Ted stooped to pick up the stack of post from the doormat. It was one of the lucky days. The personal and wanted out-weighed the circulars and bills. But then again that's Christmas.
Returning to the worn chair – half-drunk tepid coffee perched dangerously on the arm – with this morning’s delivery, minus a few already recycled items, he settled in.
The professional and official were soon dispatched with, as was the remainder of the coffee. And he could turn to the highlight of his Saturday. He revelled in this time of year. The charm of cards and letters from friends fondly remembered. Somehow both out of the blue and expected.
The first in a cream envelope addressed to A Friend of Ours. It could only ever be Guy. Guy whose name Ted had forgotten in his wedding toast. Every year the same joke, needling him about that momentary slip years before. What else could he expect from his childhood pal. He closed the card and looked at the Nativity scene on the front; he'd saved The Perfect Space for it above the mantelpiece.
An unforced smile came to Ted's lips accompanied by a shining of his eye. He was going to see Guy next week and the same thought kept running through his mind: How Can I Tell Him? Their childhood friend Sarah had died recently. Her family had asked Ted to inform the old crowd – considering how close they were. He'd been reluctant but then relented “I owe her that, back from When She Loved Me. Well That's One You Owe Me, Mrs Cash.
As his mind returned to the room he heard a song he used to listen to. Serendipity. It was Stevie's Song, at least that's how they all thought of it. Others knew it as I See a Darkness, but to the crowd from the Old Crown, it was always Stevie's. As much a fixture of the old town as the old lady who fed the birds. Sally's Pigeons were mythical back home. The kids would run scared as she threw seed after them her feathered friends given chase on her behalf. He heard she sometimes still showed up in the park. He never believed the stories but he wasn't going to chance it by checking.
He thought back to Sarah's last words to him. Ted had been one of the few who visited her and when he walked through the door she'd smile saying “You Come Through” as he tried to smile back. Then she'd start talking about The Three of Us and The Voyage they'd made to adulthood. Her and him and Guy.
Ted went up to the window. “I miss you, My Best Friend.”
Absent and Other Friends A-List Playlist:
Elbow – Friend of Ours
Avett Brothers – The Perfect Space
Jens Lekman – How Can I Tell Him?
Sarah McLachlan – When She Loved Me
Johnny Cash – That's One You Owe Me
Bob Evans – Stevie's Song
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – I See a Darkness
Cyndi Lauper - Sally's Pigeons
PJ Harvey – You Come Through
Smoke Fairies – The Three of Us
Crash Test Dummies – The Voyage
Weezer – My Best Friend
Best Buddies B-List Playlist:
Bruce Springsteen – Terry's Song
The Chills – I Love My Leather Jacket
Antony and the Johnsons – You Are My Sister
Carole King – You've Got a Friend
The Saw Doctors – Never Mind the Strangers
John Prine and Iris Dement – In Spite of Ourselves
Mel & Tim – Starting All Over Again
Randy Newman – You've Got a Friend in Me
The Producers (OBC) – 'Til Him
Queen – You're My Best Friend
Splodgenessabounds – Two Little Boys
The Rembrandts – I'll Be There For You
Guru’s Wildcard Pick:
United Bottles – A Brother and a Friend
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: All you need is: songs about platonic love. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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