Long distance love

I cried when my little sister was born. I was three and, because I wanted a brother, I assumed that's what the stork would bring me. When I got to the hospital with my Nana and saw the head of brown hair and that chin that runs down the MacDonald side of the family, there was no doubt...the stork had betrayed me. 

My tears didn't last long; Mairi and I get on better than any other siblings we know. We're chalk and cheese and I suspect she wouldn't like me much if we met in "real life". I've always had a chip on my shoulder about how much prettier she is than me and how much the rest of the family likes her. There are probably things about me that she envies but I could never see that when we were growing up.

We both inherited a hormone condition that manifested as mental health problems including anxiety and depression (on top of what Mairi calls my "textbook" PTSD). We come from a family that constantly talks about feelings - my mum is training to be a counsellor - and we've always been each other's crutches in the really shitty times...and there have been plenty.


My best friend is also called Lauren (confusing for some, lovely for us) and we met in 2005 on MSN through a mutual friend. We spent our late teens going to Hadouken! gigs, making out with inappropriate boys, wearing a lot of eyeliner and falling in love with each other. She was homeless for a while and her mum died in a way that was simultaneously not a shock but also immediate and crushing. She had to claw her way through the last year of university and I was nearly a five hour drive away, feeling helpless.

These two girls are my whole life. And last summer, they both moved to Australia.

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I didn't notice they were gone at first. I lived so far away from them anyway that it wasn't unusual for four, five, six months to pass without me seeing them. The internet meant I could message them on Whatsapp as much as I ever had. 

When Mairi sent me a picture of her ex boyfriend's new girlfriend so we could say mean things about her (I know, I so want to support all women but this is just something we do for our friends) I felt a little pang of sadness. This is what I've been missing from them. They've done something life changing that, for the first time, I don't have a front row seat to. It's so hectic trying to keep up to date with the big stuff that we don't do the small things as much.

I go to visit them in four weeks and you know what I'm excited about? It's not being on the other side of the world, hot weather and beaches. It's closing the curtains and watching La La Land together, or finding a nightclub that plays the emo hits of my teens. I can't wait to be with them again. I think it's been healthy for me to lose my safety net for a while but I need my girls back.

 

Lauren Aitchison