The Friend

“So, that’s all we have time for on the programme this week.”

There’s a soothing aspect to having the radio on as a constant background noise. It is something that I feel strongly about and as a result, my house is never quiet. Whether I’m leaving it on so that Poppy, my Spaniel, doesn’t feel lonely while I’m out in the day, or to keep my mind focused on the words being said so that it doesn’t wander into those dangerous dark places, I always have sound.

Poppy’s favourite station is Radio 2, though she does like Heart FM on Sunday’s – musicals and love songs aren’t her thing. I particularly enjoy Radio 4 for it’s discussions and the peaceful tranquility that comes with it. I feel I learn something merely by having it playing out even if I’m not listening and, most of all, I feel like I have company when I am alone.

I find Sunday’s the hardest days to cope after everything. Sunday morning television is hideous and currently I haven’t a good book to indulge in. I love to lose myself in fictional worlds but it has to be the correct, gripping read and my taste is becoming pickier as my age increases.

Poppy lay on my lap sound asleep but in a state whereby if I move she will know instantly and pine for me to return. I can sense it and, apparently, so can she. Stroking her soft fur brings me calmness but otherwise I am fidgety and restless. What to do.

I press my phone and there is nothing. No messages, no likes or comments on social media, not even a breaking news broadcast. Nothing is going on.

Outside is cold but sunny and bright which brings envy towards my friends with kids and perfect families, probably playing outdoors or off out for lunch at a country pub that they saw recommended in the paper. I rarely envy children having made a conscious decision not to have them, but times like this I do.

Breathing in slowly and out deeply relaxes me further but only for a second when a car pulls up onto next doors driveway causing Poppy to bark loudly in attempt to warn possible intruders off. She fails to realise that they live there and it is perfectly within their rights to park up.

I tune back into the radio that has been playing throughout my morning and chuckle slightly at the comedians. Even though I don’t find them very funny at all, I feel I should at least try to laugh on occasion today.

The day suddenly feels huge with an expanse of time to fill in which I have no plans and nobody to plan with. I pick up the paper and attempt the crossword to add productivity to my day. At least I will have achieved something that way.

The first clue. Seven down. I can’t do it.

The door rings. Jenna.

“Oh hey darling, I was just checking in. See if you’re alright. Martin has gone out with the kids. I wanted some time to myself.”

Imagine that, I think, wanting some time to yourself.

“Lovely to see you.” I say, genuinely so grateful for her presence.

“Here, look. I brought a bottle. It’s up to you but I really fancy one.”

“It is the weekend after all,” I agree, pretending I’ve got it all together with my normal, upbeat response.

I take the perfectly chilled bottle from her, my thumb prints marking the icy casing and put it on the kitchen side while retrieving two glasses from the cupboard.

“I’d usually not consider drinking before 1pm,” I say with a smirk.

“This isn’t a usual day,” replies Jenna, reassuringly but making me question her mental state as well.

I pour equally generous measures into the glasses and smile at the sound. I smile at the sudden buzzing feeling inside me. A feeling I’d forgotten about.

“Cheers to friends,” we both say simultaneously.

The first sip and I am reminded how lucky I am.

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