Yesterday I was hanging out at home, just chilling and had a pang of, well I’m not sure what you’d call it. Not quite homesickness, not quite nostalgia, not quite a pining, I just thought “Awwww, I wish I could just pop and see [my friend] Karl for a cup o tea”.
Karl used to live 3 doors down from me, after I split up with my husband and Karl jokingly said “there’s a house in my road for rent”. There was actually one next door, but that might have been a bit too close for our friendship; luckily the one round the corner was a better fit.
Karl helped me (and my Mum and Dad) move my stuff in, and set up my internet, TV and all the technical stuff I have no idea about. Actually, he still does this for me, even though I’m the other side of the world.
I relished living alone, but it was so handy having a friend live 10 seconds walk away. I don’t know whether Karl felt the same way – I’m one of those people who will turn up without calling first, sometimes not even waiting for the door to be answered, just walking in. The first time I did this to Karl, a couple of days after I moved in, I knocked on his door and, because I could see a person-shape on the sofa through the frosted glass door, tried the door handle. It was locked, and I saw a blur of skin-coloured movement and the words “I’ll just be a minute” as he disappeared up the stairs.
“Were you NAKED?” I laughed, when he finally let me in.
“NO.” Pause. “I had my boxers on.”
“You were sat watching TV in your pants?”
“Yes. It’s what I do. I’m a man, I live alone and no one turns up without calling first. Were you just going to walk in?”
“Yes.” Pause. “It’s what I do.”
Karl never sat in his pants again, and mostly left the door unlocked.
I walked to work back then, and most days on the way home, I’d
drop in walk straight in for a ‘cup o tea’ (our little phrase). Karl would make me tea and we’d sit and watch re-runs of the Crystal Maze while chatting about shite.
Karl had the patience of a saint. He was my sounding board, my go-to person for any advice or help, and looked after my cat when I was off gallivanting. I often referred to him as my carer, as he really did look after me in the 18 months that I lived in Lincoln. I wouldn’t say that I went off the rails, but I did feel like an caged bird that’d been set free, and Karl was there along for the ride making sure I was OK, or to take the piss about whatever latest chaos I’d managed to find myself in the middle of (and there was a fair bit).
He also cooked me dinner A LOT, put up with my harebrained schemes and suggestions for outings/Film Club scene renactments and random photo taking and even let me drag him to a nightclub (once).
Reading it back, it all sounds very me-me-me, but I’m sure Karl got just as much out of our friendship (you’d have to ask him to be sure). We both enjoyed Pub Club, and could often be found in The Tower putting the world to rights, or having Backyard Beers, and laughing A LOT.
I have such fond memories of Arnhem Close 2011 – 2013, so much fun, so many laughs.