I have always been a bit of a recluse, preferring to stay in. I am dreadful at replying to texts, so I can drop out of the loop quite easily and withdraw into myself. It’s definitely easier, although it would be a lot more lonely if I didn’t have my twin for company.

However, since Christmas I have learnt the true value of friendship. Properly. I knew friends were there to have fun with, to help you when you’re down, but when I am upset I withdraw from everyone. This was my automatic response until something happened which I couldn’t respond to in the normal way, because this wasn’t everyday sadness. So I shared, and I was warmed by my friends who were There, and being There made a difference.

My best friend and I have a relationship which entails fisticuffs, not talking to each other for a few weeks and then shouting at each other about it, and me trying, unsuccessfully, to steal her green shorts. We often tell each other what we are having for lunch, and plan to spend retirement together, bickering like an old married couple.

The other day, after we went food shopping for the family (preparation for our future lives) she made me lunch. I have been surprised by how much she has taken to cooking while at university, and so I was excited to see what creation she came up with. She made me Eggs Benedict, something I’ve never had, and it’s quite simple, but if I tell you that since then I have had it twice more, you can guess it went down a treat.

Buttered breakfast muffins, deli ham, poached eggs, a pinch of salt and warmed hollandaise sauce. Firstly, the colours made it seem like the sun was shining even in the freezing temperature: yellows and pink swirled together creating a marbled effect which was artistic in a homely way. Putting the first mouthful into my life was like letting a light beam gaze on to me for the duration of the meal. Soft textures, salty ham, rich sauce, runny egg, delightful. Comforting.

Opening up to friends has more advantages then I ever knew of before. Sometimes it emerges that people you trust can be MEAN. But not the ones that are there unconditionally. I’m sitting in my bed right now, but just beyond my fingertips and out of my sight is an unmoving presence of friendship that encircles me, protecting me. I’m not good with feelings, but they know what they mean to me.

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