Birds of a Feather…
Today I just can’t get my dear friend Georgie out of my mind. I met Georgie technically in May of 2003. I was on a small island in Japan called Tanegashima with some friends and we bumped into George and her “at that crazy time” boyfriend. We hadn’t met but my friends knew who she was. There was an air of indifference as I let one of my friends talk to her whilst I continue to play on the beach with another. Georgie and I had something in common that we didn’t know about yet; we both required quite a lot to be impressed by someone and we didn’t make much of an effort after the usual common formalities unless it was proven worthwhile.
A few months later after my first year in Japan, a fun to-be summer in Okinawa at a language school brought me south to the beautiful island. I took a long 26-hour ferry and met an American who was teaching in my same prefecture. He was going to be picked up in Okinawa by his friend. When we arrived, a gorgeous woman in a massive SUV drove up and offered to give me a lift to the school residences. I found out that she would also be studying at the school and that she was in fact the same girl that was on that beach three months earlier.
Georgie invited me to the flat she was staying at in Naha. I remember sitting on the balcony that first night with a very well selected bottle of wine and she asked “So what is your story, Raymond?” in her posh south London accent. From that moment on, we were inseparable for a year. We had an incredible summer in Okinawa, the best summer I’ve ever had. Every day spent at the beach, every night spend over wonderful dinners and conversation. Georgie and Raymond against the world and we always won.
Georgie taught me many things about friendship. In fact, she taught me so much about relationships with people. Her philosophy quickly grew on me; if there is no reason that you would be friends with someone in any situation, don’t keep trying, just let it go and maintain your civility. Yes, perhaps people saw me as becoming more reclusive that year, but I was in fact so satisfied having such a wonderful and true friend around me.
After Okinawa, we moved back to Kagoshima and lived only three hours apart. We met every week-end as soon as school was over on Fridays. One of us would drive to the other side of the ferry terminal to pick up the other, depending on whether Georgie would come and stay with me on the western Satsuma Peninsula or whether I’d go to hers on the eastern Osumi Peninsula. Our rituals were deeply ingrained, initial excitement to see each other, a corona for the ride and an anticipation of either a tandoori chicken and butter curry waiting (if we were on our way to mine) or a visit to the best izakaya in Kagoshima (if we were going to hers). If the weather was even just above freezing, you could probably find us on any given week-end at a beach or otherwise we were refreshing at a hot spring. My second year in Japan with Georgie was absolutely precious and in that year I found out many many things about friendship.
These days we don’t have so much contact. The last time I saw George was at a layover in L.A. where we both happened to be starting two distinct trips in Mexico. A New Year’s Eve in West Hollywood wasn’t enough for us to catch up on the time since our Kagoshima days. Now she is in the UK and I am in Argentina. I guess our lives are in distinct directions but I know we have many more times of meeting and sharing again in the future. There are some friends that you meet that you can never let go. Georgie is one of them.