one that is buoyant with its new-found liberty, that you haven't seen such-and-such a person for almost a year, and you hadn't noticed. And you suppose, there and then, that that means you aren't friends any more.

There doesn't need to be animosity: when acquaintances fade from your circle like inverse photographs developing into blanker landscapes, they don't always do so because something has gone wrong. In many ways, it's because something has gone right. Two people moving in opposite directions have found the peace to continue their journeys alone.

Honey crystallises and so does life: the gloopiness that characterises it at one stage, enjoyable as it is, wears off after a while into something harder. Paper yellows through use and excess socialising. Then it likes to sit, unbothered, on a bookshelf in its dotage. People like going out and networking at some stages in their life. Then they like to sit, unbothered, on the sofa with the person who knows them best, often without talking.

Perhaps I sound maudlin. If I'm honest, it was a friend's wedding which prompted me to think about it. That sounds bad, doesn't it? It was a lovely wedding, don't worry.

The fact is, I know I will be in this friend's life forever. I just know it. How? Because, during the part of her newly wedded husband's speech where he rhapsodised over her beauty and grace, her wicked laugh and her sense of humour, I threw myself at his feet. There's nothing to seal a friendship like staring up at her other half while honeyed sweet nothings drip from his lips.

Let me be honest with you: I fell over. Somehow, in trying to slink back to my seat during the speech, I did a big slippery pratfall, skidded along a bit on one heel, then (and I don't understand the logic of this as I swear I was falling backwards) ended up on all fours in front of the groom.

You see where I'm going with this? I will be in her life forever, closer than we are now maybe or maybe not, but eternally. Because I fell over at her wedding and she will remember me until the end of days, even if the bloody great Sid James bellow she emitted as I scrabbled about on the floor eludes her memory in years to come.

This is not an exhortation to throw yourself at the partners of your favourite people, nor to misplace your feet on purpose wishing for some sort of lovely kismet. It's far more profound: it is meant to placate. That no matter how far from a person you end up, whether you speak or not, whether you fought or just faded out, you'll always be with them. Because chances are you made a tit of yourself in front of them once and they won't forget it.

Or – and let's go with this because it's nicer, though less realistic – you did something really lovely for them once and they'll remember it for ever. Maybe you drew them a picture or told them a good joke. Maybe you introduced them to the best boxset they have ever known, or their partner. Or maybe you didn't, and it really was as basic as falling over in a hugely embarrassing way in public that means you're lodged in their brain.

Either way, I like the idea of it. It lets you off the hook a bit. Because who hasn't felt the creaking angst of having let a friendship drift? Sometimes, even though we're all wired up day and night, getting in touch is the hardest thing to do. Not for any profound reason, but precisely because it's so basic that it slips your mind.

I have a friend who speaks to people on the actual phone. She has the sort of conversations with people in other countries that I would only have with someone who was in the same room as me. Perhaps that's where I'm going wrong. But still, when we do finally make it to the same room, you can guarantee at least that I'll make quite the entrance.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# asp.net Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The number of children in relative income poverty is currently 2.3 million in the UK  

If you think jobs provide a route out of poverty, then you should talk to the working mother who can't afford a bath for her family

Javed Khan
Scientists believe the discovery could lead to new treatments for loss of memory function caused by ageing and other factors  

We need a completely new approach to caring for older people

Carol Jagger
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past