Letters From Lockdown 48: Imogen Brighty-Potts

Dearest Georgia May,

First of all, happy 21st birthday.

In ten years of friendship, growth, change, celebration, fear and laughter, we have seen in a fair few birthdays side by side. We’ve been sunburnt on a boat in Paris, we have had a cardboard cut out of Matt Smith era Doctor Who, we have been to the Natural History Museum for a sleepover (and one of us may have had to leave early because she had glandular fever). And this year, the big year, we can’t be together.

It is really rough, because I really want to crack open a bottle of prosecco, and dance around with you and Kristie, eat loads of cake, and get dressed up. But I know that will happen as soon as possible. Me and you, George, are old reliable. I know whatever time, day or night, I could show up at your doorstep and you’d make a cup of tea and hold my hand. Despite everything that has changed in the last 5 years, one of us leaving school, going to different universities, family illness, mental health difficulties, messy friendships and breakups and general life stuff; we’ve always had each other.

I am sad I can’t be with you today. But, I’m also not. Because I know how great it will be when we are together, inevitably again, celebrating every birthday that we share with a bit of extra oomf because of this one not spent together. I’ll be toasting your 21st with copious amounts of tequila right up until your 90th.

Friends have moved in and out of both of our lives, some for the better and many just ships in the night. I love your friends dearly. Camille and Daisy are a gift from above. After that first week when you started uni, how hard everything was, how much I just wanted to get in the car and sleep on your floor until it was all alright, you having friends as sweet, kind and caring as them is amazing and I am so grateful to you for introducing them to me. Sharing adventures together, particularly up a mountain in a buddhist monastery, 9 hours from Kathmandu, alongside Katy, was a dream. I can’t wait to travel together again (maybe with less in our backpacks this time though). And of course, me, you and Kris, will have a thousand more beaches to lie on, seas to run in and jellyfish to be stung by. We will have more dances to dance, tears to cry and pub nights together. And when you cant remember the little things from our childhood right through to the big wide world of being a ‘grown up’, I’ll always have some photos at the ready to jog your memory and embarrass us. You and your family, became my family too, and vice versa, in spite of our instant and very vocal dislike for each other, age 11. Thank god we reconsidered.

It feels like life itself is changing forever right now. The heady mix of a global pandemic and graduation looming, there is an essence of progress halting and accelerating mingling. But I promise you this, wherever life takes us, however much changes, I’m here. Always.

Happy birthday, sister. Thank you for being my soulmate.

I love you most,

Ims xxx

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