x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Catching up with old friends

Current lives are not what we expected as teenagers.

At 10.10am, on the 10th of October, 2010, I found myself at my desk, preparing for a private viewing of the world's most expensive diamond. A working day for a journalist, much like any other, but not the situation I had pictured myself in as a young teenager. Sometime in 1998, six friends and I made a pact to meet up, on that very date and at that very time, to see where our lives had taken us. The location for our rendezvous was to be the McDonald's in the centre of Glasgow. Perhaps not the most salubrious of locations, but an epicentre of sorts for us. Aged between 14 and 15 (I was the youngest of the group) the thoughts of where we would be, that far in the future, ranged far and wide. Lynsay, we all steadfastly agreed, would be the first to marry, the first to have children, such was her family-orientated nature. Kirsten and Kirsty would also be married (the latter to a member of Take That) while Leigh would be living her dream, working as an artist.

Lynsey Allan (we always referred to her by her full name, no matter how much she may have disliked it) would, on the other hand, be doing something crazy. How could she not, we mused, given her role as the most adventurous and carefree of our group? Lawra, whom we affectionately referred to as Saki, and who even then was the most glamorous of our motley crew, would no doubt be living the high life, working in some high-powered job. As for me? I recently asked my friends where they had thought I would be.

"We can't remember," they said. Either that or they, like me, couldn't even begin to guess where I would eventually end up. Inevitably, perhaps, our teenage predictions turned out to be wide of the mark. Something, in hindsight, I'm sure we are all eternally grateful for. And as the years passed, inevitably, some friendships formed a stronger bond than ever, while others came undone. But, regardless, we all remained in contact, every so often reminding ourselves of our impending pact.

And after all those fights (oh, those fights), all those late-night chats, and all those shoulders to cry on, it is with a sense of pride that I say we stuck to our promise - albeit Saki and I via telephone - the lure of friendship more than enough to drag five of our group out of their bed on a Sunday morning. As for Saki and me? We'll be there at the next meet, 10 years from now, come rain, shine, or the small problem of being thousands of miles away. I, for one, can't wait.