As I was about to get in the shower this afternoon after working out at the gym, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number (it was a 917 area code, so local). I couldn't believe it when it was my best friend from college--Harry. She's in town for just a few days, which is a miracle in more ways than one as she has a fear of flying and has only flown twice since she was 17.
I love Harry to death but she is notoriously late and awful with plans. Already, we've planned to meet once and she's had to cancel. Back in the days before cellphones when we were undergrads at the University of Kent, I'd wait for her outside Boots in the High Street for hours. She'd always swear she'd make it by 10 am, and often wasn't there until 1 p.m., always with excuses. We lived in the same college, so I don't really understand why we didn't agree to meet by Lord Rutherford's bust in the quadrangle--equidistant from both our rooms--and get the bus in together. But I guess that's the mindset of 18 year old girls. No matter how hungry, cold or frustrated I was with her, I couldn't stop smiling when Harry rushed up to me, carrying at least two carrier bags, explaining all the reasons why she was late. Half the blame has to be mine for believing she might actually make it into town on a Saturday morning by 10. Of course, I was always up for breakfast--they served it only until 8.50 am and I wasn't going to miss out on a meal or coffee that I'd already paid for. Besides, I had a fondness for the rubbery toast and small slightly damp wrapped butter portions and the weird but strong coffee made out of some liquid concentrate.
Harry is a character and a wonderful human being. I'll get to see her on Friday (alas I teach all day and most of tomorrow night with an 11 am-10 p.m. schedule), but she leaves Saturday and it is such a shame she isn't here for longer. I haven't seen her for three years, but hopefully, this Christmas she'll have time to get together in London or somewhere between her home and mine. Regardless of how little time we'll have together, I am utterly thrilled that she's here and that I'll get to see her soon.