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The Last Time I Saw My Best Friend

by Junie Girl 

Posted: 02 March 2004
Word Count: 339

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The Last Time I Saw My Best Friend

It is an early morning, mid August day in the year 2001. Today, we will be leaving for London and tomorrow flying back to the U.S.A. on an early morning flight. As we dressed and closed our bags in preparation for our departure, every moment that passed
seemed to grow more poignant.

We descended the stairs of our friendís home and entered the dining room. There were John and my best friend Ella. She was removing the tea cozy and pouring our morning tea. She had wanted to make breakfast as usual but we had feigned the necessity to be on our way. My eyes took in the room as we drank our tea; the lovely mullioned windows, the familiar bone china cups and saucers, the sideboard with Ellaís lovely arrangement of flowers, the gas fireplace with the well chosen paintings over it, the packed book shelf each object seemed precious in its own special way. We all sipped our tea; it seemed to be a ceremony.

For a few short moments Ella and I walked through the kitchen and out into her garden. The garden that she tended with so much love was a testimony of her faithfulness. We spoke quietly murmuring over this blossom or that. She pressed a blossom into my hand.
We walked back into the house where we hugged and kissed and said our goodbyes.

As we walked out the front door my eyes turned to view the distant Pennines. Then the baggage stowed in the car, Robin driving and Julie next to him in the front seat, I was settled in the back seat and we drove away. There were Ella and John their arms entwined waving from the doorway of 119 James St. The instant it took for us to pass the doorway is forever locked in my heart and memory.

Twelve months later in August 2002, my best friend Ella died of the pernicious anemia she had fought so valiantly for eight years.

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Comments by other Members

Jubbly at 06:53 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
Junie girl this is a very tender and moving piece. You've used few words but conveyed a life, a relationship and a deep sadness.


Account Closed at 07:33 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
Beautiful JG,
You've really captured the atmosphere - parting is difficult enough but especially when you know it will probably be the last time. As you said "every moment that passed
seemed to grow more poignant." and it was the little details that made this peice strong.


Richard Brown at 13:35 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
Junie Girl,
This is very moving, as the others have already said. Not normally one for great detail, I loved the description of Ella's room, the mention of the china cups and so forth - very evocative and in a short compass you subtly portrayed some of the reasons why you so loved Ella .
I guess, though, that from the 'not too harsh' request you want some constructive comment. What would improve the piece for me are:
1. Tenses! It starts in the present then quickly becomes past. I found the change a bit distracting. 'It was an early morning..'with consequent changing of 'today' would give the piece greater unity I feel.
2. Some specific allusion to the weather? - either at the beginning or, perhaps better, when you mention the mountains. For me, and I suppose for others, weather always works, whatever it is.
3. Brief description of the Pennines? It's my childhood part of the world but many readers won't know them. And I feel it would really add to the atmosphere to read of something like the looming shape of Ingleborough, the colours of the bracken and the heather and so forth.
4. There's a repetition of 'blossom' at the end. I think things would be better without the repetition but in any case the prose would surely be greatly enhanced by a revelation of the kind of blossom which Ella gave to you. Her favourite? its colour, odour?

As ever, just my thoughts. I really enjoyed reading the memoir and I certainly look forward to seeing other pieces from your pen.

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