"I'm going to stay with you. If you go to jail, we might as well both go."
Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
We gave up writing each other's address in pen and as I continued to move across the US, Mandy headed to Europe. She danced, I taught and dreamed of ways to visit her. But kenneling five dogs and flying four people to Germany or England was never in the budget. Pictures, cards, letters, and email stood proxy for the other.
Our friendship was not defined by our husbands or children, as many military relationships are, but on the joy of being together. She understands the importance of pajamas and chocolate, literature, drag queens and hedgehogs named Nigel. She has the courage and intelligence to follow her heart and last week I finally headed to England to see her. She was getting married and I was in the wedding.
Penstemon 'Alice Hindley' taken at the gardens at Hampton Court
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."
Opening lines to Love Actually
I heard her before I saw her, her voice carrying above the crowd. I spun to the left to see her ducking under the Heathrow security railing and barreling towards me. She grabbed me, her strong arms tight around my shoulders. "I can't believe you're here!" Not being there was never an option. I was with Mandy and I was home.
Having a pint at the John Snow pub in Soho, London. John Snow is considered the father of epidemiology and public health. He helped stop the cholera epidemic of 1854.
Mystery rose from a garden in Salisbury
Campanula, Russian sage, salvia, and yellow daisies in the long border
Yellow mystery rose
Phlomis (Bethlehem Sage), cotinus (smoke bush) and an epimedium in a
cottage garden near the Salisbury cathedral
Cotinus (Smoke Bush) and a tall pink climbing rose - Salisbury
Foal in the New Forest