A surprise package makes Polly Gillespie discover the essence of real friendship

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1 January 1970

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Polly Gillespie finds that friends come in unexpected packages. She shares why friendship spans across space and time.

The postman always rings twice – well, in this case, the courier always rings twice.

I was sitting on my bed, laptop open, trying to resist another Netflix romcom, when the doorbell rang. I sat quietly hoping they’d go away.

They went away.

I knew by the loud music and the slide of a van door that it was a courier. I hadn’t ordered yet another random thing online, so I figured whatever it was would not be for me.

About an hour later there was another ring on the doorbell. Another courier dropped another parcel off. Again the loud music and sliding of a van door. This time I was intrigued. Maybe Santa was affected by Covid, and had sent a super late elf?

On the doorstep was one big package and one small. The big one was for my daughter Katherine – who, by the way, has inherited her mother’s reckless style of ordering too many clothes online – and the smaller package was for me. I didn’t open either of them. Though Katherine’s looked tempting, I worried mine was old love letters from a scorned lover (don’t laugh, I’ve had similar before). So I went back to vaguely scrolling through Netflix’s woeful choices for me.

Later, when my daughter got home from work, I yelled, “Katherine! Package for you!”

She came running immediately. I looked at my little package and continued to ignore it. A few minutes later, Katherine burst in to my room. “It’s from Pearl!” she squealed through tears.

Pearl is Katherine’s best friend from school. They speak some weird best friend language I don’t understand, but they are as close as friends can be. Pearl left for England before their latest lockdown to be with her boyfriend, and Katherine has missed her terribly.

Just a couple of weeks ago Katherine said to me, “I don’t think Pearl and I are as close anymore and I’m sad. She has a new life and new friends.”

I gave her one of those looks only a mum can give and said, “Don’t be a dick. She’s in lockdown in a foreign country and is probably just trying to get by without her mum.”

Pearl had sent a gift box filled with all of Katherine’s favourite things, and a beautiful note that read something like, “My best friend. I know what a terrible 2020 you had. I love you and I hope 2021 is so much better for you! Love your bffl, Pearl.”

I decided to open my package. Inside was a whole bunch of smaller packages, letters, cards and bits and bobs. It was from my best school friend from age 10, Louise.

Katherine sat on the edge of the bed as I opened all my beautiful notes and letters. Inside was also a copy of our very favourite book from childhood, The Phantom Tollbooth, with little notes on various pages, reminding me of all sorts old adventures. The last thing I opened was a special greeting card version of Pass the Parcel. Cards inside cards inside cards, until finally, a piece of paper shaped like a fan, clipped to the very smallest card.

I took the clip off and opened the paper. It was a cheque.

There was also an explanation that it was for my teeth. I have terrible trouble with my teeth and have since a child. I couldn’t have milk so back then they gave me Ribena. Not the smartest recipe for great teeth. Louise wrote, “You must use this. I feel guilty about all the coconut ice and fudge we made after school as children. Please go to the dentist.”

I burst in to tears. Money has been a bit tricky post Covid, and never was a gift more timely – I will pay her back, but right now I feel so much relief and love.

Friendships – real friendships – are gold. They travel through space and time and dimensions. Two friends far away thought of my beautiful daughter and me and sent what we needed most.

Thank you Pearl and Lou. The depth of your love and friendship is unfathomable.

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