Thursday, 12 March 2009

someone i know: rach

The day that Rach started at the place I used to work, I knew we would be pals. I remember talking to her that first morning in the office’s kitchen as I unloaded the plates from the dishwasher. We were both wearing jeans and trainers; the talk came easily. That night, sitting at the big kitchen table in my borderline-derelict share house, a housemate asked how my day was. I answered happily, ‘I met a girl who’s going to be my friend!’

Rach was different to the other girls who worked there, who were mostly pretty, primped and perky account managers. She swerved between effervescent enthusiasm for obscure kinds of pens and cats and art and baked goods, and moody, solitary disdain. She liked Roots Manuva and Steve Reich. She could draw better than anyone I ever saw. She talked about the full sleeve tattoo she wanted an artist to design for her, about swanky hotels she wanted to stay at, about Sweden in summertime.

We went to New York together and she was sad and distant for much of the time, struggling to be away from the boy she was falling in love with. But the freezing December day we got the Circle Line ferry around Manhattan, she suddenly sparked into fizzing life and drew, with utter ease and certainty, the skyline of the entire island.

For a few years we dated boys who lived together. We saw more of each other than at any other time in our lives. But it was less somehow – both preoccupied, running in different gears.

I left that job; took another. Rach and her boyfriend broke up. She changed jobs, too. We drifted.

I don’t even remember how it was resuscitated – just suddenly, there she was again, and we were eating lunch together, talking about men with beards and hatching plans to make robots out of cardboard and watching John Cusack films and trading pictures of cats with weird expression to shake each other out of the doldrums.

For Christmas, just before I got on the plane to fly home to Australia, we went out to drink martinis and Rach gave me one of the most wonderful presents I’ve ever had. It was a care package, full of everything she thought I’d need for such a long flight – Green & Black’s chocolate, small felt-tips and a colour-paper notebook from Muji, a tiny tube of Chanel face wash, an Iris Murdoch book we’d talked about, an eye mask and earplugs that allowed me to carve out 5 solid hours of sleep in that endless night.

She hates having her photo taken. She teaches herself impossibly difficult programming languages on the computer. She dances better, makes better chocolate cake and wears the best socks of anyone I know. My friend said, after meeting Rach for just a few hours, ‘She can do anything, can’t she? Talented gal.’ He’s right.

I call her Razzamatazz, or sometimes Racquel, or Razzle, but she’s one of the few people in the world whose true name is the one they were given at birth. Rach.


rachface said...

i thought you were amazing. the belt you had made with all the buttons on. it was like a sparkly tiara to a magpie.
i hope that when we are old and grey we can still have lunchclubs where we can bore our grandchildren to tears with stories and anecdotes of jamie lidell concerts, art clubs, giant marauding robots, watercolour circles on postcards, beard love, cake love, tea love, art love, craft love, sweden love, new york holidays, beachhouse sunshine, dancing antics, friday tune stupidness, salmon noodle soup, gin and bartenders, breakfast and champagne, walks in the country, handdrawn postcards, whitney houston and how she really always just wanted to dance with somebody, cardboard cutout cats, giant birthday cakes over many many birthdays, mini eggs, bookshops, ex boyfriends, present boyfriends, future loves, that time we did this, that other time we did that, halloween parties, tree houses, bison, david shrigley wonderessness, origami almost camels, hopes, dreams and even more importantly friendships xx

Su said...

This is one of the most lovely and endearing friend declarations I have read.

Lucky 'yous' to have such a friend to each others like that. Cherish it deeply from the bottom of your hearts.