You know how sometimes someone comes into your life and there is that instant click and you feel like you’ve known them forever? There’s nothing specific, nothing glaringly obvious, and yet you just get on with that person and know that it’s gonna be a friendship that – come what may – will stand the test of time.
That’s how I feel about Mrs Beaver.
Now Mrs Beaver and I met each other when I lived and worked in Singapore a few years ago. Without wanting to sound like a sycophantic creep, if it wasn’t for Mrs Beaver I think I probably would have lost my mind over there. Not gonna go into specifics but our boss was somewhat… um… challenged when it came to being a boss. Which was kinda unfortunate and really quite disappointing.
However, with this common shared disappointment Mrs Beaver and I developed a relationship that was as much a way of surviving as it was a genuine love and respect of the other.
Plus the absolute stupidity of the pair of us as we tried to outdo the other with our antics. Coconut shells as horses hooves spring to mind. As does forming a conga line and singing ‘Love Train’.
Our offices were both in the same corridor. Well mine was an office. Mrs B’s was more of a wardrobe. Hence the Narnia analogies and how she became Mrs Beaver and I became Mr Tumnus. There was also a Lady Macbeth, but the least said about her the better.
Narnia and anything magical or sparkly or just downright silly became our thing.
Now when we weren’t being the stalwart and professional educators that we were, Mrs B and I would often be found in each other’s offices (though really, it has to be said, we were mostly in mine ‘cos Mrs B’s really wasn’t big enough for her, never mind the both of us) eating Digestive biscuits and putting the world to rights. We would sometimes be joined by Miss T or Queen Bee, but most people kept away because quite frankly I think they thought we were mad.
Mrs B and I had many shared experiences during my Singapore adventure, but the best one has to be the drama production we were both in. For lots of reasons that was a testing time for the both of us. Mine was down to mostly a case of mistaken gay identity which could have proved so cringe-worthingly embarrassing I’m even too aghast – even now – to go into details. Suffice it to say that Mrs B and I helped each other through very different but very difficult times and it was this moment in our relationship that things really cemented.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
People come and go from our lives all the time. Some of them are there briefly, and some are there for the long haul. Whatever length of time they’re there for, they’re in our lives for a reason. We learn from them. We learn about ourselves through them. To quote Mrs B, they become part of our story.
This weekend I spent a couple of days with Mrs B as she’s over here in the UK sorting out some personal stuff. She’s staying in her dad’s old place with two of her children. Whenever I go to visit – which is whenever she’s here – I am instantly at ease. It is a credit to her and her children that they make me feel like a member of the family. We talk. We laugh. We drink Lambrini and pear cider. We get ever so silly.
And I love it.
Now there is something very special about Mrs B’s dad’s house, and in particular the garden. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. It is one of those places that always lifts my spirits. I am always content there. It might be because of the people. It might be because it’s not where I’m used to. It might be because of the amazing scenery. It might be because of the love and warmth I know has permeated its very fibre over the years.
Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s actually a combination of all of those things plus so much more that I can’t really put into words.
One thing Mrs B and I agree on though is that it’s very Narnian.
And while we have yet to see a talking lion or a wicked witch we have both shared many a moment in that garden, come rain or shine, just being content and silly and serious and downright loving each other’s company. And knowing that Narnia will always be with us, wherever we may be.
And for that I am very grateful.