I met Robin after work on Friday for what was supposed to be a few civilized drinks. We were drinking Pimm's for eff's sake; you can't get more civilized than Pimm's. It had been a while since Robin and I had a proper visit; one that didn't involve kitchen gadgets or noisy puppies or time constraints. A few drinks turned into many drinks and the next thing you know, we're sitting in an Irish bar with a bunch of English blokes. That is the type of night you have when you're friends with Robin.
I've known Robin since her family moved to my neighbourhood almost twenty years ago. We were in the same grade 2 class. We bonded over a shared love of the Skip-It (I had one; she didn't; a great friendship is born.) Robin is one of those forever friends; one you know will always be there. The problem with that, of course, is that when you know someone will always love you, you don't always spend enough time earning that love. Since moving out of the city, I haven't made enough of an effort to be Robin's friend. I've been phoning it in for a while.
I have my justifications: my stressful job, my soul-sucking commute, my attention-hogging puppies. What it all boils down to, though, is that I've been avoiding the city. I see Robin when she comes out to my place or we meet after work for a quick drink. I don't come to the city specifically to see her. Friday night made me realize why. I miss the city. I miss the seawall and the chilled-out atmosphere of a lazy summer afternoon spent on the beach. I miss walking home from work and being able to hit a grocery store, liquor store and drug store all on the way. I miss catching a $7 cab ride to the Granville Strip. I even miss the ankle-turning cobblestones of Gastown.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I told Shawn that I want to move back downtown. We've been talking about buying a house but that would entail moving out to the suburbs. The real suburbs with lawns and backyards and no highrises or transit system. I could sacrifice my dream of having a garden and he could give up his hopes of ever having a home studio and we could happily live in 550 square feet of prime Vancouver real estate. Right?
Shawn, surprisingly, wasn't totally against the idea. He misses the city as much as I do. It's not something we could do in the near future but it's an idea that is now brewing in the back of both of our minds. For now I need to stop punishing myself for moving away from this city I love and work at being a better friend to Robin. After all, a friend with a sweet downtown address is not someone you want to lose touch with (I kid, I kid.)
(Okay maybe not, but I do love Robin for more than her awesome apartment.)
(She also has really gorgeous clothes that she lets me borrow sometimes.)