When we first met we weren’t in the best of places. We were both homeless, and living and working in a hostel with 20 other strangers. We were free to leave whenever we wanted, but in reality we were confined there by poverty and lack of other options.
Ironically, “companion” was the moniker that the charity gave each resident, but the combination of draconian rules and insecure tenancies produced a tense atmosphere, often leaving people suspicious of one another. It wasn’t the ideal environment to form an everlasting friendship and indeed, we barely exchanged a passing glance in the first couple of months I was there.
It took another “companion” to threaten me with a knife before you could stomach an interaction with me. You put your little self in the middle of that exchange, even though I so could have handled it myself. Yes, OK Dom, I suppose you might have saved my skin. Well done mate. And it’s not like you remind me of it every spare moment of the day, is it? And now it’s in writing.
Really, you should probably wait for me to mention it and then graciously nod your head and say something humble like “It’s fine”, “Don’t worry about it” or “You’d do the same for me”. Reminding me that I “wouldn’t be able to enjoy that if it wasn’t for me” every time I take food out of the oven is just a bit much.
Anyway, after the knife incident we became really close. We talked about what we wanted to do if we ever got out of the hostel. We both wanted to move to London, you to become a magician, me a journalist. It is five years since we first met and, against the odds, we’ve both done what we set out to do, kind of. And it’s this that I have the most to thank you for.
Here comes the soppy bit, so prepare yourself, Dom. Yes, I wanted to move to London, study journalism and hopefully do it for a living one day; but it was an ambition so far removed from my reality that it felt like a fantasy. I thought my safest option was to stay up north. To continue bouncing between dead-end jobs and the dole office. It was our late-night phone conversations that convinced me to take a chance, and I’m so glad I did.
It hasn’t been easy down here, but it would be so much harder without your support. I have the most absurd worries and insecurities, but you sit there and listen to them, even though you’ve heard them a million times. You sympathise, provide constructive solutions and then gloat, of course, when you turn out to be right – prick!
I couldn’t ask for a better friend. You’re the wind beneath my wings, the reason I get up in the morning. Oh Dom, how I … too much? Seriously, thanks for being there for me, Dom.