No – not West Virginia. South West Bromsgrove in fact.
At a party with some friends I hadn't seen for nearly twenty years.
In the final chapter of The Last Battle, where all the good characters from the Narnia series meet up in the New Narnia, C S Lewis writes, "And there was greeting and kissing and handshaking and old jokes revived (you've no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years)."
Well, it wasn't quite as long as that, but those jokes still sounded good.
A little earlier in the book it's said of one of the characters, meeting another in this wonderful place, "At first he thought she looked older, but then didn't and he never could make up his mind on that point." And so it was with us.
"You haven't changed a bit!" was exclaimed in voices of delight. And, "You must have a picture up in your attic, with all the lines and wrinkles that should be on your face but aren't!"
Nonsense of course! We have all aged. We are all a little heavier. There is grey hair or less hair (for the men, naturally: we women never go grey until we choose too), there is more tummy in a couple of cases and a few laughter lines for all of us. But what we actually meant, and the reason for the delight, is that our friendship is still there, as bright and warm as ever it was.
We've all been through hard times. Some of the talk was about Moodscope and which anti-depressants have worked or are working best for us. We were able to share about those hard times face to face in way you just can't on the virtual meeting place that is Facebook.
Circumstances have taken us out of each other's spheres. Where once we all lived within a few miles of each other, now we are scattered across the country. Once we performed music and poetry together regularly. Now the musicians still play, but for different groups, and we writers find that our writing has moved to prose: not so conducive to performance.
We have kept up contact of course, but nothing can replace the warmth of human touch. I spent the entire evening in some kind of physical contact with my friends; holding hands, hugging (there was lots of that), casually leaning against one friend as I talked poetry and literature with another. Oh it was so good to be back among musicians, writers and artists. I've missed that so much. I didn't realise how much until it was restored.
It's unlikely we will ever work together again as we did twenty years ago – life moves on. But it was great to be with them again, even if just for an evening.
And yes – it was a foretaste of heaven. To see old friends and to find that the love we bear for each other is still strong. In fact, as we have grown in faith and maturity during those years, we love each other even more.
In fact, it was just a damn' good party!
A Moodscope member.
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