Met up with old school friends yesterday.
I arranged it, so why did I pick a day when I was 'on', with hair made out of actual lard, skin like a clogged up chip pan and belly bloat that over hangs my pants as the ultimate post natal eyesore? Fit. Oh no. Not fit at all. I always confuse those two.
If you haven't seen someone for fifteen years, you need to look good, even if it's your ex window cleaner. No matter how 'nice' the people, they're judging you. Can't be helped. Human nature. We all do it. So catching up with old bezzie mates? Who really knew you? Gotta look bob on. They did. Cows.
I looked harassed, stressed, bedraggled, unkempt, tramping in late and wet having messed about with prams and bags in the pouring rain on the car park. I swung through the doors juggling baby stuff, my temper and a whinging Poop who was kicking off for her dinner.
Amid my mood and the ridiculous level of my disorganisation, I don't know how I fitted in nerves. But I did. To think that last time I sat talking to these...well...erm...women?.. ha women! Like proper grown ups. No WAY! Anyhow, the last time I saw them I was a spotty little Nike Air Max wearing teen with an enforced bedtime, a subscription to Smash Hits and a penchant for putting off homework by painting my nails with Tip-Ex. I thought Impulse was the height of eau de parfum, that every hair on my body should be erect with hairspray, and that B*Witched were "da bomb".
They were a huge part of my life when it came to working out how to apply cheap make up badly, testing which boys it was socially acceptable to fancy and finding out how to lie to your parents most believably. Amongst the Will Smith posters, the Kickers school shoes, the mood rings and the hair mascara, these people were MY WORLD in 1998. They were the only ones ever allowed to babysit my Tamagotchi. I know. Proper trust that.
These girls were the reason I needed a £240 Berghaus ski jacket to walk the half mile to school in. These were the people I got a pair of Kickers to be like and spent five years saving up my pocket money for a Baby G Shock watch to impress. I have not a jot in common with TLC, Destiny's Child or Lauryn Hill but I spent my life learning every word of their albums and wandering round in dungarees with the straps hanging round my ankles to be "gansta"...in exchange for them all admitting that B*Witched were equally "boss". I made friendship bracelets by the truckload, bought Kappa jackets in bulk and graffitied my way through three hundred and twenty seven pencil cases. All to be part of THIS gang. In those gorgeous days when there was NOTHING more important.
But now, after all the pretending and fitting in, I've got a bit of proper life experience to throw into the mix. The sort that shows up after you've done stuff, and take all that growing up and make you smile about it, laugh about it, and realise that sometimes it was bloody hard work
So today, I sat there, and chatted with them, LIKE ADULTS. Because, well, we are.
I've got a Boo and a Dave and a mortgage and a job. I'm happy, and not just because I've found a limited edition can of Impulse (though the Diamond Jubilee variety is H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y.) I'm proper 'I like my life' happy.
We caught up and reminisced and told stories. It was lovely to be fourteen again, except this time with the added bonus of actually being twenty eight. We smiled, we hugged, we said we'd do it again and I was surprised to find myself honestly hoping we do.
I jumped in my car knowing that, although that the teenage me is definitely kicking about in here somewhere, I'm older, I'm wiser, and I've grown into having a damn sight more taste.
With C'est La Vie blaring from the Micra, I wheel spun maturely off the car park, checking my rear view mirror in the hope they all noticed what an absolute dude I am.