It usually happens when someone distracts you.
You’re used to a certain routine; someone asks a question, and you put the keys in the fruit bowl instead of their usual spot.
You don’t notice the mistake until the next day when you need to drive to an important meeting.
The problem is easily fixed by using the spare keys; the lost keys are soon to be found.
Losing yourself is quite a different matter, as Georgina found out.
I’ll fast forward to the end and tell you that her friend Harriet was the one who found her, so now that you know it will be a happy ending, you can relax.
Georgina and Harriet had been friends since that first day at Kindergarten.
They crashed into each other in the playground, smiled, and a lifelong friendship was born.
They shared the intimate and the mundane and found them of equal interest. They had each other’s backs and their friends called them George and Harry.
Georgina’s parents had money and were ambitions for her. Harriet’s parents lived quietly and just wanted Harriet to be happy.
The friendship storm clouds gathered when Georgina received a scholarship to study at Oxford. If she chose to go, it would separate the friends for the first time in their young lives.
It was a tough decision for Georgina but in the end, she followed her parent’s wishes and took the long flight to the other side of the world.
Of course, there were young men and parties, but Georgina also applied herself and received appropriate results. She was a voracious reader, and this is what started her ordeal.
She shared a room with a girl from one of those tiny islands in Scotland, and both girls struggled with their respective accents, but as usually happens with young people, they laughed a lot and muddled through.
Their room was on the third floor and looked out across the square to the library.
Georgina came from a country that counted it’s recent history in a mere hundred years.
The room that Georgina slept in was part of a building that was constructed more than a hundred years before her country became a country.
She liked to sit in the window on the wide timber sill and devour a book.
From where she was sitting she saw the whole thing, or to be more accurate, she saw the aftermath.
She told the authorities what she had seen and from then on things went downhill very fast indeed.
She found herself in the middle of a controversy that would consume the college and almost everyone in it, and peace would not return to anyone’s life for many months.
Being a foreign student, suspicion fell on her. Her motives were questioned, and her character came under scrutiny. She had simply told the truth and said what she saw and now her life was in turmoil. She was not yet lost, but she was losing. Far from home and far from the strength of her friends and her family she struggled to understand what was happening.
When the situation seemed to be at its darkest, there came a knock on her door.
She opened the door, and there stood Harriet.
They smiled at each other as they had done all those years ago.
Harriet gathered her up and led her out of that room and within a couple of hours the two girls were airborne on the first leg of a long flight back to their homeland.
They had barely spoken.
They would not be separated again by distance or circumstance.
After a short holiday by the sea, Georgina resumed her studies.
Harriet started work at a small shop located very near to the university, and the two girls shared a house with a couple of noisy young men.
Careers and boys and husbands and babies and homes and families followed, but Georgina never again became lost.
She didn’t exactly find herself; Harriet did it for her, but that was the next best thing.
As we all know there are two things in life that sustain a writer……. constant praise and adulation……..and of course, coffee. I know, that’s three…… I’m a writer, not a mathematician…….. my coffee bill is enormous…… help!!
Enjoy my work.?? Then why not buy me a coffee?
I dropped it.
I didn’t mean too, it just slid off my finger.
Now, I can’t find the bloody thing.
It has to be along here somewhere.
George is sick of looking, but Harry is still with me.
We’ve been at it for half an hour.
I can’t go home without it.
It belonged to my husband’s grandmother; she left it to his mother, and she gave it to him to give to me.
It’s a beautiful ring but a bit old-fashioned, which is fair enough, it was crafted a long time ago.
I don’t think his mum thinks I am good enough for him.
I know that she thinks it is strange that my two best friends are men.
“Women cannot be friends with men. Men only want one thing, and it isn’t friendship.”
George, Harry and I have been friends since we were kids, and they had both tried it on, back when we were teenagers.
They fumbled around, and I let them, but it didn’t feel quite right for any of us.
“You’re dead sexy Veronica, but seriously, it’s like kissing my sister.”
Even now, I like that they ‘want me’, but don’t follow-through.
It adds a bit of spice.
I’ve got female friends, but men are easier to be friends with.
They say what they think, and they don’t play games.
They wear their hearts on their sleeves, and they are incredibly loyal.
And, they can carry heavy stuff, which comes in very handy, especially on shopping expeditions around Christmas time.
My husband understands.
He knows I’m a one man woman and I think he likes it that men find me attractive. I guess that makes me a kind of prize.
He bought me the red dress I’m wearing. He likes me in red.
It’s not my favourite colour, but it does look good on me.
We’ve been staying at a hotel close to the beach.
I wanted the boys to come down for a couple of days, and David said he didn’t mind. He’s off doing something important in the City today. He received a mysterious phone call last night and woke me up early this morning to tell me he was catching the 5 am Milk Train back to town, but that he would be back by 11 pm.
All very mysterious.
But, I shouldn’t be surprised, David has always been a bit like that.
When I ask him why we can afford our little cottage and be able to come down to the sea whenever we want he just tells me that it’s man’s business and it’s my job to look pretty. I usually take a swing at him when he says it, and I know he’s only kidding about the ‘looking pretty’ stuff, but even so, the money thing worries me a bit.
I’ve broached the subject with George and Harry on a few occasions, but they just roll their eyes and tell me that I don’t want to know, which just makes it worse.
If it comes down to it, I don’t know what George and Harry do for a living either.
When we were at university I read English, George read Economics and Harry did Chemistry. When I bring it up, Harry says he makes stuff, and George says he invests the profits. That’s all very well, but where does the money come from?
“The wonders of Chemistry.”
That’s all I get, then I get sick of asking, and we go back to looking for my lost ring.
It has to be along here somewhere.
Painting by Jack Vettriano.
If you enjoy my stories, then why not buy me a coffee?
Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?
This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.
Their names might have been Georgette and Harriette, but absolutely no one called them that, not if they expected to live a long and happy life!
George and Harry, as they preferred to be called, had been friends since before they could spell ‘friends’, and that’s a long time because George has been able to spell since she could walk. Which is not as impressive as I’m making it sound; she could spell ‘cat’ not long after she started walking but cat is still a word and so is hyperbole.
The girls were excited about a well earned holiday in Scotland.
I say well earned because they had endured working every weekend for the past two years in a sleazy cafe on the outskirts of Melbourne. They probably could have gotten better jobs at a better cafe but they wanted to stay together and to find one job was hard enough, two jobs at the same establishment seemed a bridge too far.
Instead of flying to Europe they went by oceangoing Freighter. [They read somewhere that this was still possible and their uncle, who worked on the docks, arranged it all for them]. The sea voyage took about two weeks as the Freighter had many stops along the way. The crew were very friendly and very protective of the girls. When they went ashore, a couple of the seamen would go with them and look out for them. Most of the seamen had families back on shore, and some even had daughters.
The girls arrived in Scotland toward the end of summer and decided to hike and camp wherever they could. This way they could save money and prolong their adventure. When the money ran out they would have to go home, so saving money meant a few more precious days of freedom.
While walking through Argyle, they stopped at a place called Gallanach, which strangely, did not appear on any of the maps.
The town had a castle and a strange mystical atmosphere.
In the hills around Gallanach, there were large mounds of different sized rocks. The girls thought they were probably left over from some ancient religious practices but Prentice McHoan, a young man who befriended them, told them the story that his father had said to him.
A long time ago there were fierce creatures that lived in Scotland.
The scientists called them Beliocloptus Arily but really, they were Dragons.
Despite what people believe about Dragons they very rarely ate other creatures and instead they preferred plants and even small trees.
To help them digest their food they would swallow stones and even small rocks to grind up their meal.
When a Dragon became too old, it would climb onto the hill, lay down and die. With time their bodies would be absorbed into the soil and all that would be left would be the stones that they swallowed to help them digest their food.
Generation after generation of Dragons would come to this spot and lay down to die, and the stones piled higher and higher until they formed these strange mounds.
Some people believe that the dragons died out because they chose to support the wrong side in a famous battle.
Others believe that they flew away from areas that were inhabited by people and went to find a safer place to raise their young ones, but one thing is for certain, they were once in this location for a very long time, and the stones are the remembrance of them having lived here.
Eventually, the money ran out, and George and Harry had to return to their lives in Australia. The going home took less time than the coming.
As time went by, as time is wont to do, that haunting story told by a handsome young man stayed with them, and they told it to their children as soon as they were old enough to understand.
Credit must go to Iain Banks and the story contained in his book ‘The Crow Road’ as the inspiration for this ‘George and Harry’ adventure