Yesterday morning, I received the incredibly sad news that a friend from school had died in a car accident. Laura was 37, had recently got married and was expecting a baby boy.
She had so much to look forward to, but on Monday her life was snatched away. She leaves a daughter, husband, family and friends, whose lives are now changed forever.
I’m struggling to understand how or why this could happen. It seems so unfair.
As teenagers, Laura and I were close friends. We shared lots of laughs, got into a fair bit of trouble, and went on our first holiday together (sunny Scarborough). After college, Laura moved north, and started a family. I moved south to university. We kept in touch. Instead of the partying we’d done in our youth, we now shared book recommendations. Laura, like me, is an avid reader. She loved having a cosy night with cake and a book.
I’ve been thinking about Laura a lot over the past few days, thinking back to our childhood and teenage years. In fact, I went on my first ever run with her. We were sixteen and not very sporty, but Laura decided that she wanted to go for a run. She wanted to get fit. It sounded like a good idea. So one Wednesday evening after college we put on our tracksuits and off we went. We jogged to the end of the road (about 30m), turned left and jogged the 400m onto the main road. By this time, I was gasping for breath.
‘I’ve had enough,’ I said, slowing to a walk.
A car went past. It was a group of boys we knew, and they beeped. I was so embarrassed. The best looking boys in town had seen me looking sweaty and dishevelled, but worse than anything they’d seen me in trainers and a tracksuit. ‘Laura!’
Laura waved at the boys, but did not slow her pace. She’d psyched herself up for this run, and there was no way she was stopping. On she went, getting smaller and smaller in the distance. Then she stopped, turned round, and jogged back to me with a big smile on her face. ‘It wasn’t that bad,’ she said. ‘It’s a start.’
‘I’m not doing that again,’ I said. And I didn’t. Not for six years.
Laura meanwhile, repeated her run a week later. She was on her own, but she didn’t mind. Off she went, as determined as ever.