When I was growing up I always had a lot of friends. There was a gossip girl, a fashion star, a popular girl and then there was Kat.
Kat and I met some time in the 90s when our mums became close friends. Because of their friendship we were inevitably forced into each other’s company, which later resulted in a friendship between two girls who were different as night and day, apples and oranges, shoes and dresses.
Many sleepovers happened and many secrets were shared. As soon as one of us experienced her first kiss, a conference was immediately called to discuss that life changing event behind the closed doors of my bedroom over mum’s apple pie washed down with a pot of tea.
As our friendship blossomed, we seem to be doing everything together. We both learnt English; we took our first trips abroad for the first time within a year of each other, and in 2005 as the winter turned into spring, we both fell in love with the boys who later changed our lives forever.
When my mum suddenly passed away in 2006 and my daddy started behaving like a hormonal teenage boy in love with a pretty girl, who happened to be Kat’s mum, it felt like a natural course of events (even though the timing was a tad off). As much as I missed my mum, I really didn’t mind Kat’s mum being married to daddy. It also meant that Kat and I became stepsisters.
In the spirit of doing everything together, we both met our husbands while travelling – in my case the UK and in her case Sweden - and got married within a couple of months of each other. We then promptly swapped our typically Ukrainian maiden names for foreign married ones and left our motherland for good.
We started new adventures in our respective new homelands and because we both were new at this, we often called in to huddle. We confidently marched through the years, getting older together and learning the ropes of marriage.
When mine fell apart, Kat was at my side as soon as she found out. Loyal girlfriend as she is, she promptly unfriended my ex on Facebook and adopted the ‘all men are jerks’ attitude. Just to support me.
And as time went by and I fell in love with Mr Chateauneuf, she turned into a protective, fire-breathing dragon of a sister. She didn’t want me to get hurt again. Luckily in time he passed the test and nobody got hurt.
Living in different countries has never been easy and ever so often we organise girlie reunions. The latest one was in Alicante. The location and timing were meticulously planned, so were the outings. Given the fact that Kat and I are poles apart, we had to negotiate everything from food to which places we wanted to visit (if go out at all in my case).
But there was one thing we both agreed on – drink and catch up. And as the drinks were flowing the boundaries and inhibitions were dropping, we started talking real stuff – shoes, haircuts and relationships. We asked each other questions we’d been afraid to ask and to find out the answers.
And as the intensity subsided and we got everything off our chests, we started reminiscing. Neither of us could remember exactly how we met or the time that we hadn’t known each other. We talked about silly boyfriends and fashion mistakes we made, about our families, about good old days.
Careering down memory lane at full speed, fuelled by shots, G&Ts and Cosmopolitans, I couldn’t help but wonder, what if we married our school sweethearts? How would our lives have turned out?
And as we staggered back to the hotel in our killer heels, holding on to each other for dear life I had a thought. Life has been a real rollercoaster of events of the past few years – good and bad things happened. The highs have been thrilling, the lows have been scary. But no matter how scared or happy we were; we were lucky to have each other on the other end of the line.