Jo

The thing that sticks in my mind when I think of Jo was the time she told me she hated me. She was reading out things in her diary she had written about me and then sort of just brushed over it. The next day she handed me a letter that explained the reason she hated me was because she had put up a wall, she didn’t want anybody else to get close to her – but I had. Saying that she had a very funny way of showing it and I can honestly say I’m not sure she even liked me half the time (or most of the time) getting more eye rolls and sighs than I can remember

When I got the phone call that Jo had passed away I felt like my heart had truly been broken into a million pieces and I don’t know if all of those will ever go back together. Instead of going home I went to the pub we used to drink in sat in our old seat and I drank, I laughed and I cried. People deal with things differently and that’s where she’d have wanted me to be.

In third year of High School we were assigned seats beside each other, neither of us where impressed by this and soon persuaded a friend to swap seats so we could escape. The thought of this always makes me laugh because after we became friends we would scramble to sit next to each other, although it never lasted long, there would be too much giggling and making of faces and we’d soon be split up. One time we both got hauled out of our maths class for making Chewin’ the fat character faces across the room.

It escapes me now as to how we actually did become friends, I think another friend and I had been sitting alone and we had been invited to have lunch with her group of friends. After weeks of waiting to be been invited we finally took the hint and knew we were welcome.

That was it from then on, you didn’t really get one without the other and I can’t actually remember her not being there she just always was.

I remember when she moved to London to go to University; we were both heartbroken to be splitting up. We went to the pub and had some drinks before walking home together. We walked so so slowly because we didn’t want that night to end. We held hands so tightly that the next day I had bruises on my fingers from where hers had held mine. I told her I wanted to come with her but she told me “no, you have to stay here and meet your husband”

I was always so in awe of Jo and couldn’t understand why she would choose me to be her friend and share so much of her life with her. I never thought I was smart enough or funny enough to be friends with her. This led to me letting her get away with bossing me around because if she thought I was useful she’d keep me around. This was ridiculous I’m fully aware of this and this would never have been the reason she was friends with me. She was just a bit lazy and I was willing to go and get her stuff.

I remember when Jos illness started to become a problem and she was in hospital a couple of times a year with chest infections. I’d go in on a Saturday night to the hospital to watch Xfactor (it might have been actually Pop Idol in those days) and the nurses would make me cups of tea and not mind that sometimes I was in the bed beside her eating her fruit pastels. The nurses showed me how to do her IVs so she was able to get discharged early after one stay and I would have been able to help.

Straight to the pub like a couple of idiots we went. Oh my god, sitting at her dining room table later on trying to “flush” the IVs… *rolls eyes*

She never let it get her down ever and she never complained about it.She was the person I knew who lived life to the fullest. I always used to describe her as being the first one at the party and the last one to leave. She never played on being ill, except when it came to meeting celebrities. I think she hated people knowing she was ill and it wasn’t information she would give out to people, it was nobody’s business anyway.

When we where teenagers we would write each other letters a few times a week (we didn’t have mobile phones in those days so it was the only way to communicate) we poured our hearts out about whatever drama I had worked up in my head to be a million times worse than it really was. She never got annoyed and always listened and offered the best advice.

I still have all the letters she ever wrote me. I’m not really much of a sentimental person when it comes to possessions but these are one of the only things I’ve kept from my early teens. Those and the mix tapes she made me. I loved getting mix tapes from her; she was so good at

making them! I on the other hand was hashy, could never get them to run to the perfect amount of time and you could always hear me pausing and unpausing the tape or the start of the next song. Each tape she gave me was a little masterpiece with each song name perfectly written on the box.

When we were 18 we ordered 2 fake IDs off the internet (we used our school photos for them – uniforms and all) and went off on a big adventure to America to stay with some friends we had met when they studied in Scotland. I still to this day do not know how we survived it was wild!

As I sit here now the thing that plays on my mind the most is all the things I never got to say to her or hoped she knew. She was my best friend for 18 years, she was part of me and I will always feel like I let her down in the end… and I will never be able to forgive myself for that.

She stood next to me on my wedding day, told me I looked beautiful and then complained that I hadn’t got her chicken nuggets when I had been out in the morning! She was the only other person I knew who thought it was perfectly acceptable to take an invisible pigeon for a walk. Couldn’t be bothered walking up a hill so made me push her. Knew the true hilarity of a side score or a fat dog. The person who would fart and make me guess what she had been eating. Could treat a shrunken packet of Wheat Crunches as a sentimental item or found having a beer in the shower more than acceptable. Someone who never thought it was too early for shots and would always stay another song…

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