My Best Friend

I read the note and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.

***

Noah and I had been running together since we were in high school. We were now in our early twenties and he was my best friend. I had always got along with boys better than girls. They were less bitchy and had better banter and I just preferred their company. Girls would bitch about me and call me a slut but I had never slept with anyone and I had never even been in a relationship. Noah was my best friend, he had been there for me through everything and he was especially supportive when my Dad passed away earlier this year. He was amazing and I would be lost without him.

It was 6:20 on a Sunday morning and I called up Noah to make sure he was awake for our daily run. He answered, on the first ring, as always. Every day we ended up talking on the phone until we reached the meeting point to start our run which was a broken lamppost on the corner of our street. As I waited, I warmed myself up by jogging on the spot and doing a couple of stretches until I saw Noah jogging towards me wearing a florescent pink sweat band on his head with matching ones on his wrists. Oh, and matching socks. I stopped what I was doing and stared at him with a look on my face which quite clearly said ‘Go home and get changed or I’m running alone.’ Noah looked at me and burst out laughing, I can only assume it was because he knew exactly what my face was telling him as he swiftly took off the sweat bands. He left the socks but I think I could get past that. We began to run our usual route and Noah kept telling me about some argument he’d got into with his girlfriend the night before. They argued so much it was abnormal but if they loved each other I suppose it didn’t matter, I guess I was just sick of hearing about it when he could quite easily walk away.

My favourite part of the run was this small forest that had a little clearing with a bench and we always sat there for a drink and ended up talking for what felt like hours. I don’t know what it was about Noah but we always got carried away with conversation and it was comforting. The conversations varied, one day we would talk about how amazing it would be if animals wore hats and then the next day we could talk about our political views. It was just that kind of friendship and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Today’s conversation was about how we would react if it started raining rabbits. The outcome was that I would take as many as I could and keep them all whereas Noah said he would take as many as he could and make them into pies. And on that note, we got up and finished our run. When we got back to the lamppost, we completed our special handshake which we’d been improving and perfecting for over 10 years and gave each other a hug and wandered our separate ways.

I had a shower and got ready to go into town for some lunch with two of my friends; Matilda and Bethany, Tilly and Beth for short. I had known them both since primary school and it had always been us 3 but Tilly and Beth were closest and I was the tag along although, they still included me in most activities which was great. I decided to walk into town rather than get the bus because really, anything was better than public transport. I took my time because I knew they would both be late. It was a lovely autumn day, the air was warm but I felt a mild breeze against my skin every now and then, leaves crunched under my feet as I walked along the pavement. I studied the trees around me and the leaves were slowly dancing along with the wind preparing for winter. I found trees strange. They were the opposite of people. Imagine the leaves are what keep the trees warm, without leaves, the trees are bare and in winter, the leaves disappear whereas in winter, people wrap up and if jumpers were leaves, we wouldn’t be bare and cold. It sounds silly I know but I thought about it all the time at this time of year.

I arrived in town and to my surprise; Tilly and Beth were stood outside the café with huge smiles on their faces. I gave them each a hug and we strolled inside and chose the brown leather sofas near the open fire, none of us ever had to ask each other where we should sit, we always made our way to the sofas because that was our designated area every time we went here.

“So, I take it you’ve been on your run with lover boy this morning? Tilly said, raising her eyebrows.
“Lover boy? Leave it out, you know he has a girlfriend” I said shrugging my shoulders.

The thing is, my friends knew me so well that they felt comfortable telling me at least once a day that they knew I was in love with Noah and my answer every time was ‘He has a girlfriend.’ Which I suppose didn’t make it sound like I was denying the fact that I was in love with him but I wasn’t, well, I didn’t think I was but Tilly and Beth did and they were never going to believe otherwise no matter how much I tried to persuade them that they were wrong. The girls and I talked and laughed all afternoon and it was so good to spend time with them, it always was.

I got home and slumped myself onto my bed. I had in the morning so I needed to get some sleep but all I could think about was Noah ever since Tilly mentioned him in the café, I decided to give him a call to see if he wanted to come over and watch a film, it rang a couple of times which was extraordinary because he always picked up instantly. I heard a knock on my door so I left my phone on my bed and went to answer it. Noah was stood on my doorstep with tears streaming down his cheeks.

“She’s had enough. She’s left me.” He said under his breath.

I let him inside and make him a cup of tea.

“Have you got anything stronger?”
“Noah! It’s a Sunday night, you’re drinking tea or water.”
“Tea it is then…”

I sat next to him on my sofa and muted the TV. He explained that Sarah, who was his evil yet stunning girlfriend had come home late that evening and he didn’t understand what she possibly could want to do on a Sunday afternoon other than spend it watching rubbish tv with him so he asked her about it and she acted strange and he knew she was hiding something. He told me that he heard a car screech outside and Sarah ran up the stairs, all her bags packed.

“She didn’t even look at me, she didn’t even say anything. She grabbed all the bags and jumped into the car, I didn’t even see who it was.”

I never realised how much Sarah meant to Noah but now it was clear to me. All I wanted to do was give him a hug, so I did and he cried into me, almost falling asleep on my shoulder. It felt so nice. Oh god. Maybe I was in love with him. Or maybe it was just this moment; I hadn’t ever felt this before. I ignored it. He was my best friend and he was in need, so I soothed him.

“You know you’re welcome to stay here tonight if you don’t feel like going back to yours. ” I said, trying to sound comforting.

He nodded his head which I assumed he meant he wanted to.

“I’ll grab you a duvet and some pillows”
“Thank you Lucy.”

And that was that. He fell asleep on the sofa and I stayed wide awake in my bed for a good couple of hours. I was pleasantly drifting off until I heard my door creak open with Noah stood in his boxers by the door. He walked slowly towards me and sat next to me in my bed. I looked into his eyes, they looked sad. I saw his face slowly moving towards mine. My eyes widened. I panicked. What was happening? What do I do? He kissed me.

I placed my hands on his face and kissed him back, I knew I wanted to so I did. His lips felt so soft against mine, my eyes were closed and I didn’t feel like I had to open them, I just went along with it. My heart was beating so fast and I hoped he couldn’t hear it. I ran my fingers through his hair. He bit my lip. I lay on my back, he lay on top of me, holding my back tightly, my toes curled, my breaths became shorter, he kissed my neck over and over again and I was feeling emotions I’d never felt before, it was amazing. This felt so right but so wrong but more right. I didn’t want it to stop and it didn’t for most of the night. We fell asleep in each other’s arms so late that we both slept in and missed our run.

I woke up to the screeching of my alarm clock, it read 8:30am. My mind was flurried from the thoughts of last night, I rolled onto my side and Noah was gone and placed where he would have been was a small piece of paper. I read the note and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.

“Lucy,

Last night was perfect and I don’t regret it, not even slightly.
You’re beautiful, gentle and sweet and you’ve been my best friend for countless years but last night proved to me that I don’t just see you as my friend, I’ve fallen in love with you, by accident.

And the thought of you finding this out whilst I’m still around is enough for you to want to run away from me and I’m sorry but I just can’t handle that, therefore, I’m running away from you.

I am in love with you but we both know that’s wrong of me. You deserve better, someone else who is willing to take the time to learn to fully appreciate you.

Sarah came back for me and I feel like what I should do is go with her, away. Away from his place. Away from you. I suppose I do love her after all.

I’m sorry, maybe it is the best for you also.

Love always,

Noah

X.”

I threw the note on my bed, ran outside and kicked the almost broken lamppost until my foot began to ache as much as my heart. I collapsed to the ground and burst into tears. I was in love with Noah and he was in love with me but he couldn’t face it meaning I’d lost my best friend.

My Fighter

We’d been in love for many years,
I found out and broke down in tears,
Why had this happened to my girl?
I’ll miss her blue eyes and her curls.

I helped her get through her chemo,
Held her as she rocked to and fro,
She cried into me; I felt weak,
I held her face and kissed her cheek.

It was July when I lost her,
I won’t forget what we once were,
She was beautiful, smart and strong,
She had to fight it for too long.

I was only 16 years old,
I’d lost my love, my heart was cold,
She will always be in my heart,
She always was, right from the start.

My Late Love

I miss the love we used to share,
Snoozing whilst he played with my hair,
Kissing my nose to wake me up,
Making tea in my favourite cup.

When we were young we were so free,
Spending whole days being lazy,
Cuddling up on the old blue couch,
Tickling me as I laugh; ‘Ouch!’

When I see young couples in love,
I feel him with me from above,
Memories start to come flooding back,
He’s guided me along this track.

I think about what we once had,
The fact he’s not here makes me sad,
He was my first love. I, his last,
I wish that he had never passed.

Memories Of An Old Romance

I glanced at them both from afar,
As he helped her out of his car,
He was tall with a lovely smile,
Her eyes bright blue, shone for a mile.

I kissed her lips and held her hand,
Her hair was golden like the sand,
Her blue eyes made me feel so lost,
She was mine and lucky, I was.

His smile was the best of them all,
We laughed and joked sat on the wall,
He held my waist, we walked away,
He made every day the best day.

They looked so happy and in love,
The kind of love I was free of,
I missed my lover most at night,
Being alone wasn’t quite right.

Secret Crush

I had noticed him from afar,
Sat by the lake on his guitar,
I sat there alone in the grass,
And felt the time go by so fast.

When he was also by the lake,
I could feel my heart slowly shake,
I just wanted to know his name,
I think I loved him, it’s a shame.

He doesn’t realise when I’m there,
How do I tell him that I care?
He’d probably decide to run,
If I told him he was the one.

After all, he is just my crush,
Yet somehow he still makes me blush,
I just wish he’d acknowledge me,
Maybe he will, I’ll wait and see.

A New Love

A sudden rush of excitement,
Pierces through me like a thin thread,
I see his name on my phones screen,
I rush to answer it quickly,

Even the sound of his soft voice,
Put a silly smile on my face,
I could see my mum laugh at me,
And my cheeks begin to turn pink,

All of this was so new to me,
Boys and the stomach butterflies,
It was strange how happy I was,
But also how sad I was too,

I had let somebody in,
I had let my walls and guard down,
But I know he’ll treat me nicely,
So all I can do now is smile.

Her

I’ve never seen a girl so sweet,
I long for the day that we meet,
Her deep blue eyes make me stare,
And oh, the colour of her hair.

She reminds me of a princess,
I feel like I have to impress,
As cliché as I sound tonight,
I think it was love at first sight.

My eyes meet hers across the room,
I feel my heart go ‘boom, boom, boom’
It’s hard being a young boy in love,
When she is all I can think of.

I’d love to hold her all night long,
Sing to her, a lullaby song.
She’s so perfect in every way,
If only I could tell her hey?

Thylacine: Does the search go on?

David and I had always had been adventurous, even when we were children. I can clearly remember the days of our childhood when we would venture out in the rain and walk for miles with no clue about where we were even heading. We both shared a love for adventure and we were both as curious as each other. David was my next door neighbour, we lived next to each other practically all of our lives and when the time came for him to move away to University, well, we had already fallen in love. We were just kids but we used to knock on each other’s doors each and every day, whatever the weather, we always found something to do, it was such a perfect friendship and by the time we were at the age where we knew about feelings, I knew he was the one. Sure, I had experienced other relationships with different boys in my early teenage years but as I turned 17, I stopped being in denial and confessed my love for David and luckily for me, he felt the same. And here we are now, nearly 25 years old living in a lovely little house in Hobart.

It all began in 2001, I was 12 years old and there was an outrageous storm where we lived at the time and my mum basically forbid me from going out to see if David was around, I remember I was sat downstairs with her eating my dinner when a breaking news story was on the news that my parents were watching. I wasn’t usually interested in the news but this story sounded interesting. There were several people discussing with the journalist about sightings of a tiger. Not the tiger you have in mind though, this was a rare species and the news programme was referring to it as the ‘Tassie Tiger’ I stopped eating and my eyes were glued to the screen.

“Lana was picking up her mail and spotted the Thylacine near a swamp, she says it crossed the road 20 metres in front of her vehicle before racing into some thick scrub.”

“Robert describes the creature as the size of a greyhound, kangaroo like tail, grey body with light saddle, dark stripes through saddle with a hyena like face and ears. He made the sighting when driving towards Orbost and has no doubt that what he saw was Tassie Tiger.”

Hearing this on the news was making me feel like a kid at Christmas and I just had to share this with David, I too wanted to spot the Tassie Tiger! We lived in Biragolong and from what I gathered from the news; there had been a couple of sightings over the past few years where we lived. I was surprised that David and I had never spotted it. But that was soon going to change.

I remember the next day was excellent weather in comparison to the previous day but in Tasmania the weather was ever so temperamental, you would never know what it would be like until the day actually arrived. The first thing I did was knock on David’s door and I explained everything I had heard about the tiger and he too was just as excited as I was, I didn’t expect anything less though. Now because we were only 12 years old, our parents were very protective and we always had to be home before dark so we both knew that if we were going to plan an adventure to find this tiger, we would have to set off tremendously early. We spent that whole day planning our route and what we would take. It was thrilling. Exhilarating. Stimulating. And I was enormously looking forward to this adventure. We always had a good time but knowing that we could spot something with a possibility of getting on the news was a brilliant feeling! It started getting dark so I headed back home, waiting for the next day to arrive but I struggled to sleep, I literally couldn’t contain myself. I drew photos of the tiger and of David and I and what I was expecting of our adventure and I eventually drifted off into a deep sleep and I needed that because tomorrow was going to be a long, energy consuming day but it could not come quick enough!

***

Now that we are almost 25 years old you may think this is slightly odd but we have the drawings that I drew that night framed on our living room wall, we like to look at them on an evening and talk about what a wonderful experience it was and how close it brought us together, I will treasure those drawings forever along with the memories.

***

The day arrived, my alarm went off at 5:30am and I crossed my fingers that I had not awoken my parents. I remember tiptoeing downstairs with my little backpack and the route that we had planned out. It honestly felt like Christmas morning – that is the best way I can describe it. I quietly made my way out of the door and I didn’t even feel tired considering the time! David was already waiting for me at the end of the road. We both ran the first 10 minutes to get out of sight of the street in case our families suddenly woke up and spotted us. They knew we would be up to something! I mean, they knew were always going on adventures but not this early! And they were never this exciting…

We were at a walking pace now, playing daft games like ‘Eye spy’ and ‘Would you rather’ to pass the time until we made it to our destination. We were heading to the swamp where the woman on the news had spotted it because it wasn’t too far away but it wasn’t too close yet it was the furthest we had ever been.

“Let’s stop for a drink Sarah” David said with his smile that has stayed the same all these years.

We stopped for a rest and discussed what we would do if the tiger tried to eat us. We still laugh about that conversation today, we were so young and foolish! We had no idea what time it is but where we were sat was deserted, like a ghost town so we assumed it was still relatively early. After a lengthy break we continued to walk along the road to our destination. A lot of time passed but eventually we made it, I recognised the post office from the news programme and I knew that the swamp was just around the corner.

At first, neither of us really knew how to go about spotting the Tassie Tiger so for the first couple of hours we sat on a small plank of wood and stared at the road, David had binoculars and he was staring into the thick scrub at the other side of the road. I started to feel bored, this was not what I was expecting it to be and we had had so much more fun on our make believe adventures. Just as I was about to announce to David that I was ready to go home I looked at David’s face, he had turned very pale and he was slowly bringing the binoculars down from his eyes. I touched his arm. He didn’t react. I said his name. He ignored me. His mouth dropped and he stood up and began to run across the road. I had no idea what was happening but I felt a sudden rush of energy go through me and I automatically chased after him. I ran and ran but finally caught up with David, he was gasping for air. I was about to speak but he slammed the palm of his hand over my mouth and looked at me with wide eyes followed by a nod to the right. I knew this meant he wanted me to look to the right so I did so and hidden behind a tree was not one but two of what we thought was the Thylacine.

I felt my mouth drop and my eyes widen as I stared at the animals before us. They matched the witness’ on the television descriptions perfectly.

The animal wasn’t small but it wasn’t large like a Bengal tiger. I would describe it as the size of a fox. I wasn’t close enough to see whether its coat was hair or fur but from where I was standing I knew that it was a sandy colour with horizontal lines covering the surface of its back which were a darker shade of brown. It’s eyes were terrifying, very beady and I felt as though the animal was staring right through me, through my soul.  David tried to convince me it was a cat after we had been looking at it for a few more minutes but I knew it was a lot bigger than a cat and in the end he realised this too. They did not move for a good 10 minutes even though they had seen David and I. I began to feel a little on edge so I slowly backed away trying to bring David with me but he started to get his camera out of his satchel.

“David are you insane?! You can’t take a photo, you’ll startle it and we know nothing about it!” I whispered but you could tell I was terrified by my tone of voice. David seemed to ignore what I had just said and I felt angry so I stormed off back to the plank of wood we were sat on earlier hoping that he would see sense and follow me. He didn’t.

I couldn’t tell you how much time passed but it was a good couple of hours before he came back. He had taken a picture of the two tigers. I shook my head at him and called him a word which I shan’t repeat. We decided to make our way home but David insisted he got his photos developed on the way and I gave in and agreed because I wanted to stop off at the library and they were just across the road from each other. I stepped into the library and headed to the non-fiction section, I found a book about extinct animals and sat down to read it, in hope that there could be something about the Thylacine in it. I turned a few pages and finally came across a whole section. I read and read but I didn’t understand. This book was saying that the animal David and I had just spotted and the animal people on the news claimed to have spotted went extinct in 1936, that was years ago! I looked up from the book and David was stood in front of me staring at his developed photos with a shocked look on his face. I asked him what was the matter and he handed me the photos. I rapidly looked through them and the scenery of the photo was exactly the same as where we were stood when we saw the animals but the Tassie Tigers were missing from the photo and in their place was various faint circles that looked a lot like orbs. I then showed David the book I had found and we were both confused.

We walked back in silence. Both blatantly thinking about what had happened and whether this animal was make believe. I started dissecting this situation and I wondered whether I was daydreaming when the news was on because it was usually so boring, maybe I had made up that story… I didn’t know what to think.

We got home and I said goodnight to David and went inside. I asked my mum about the Thlyacine and whether she had heard about it and she told me she had no idea what I was talking about and my Dad said the same when I asked him. I stared out of the window as I ate my tea but I lost my appetite, I just wanted to know where I got this idea from and what we had seen in the scrub earlier in the day.

It boggled my mind for a good few weeks but David seemed to forget about it rather easily so that helped me forget it too. We didn’t go out for quite a while but that didn’t last long and we were back to our normal selves. Years passed and we eventually got into a relationship, things were a lot different now because we were a lot older.

It was the night of our high school summer ball and we were sat in the back of a very fancy car that we had hired. To get to the venue we had to go the route that we had done so many years ago when we had spotted the so called Thylacine. David reminded me of that day and we could just laugh about it now because it just seemed so ridiculous yet we were still both staring out of the same window and I know that I was wondering if I’d see it again. We didn’t.

A couple of more years passed and David was leaving to go to University in Melbourne, it was so hard to watch him leave after growing up spending every single day together but  I soon got used to it and I got a lot of work done whilst he was away.

I received a phone call from him half way through the year saying that people were speaking of the Thylacine in central Australia. I didn’t believe him at first but after doing a little research I discovered there had also been a few sightings in Australia. Whilst reading about all of this I noticed someone had submitted a post about their sighting experience and they explained what happened when they had taken a photo and it was exactly the same as what happened on David’s camera. I remembered I still had the photos so I went over to the box to have a look at the strange circles again. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The circles were no longer there but the couple of Tassie Tigers were. Staring right through my soul with their beady little eyes.


-Written for my lovely uncle who has recently moved to Tasmania! Love you lots Uncle Richard x

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