May 1st 2020
Some people you just connect with instantly – and they become your friend for the rest of your life.
I’ve had a few of those moments in my life.
Christabel was one of them. We met in the Uni “Megalab” (a huge room filled with computers for Uni students to use). I don’t know who started talking first, but within the blink of an eye, we were pouring out our hearts to each other. Christabel was far from home, in Australia on her own and feeling really lost with the massive culture shock and taking on studies. I told Christabel I was attempting a teaching degree for the 2nd time (I’ve tried over 7 bloody times in the last 25 years) and had to start over even though I’d already completed 3 years as the curriculum had changed.
A week later, she was moving in with me.
We’ve been best friends ever since.
Troy was another. I remember the night we met like it was yesterday. We met in the Church carpark on a Friday evening. The sun had just gone down and I’d been dropped off by my Mom or Dad and was walking to the entrance. I saw Troy – he had long hair, ripped jeans and a heavy metal t-shirt on – and he was rubbing wax onto the roof of his car.
Instantly attracted and curious, I wandered over to him.
“Do you surf?” I pointed to the surfboard wax in his hand.
“Nah” Troy answered and turned back to his car, apparently I wasn’t interesting enough to get a full sentence.
RUDE I thought.
25 years later, we’ve grown old together and seen each other through so many highs and lows I’ve literally lost count.
And then there’s Moiz.
We met at a job I was working in before Christmas last year. He was a security guard, so slight and thin I wouldn’t be surprised if a strong wind knocked him over. I didn’t really talk to Moiz on the day we met, because he started on a Wednesday which was my busiest and most stressful day of the week. My full attention was on trying to get 11 floors of stationery orders done before the lunchtime rush of meeting rooms, laptops and car bookings. “Amos” was showing Moiz the ropes and quickly introduced us at the reception desk. I was annoyed as the desk is already small – now we had THREE grown adults all trying to sit at the one desk for the entire day.
“Moiz that’s Janet…she’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet” Amos was so proud of me that it made me feel extremely guilty as I’d been slating him on this very blog for stalking me and being too much and too soon. My guilt came out as anger “I’m not nice” I spat out “I’m also very busy so don’t expect me to talk to you or be friendly…I have a lot on” and I turned back to my screen and typing and didn’t think another thing about it.
I do remember on that day – that Moiz barely said a word. Amos explained the security role and would stop to check with Moiz “All good?” every now and then. Moiz would just nod.
I was thankful I’d be sitting with a QUIET security guard once a week. I might actually be able to get some bloody work done.
But as the next few weeks went by, I found out that Moiz is only quiet and shy when he doesn’t know you. When he trusts you and lets you in, then the cheeky, sassy, sarcastic version comes out and that’s the Moiz I know and love.
I fell in love with Moiz. It took about 2 weeks.
(I truly believe there’s a type of ‘falling in love’ you do with your mates. A non-romantic one, but you end up pretty bowled over by them nonetheless. I’ve gone through it a few times with all of you reading this blog)
Before I knew it, Wednesday became my favourite day of the week; looking forward to smack-talking with Moiz all day. I couldn’t believe I got to enjoy the whole day sharing the same desk with a good mate AND get paid. Awesome!!! As much as Moiz complained and rolled his eyes, I could feel in my heart I meant a lot to him, too. He’d get annoyed if I had a Doctor’s appointment on a Wednesday, messaging me “Of all days, Janet. FFS. This is OUR day” and blessing me because it meant our days together were special to him, too.
I left that job and Moiz said it wasn’t the same without me. He called the new (really nice, really sweet) receptionist “that thing” because he was so protective over me. Moiz also spoke out on my behalf and I think that’s why he got fired only a few weeks after I left. They told Moiz he “just wasn’t the right fit” but I suspect it’s because he stuck up for me and wouldn’t let anyone speak badly of me now that I wasn’t at work to defend myself.
That means a lot to me.
We stayed in contact, messaging (me more than Moiz, bless) and trying to match our work timetables so we could have lunch together but it never happened.
Then last week, Moiz messaged ME. That never happens.
“hey” popped up in my messenger chat.
“Oh hey you!” I smiled. The boy misses me. He finally messaged me and wasn’t just responding to me messaging HIM for once. Happy days!
We’re not allowed our phones at work so I couldn’t read his reply, I had to put my phone back in my handbag under my desk.
I forgot all about it until later that night when Moiz sent a screenshot of my Facebook status talking about how Alun had looked after me all week as I was getting a cold.
“I could go gay for this guy” he joked.
I rolled my eyes.
“Alun would love that” I messaged back. (He wouldn’t. I don’t know why I said that).
But I realised when I messaged that there were more messages above that Moiz must have sent earlier. As I read them, my heart broke.
“Worst day of my life” one message read “I got fired from my other job, Janet”
I felt the loss as if it had happened to me. Moiz relies heavily on work so he can pay for Uni and exist, basically. For him to lose that income meant he was going to face some pretty rough times. And I hadn’t messaged him back! He probably thought I didn’t care.
So I messaged that since he was free at last (I tried to focus on the positives to lift his spirits) we should hang out. I’ve asked Moiz SO MANY TIMES to hang out but he’s either working or studying so he’s never accepted but on this one special occasion, Moiz messaged back! He messaged “OK…what are we doing, then?”
I sent Moiz photos of Point Walter – a huge sand bar and beach in the middle of the River that Alun and I love going to. We arranged to meet the next day and just knowing I’d get to see my friend again just made my absolute day.
You have NO IDEA how much I love you all, truly.
In my mind and my heart, Moiz has easily and somehow automatically transitioned from friend to family. I legit think of him as my little brother so when he got fired, I felt fiercely protective. How dare they fire him? My little bro?!? He’s amazing. They’ve made a HUGE mistake.
But then anxiety kicked in. It had been 3 months since we’d seen each other. We weren’t going to be at work…this was going to be the first time we hung out together…in public. No job, just the two of us.
What if our friendship was based on both hating our shared job? What if it all went wrong? What would we talk about? I was also A LOT HEAVIER than when Moiz last saw me…and I’d had my straight hair cut and was now sporting a horrible, horrible short, frizzy afro.
Little brother or not, Moiz is a guy and some part of me wanted to look attractive nonetheless so I was worried now…what would he think when he saw me?
I heard Moiz’s car in the driveway the next afternoon. Giddy with excitement I opened the gate and waved as he pulled into the undercover porch.
I don’t know how or why but I feel in my BONES like I’ve known this young guy (he’s only 19, bless him…I’m literally old enough to be his Mom. Easily) my whole life. I think the absolute world of him and was SO HAPPY he was here at mine and Alun’s home.
And guess what? Moiz had dressed up really nicely.
I’d never seen him outside of work so hadn’t seen him in “civilian” clothing before…and still haven’t to this day because when he came to spend the afternoon with me, he wore formal long checkered pants, shiny black business shoes and a formal shirt…maybe even a tie? I can’t remember.
It touched my heart so much. He had dressed carefully just for this afternoon with me.
Moiz went around to the passenger side of the door and carefully pulled out a bouquet of purple flowers.
OH MY HEART.
Boy, your Momma did GOOD when she raised you. You brought me flowers!!!
Moiz held them out, he looked so shy and awkward my heart just melted. I reached up and hugged him tight.
“Hi Janet” he mumbled into my shoulder as we embraced.
“Get in here, kiddo” I opened the front door wider so we could walk through and sniffed the flowers.
Moiz’s mouth dropped open in appreciation “OMG your house is so beautiful” He walked carefully, as if the floor was covered in rose petals, bless him.
“Want the tour?” I was giddy and excited and wanted to put Moiz at ease and make him comfortable and welcome.
“For sure” Moiz nodded.
So I gave him the tour of our little cottage, each room got a heart-felt, genuine compliment and I felt like I suddenly had the best house in all the world.
“Are you hungry?” Moiz brings out a motherly side of me. I desperately wanted to feed the guy and make him something to drink.
Moiz’s hand went to his flat stomach (this guy is stick thin, I swear to God) “Ah no thanks…I had breakfast so I’m still pretty full”
I let it go that breakfast was about 6 hours ago. 2pm was a great time to eat and I didn’t want to eat by myself so I led Moiz to the kitchen and started to trim the end of the flower stalks and prepare them for going into a vase.
Moiz took a seat on the bar stool by the breakfast bar as if he’d always been here. He seemed to belong in the house, somehow.
“Tell me” I coaxed “Who the hell fired you? What were they thinking???”
Moiz smiled wryly “Thanks, Janet”
“I watch a lot of crime” I assured him “I can kill them AND get away with it”
Moiz’s familiar ‘OMG you’re such a dork’ eyeroll.
Oh how I’d missed that. Well worth being a complete idiot for.
So we as I carefully arranged the flowers and tidied things away in the kitchen. We seemed to move in a sort of comfortable, sweet, natural way together – talking, laughing and enjoying time together…as if we’d always been together. It was really special.
This is so wonderful. Just Moiz and I.
Father God, I really needed a brother and here he is. Thank you.
We got in the car and joked and talked all the way to Point Walter. As we pulled into the car park, Moiz was in awe “This place…it’s incredible”.
Seeing it through Moiz’s eyes made it all look even more beautiful. Crystal clear, warm waters, the huge sandbank that took you out into the deeper parts of the river without getting wet, the grassed areas where parents were sitting on lawn chairs and keeping an eye on their little ones who were running, skipping, giggling and building sandcastles.
“I wore the wrong pants for this” Moiz looked down at his formal trousers.
“I told you to wear boardshorts! OMG” I enjoyed lording something over him for once. Moiz is super smart and is usually correcting me or teaching me something.
“Oh no” Moiz countered “Not on my first visit to your and Alun’s home…I had to be in my best clothes”
Oh my heart.
We walked the sandbank, Moiz taking awkward steps as he insisted in wearing his shoes (maybe a religious thing?) as waves lapped gently on each side of the sand bar. It was a long walk and we stood at the end of the sand bank where it dropped off suddenly into the unknown. We talked for hours. Eventually we made our way back (Moiz was worried as I’d left my handbag on my outdoor chairs we put on the grassed area) and sat and talked more.
It’s easy to talk to Moiz. We talked about shows we’d watched, jobs we’d been in…Moiz is studying Engineering at Uni and is doing it because he wants to earn enough to give his PARENTS a comfortable life. (Have you ever heard of such a beautiful thing?) We talked about our friends, our hopes, our dreams, our hurts (losing a job is AWFUL so my heart went out to Moiz as he told me more about it) and before we knew it, the sun was setting.
“You wanna go?” Moiz tilted his head to the side.
This boy is too cute.
“Let’s” and I stood so we could collapse the chairs. We did and I picked up one while Moiz carried the other. He held his hand out for my chair.
“I’m the man. I’ll do the carrying, thanks”
Oh my heart.
We talked on the drive back to mine and Alun’s and I was surprised to see Moiz light a cigarette.
“Boy, you DO NOT smoke!”
“Oh but I do” and Moiz laughed at the horror on my face “Janet, Janet, Janet…” (many a Moiz ‘lecture’ started like this) “I’m a good boy…but for every 10 good things I do, I need some sort of bad behaviour…otherwise, well, I’m just a weirdo”
I laughed. He had a way of explaining things.
“I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I’m faithful to my girl” (and he was right, he absolutely ADORES his girlfriend) “so I’m allowed the ocassional smoke, ok?”
I smiled “OK”
The car was quiet and a Indian song started up on Moiz’s stereo. A man sort of…wailing to music?
Moiz was embarrassed and rushed to turn it off.
“Was that your music?” I poked him to show him it was okay and nothing to be embarrassed about.
Moiz wouldn’t look at me.
“It’s cool…you have weird music, I get it” I teased so I would get a reaction from him.
He laughed “it’s not weird, Janet. You racist”
“Do you like…wail along to it, or whatever?”
Moiz rolled his eyes “It’s not wailing. OMG. You’re an idiot” but as he said it, his whole body relaxed and he was smiling again.
“aaaaeeeeeeeeeehhhhhh” I pretended to sing along
“OMG!!! Make it stop” Moiz complained loudly.
These moments, you guys – these are the moments life is made of.
We got back the house and sat together on the sofa laughing at the baking FAILS on “Nailed it”
“They cook like you” Moiz laughed
How dare you?
(He’s right though. I am a rubbish baker).
“I bet every time you get up to get a drink from the kitchen, Alun freaks out – wondering if you’re going to attempt to cook anything”
“Oh Haha. Mr I’m so funny” I put my bottom lip out
“You know I’m right” Moiz nudged me.
“I make a mean spaghetti”
Moiz’s eyebrows went up in surprise “You do not”
“I do!” I was defensive but couldn’t stop smiling because Moiz looked genuinely shocked “I was going to cook for you today! But you didn’t want anything so we’ve not eaten ANYTHING all day. I’m bloody starving”
It was so good to finally admit how hungry I was.
“Haha just eat something!” Moiz pointed to the kitchen area “Go on, you must be so hungry”
“Do you want anything?” I didn’t want to eat unless he did. I hate eating by myself if someone is with me.
Again, Moiz rubbed his non existent stomach “I’m actually good for the day”
I suspect this is something he does to save money rather than anything religious. He sends so much money home to his parents and provides for his brothers who he absolutely adores. I’m so proud of this guy.
We had a cup of tea together in the kitchen instead. I pointed to the tiny carton of milk Alun had brought especially for this occasion “In case Moiz wants tea” Alun said earlier in the week as he placed the tiny carton on the fridge shelf. I told Moiz and he looked as if Alun had given him a $50 note.
“Wait…this is just for me?” he gestured at the little milk carton.
“Alun wanted you to be able to have a hot drink if you wanted” I admitted, suddenly missing my Welshman and wishing he was around, too.
“He’s pretty awesome” Moiz marvelled at the milk as if it was a great prize.
That touched my heart.
I was so bloody tired from a long afternoon of walking and NO BLOODY FOOD in my stomach.
Moiz understood immediately “I’ll take off” he hugged me tight “You always make me feel better, Janet. Let’s hang out again soon”
Oh my heart.
And he was gone, reversing out of the driveway and beeping “bye” as he took off down the road.
That was a week ago and is still making me smile.
Thank you, Father God.