When I was studying for my degree, a joint in Biology and Art, I had a friend. We didn’t really start hanging out until the second year. By the third year we had rooms next to each other. I was a different person then.
I was naive and people could take advantage of me. I managed to do the whole university experience without getting a boyfriend. I didn’t understand what was wrong. I thought I came across as caring and warm but the reality was different.
I wasn’t diagnosed then but I was suffering under the yoke of dyslexia, Asperger’s and dyspraxia. I couldn’t relate to my peers. I didn’t understand the social interactions. When everyone went to the bar after lectures I didn’t. I thought that by not being directly asked I was being left out. I wasn’t… At lest I don’t think I was. I was just odd.
A weird duck… I stood out. I hung out with the random people I had been placed with in residential halls and they were some lovely people.
But I should have been getting on with those that I was studying with. I have no facial recognition. And it got me into trouble with some people. There was no friend to ground me. Now if I go out I normally have someone who will be there if I have a problem. If I find that I can’t concentrate or there are issues that cause my anxiety to rise, I simply smile and remove myself from the situation. But back then there was no one and I didn’t have the confidence to leave.
Until my friend.
She was strange. Confident. Always wore black. Never got annoyed with me and was supportive.
But like all friendships we lost touch. I moved country. Her letters stopped.
I didn’t think.
And then she was gone. It has been a few years and yet I still think of her. In fact she has made it onto one of my Christmas cards… The lady who went everywhere with a red umbrella. My friend.
I still miss you. I just wish we had been closer at the end. I would have loved one more conversation. One more coffee. One more argument about the use of marmite in cooking.