I found a place where we could all sit. I was on time, as usual, so I twiddled on my phone while I waited for everyone to arrive. The live band was playing and the place was buzzing with people and excitement. I was distracted by the sultry guitar strings; I didn’t even notice Panashe had arrived. I jumped up and hugged her. It had been weeks since I had seen her.

Panashe was the person you pictured when someone said “free-spirit”. I was the shy, wall flower type but she was the life of the party. She was loud and unapologetic. I’m sure everyone has that friend who just turns heads. Her effervescent personality was contagious. She knew everyone or if she didn’t know you, you’d be best friends by the end of the night. Although I rarely got to see her because she was on an adventure every other weekend, the times we did meet up we knew we would have fun. She was always trying to get everyone together for drinks or a movie-hell she’d suggested we meet at the restaurant today. From the time we had met at a mutual friend’s party, I can truly say I had come out of my shell in strides. She sat down and ordered a drink, “Why are these girls always late?” she asked and we both laughed.

It wasn’t long till Samantha and Gamu arrived. Samantha and I had been friends forever, I can’t remember when we actually became close friends, it just happened. I believe everyone should have a Samantha at one point or another in their lives. She was understanding and trustworthy-my confidant. With all friendship groups there is always that one person you tell your deepest, darkest, embarrassing secrets to. Samantha was that friend. She always had a listening ear when I had to talk about my boy drama, my crazy African household or an annoying colleague. I was so grateful that she was in my life because despite all my terrible decision-making, she remained in my corner. I could depend on her. That’s not to say that she didn’t have her own problems, but she had taught me to be positive even when your house is on fire and there is no ZINWA.

I had met Gamu just a few months . But she was those people who grow on you and you have no control over it. She had older sibling vibes. That girl who just seemed to have her life in order. She had a good head on her shoulders and the best part is that she wasn’t afraid to motivate you to be the best version of yourself. She had done everything expected of us-gone to school, graduated and started working at a top company in the CBD. What I admired the most about her was that besides following the straight and narrow she had opened her own business and she was following her dreams. In so many ways, I admired her and I wanted to emulate her. There were occasions where I would run ideas past her and she would prod and poke holes in my plans-assisting me to modify what I had come up with. After she had showered me with a multitude of “you can do this” and “believe in yourself” I was planning on starting a little side hustle of my own.

So we sat and ordered drinks while we waited for the last of our little gang to join us. And as is the custom where women gather, conversation turned from the best boutiques to buy clothes to gossip. Samantha expressed her dismay in how an old friend only looked to her when she needed something-be it money, a dress to go out or a business favour. Panashe chimed in about toxic friends-the truth is good friends are hard to come by. At a certain age you realise that some friendships don’t serve you anymore and you have to let go.

Finally, Bongi arrived, late as usual with a detailed explanation about how she had woken up late and all her plans had been delayed. We all laughed, rolled our eyes and told her we were starving because of we had been gracious and waited for her. Bongi was the sweetest, kindest person-till you crossed her. She had a big heart and protected her friends fiercely. In life you need people you can call to a fight. You know how sometimes you want to confront your man about his cheating ways, she was the friend who would drive the getaway car and probably speak up for you when you couldn’t. I also appreciated her honesty. She would tell you the truth if you were making questionable money decisions or if you were compromising your self-worth for a man. Honesty and loyalty are qualities we all need in our friendships.

The chats continued well into the afternoon. I was so glad to be spending time with my friends finally.

 

Sadly it’s still Corona time and I just had to let my imagination run wild for International Friendship Day. The characters are completely made up but I have based them on some of the best friendships I’ve had in my life. I believe everyone should have:

A Panashe-someone who will push you out of your comfort zone, and make you enjoy life

A Samantha-someone who will keep your secrets, and comfort you in tough times

A Gamu-someone who motivates and inspires you to achieve the goals you put in place

A Bongi-someone who is brutally honest with you

 

Which friend do you think you are?