In time, I grew to respect the strength of my beautiful flatmate HMS for her remorse-fuelled honesty. Integrity means doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching. She risked my fury and my friendship to give me the respect of the truth. Very few people are compelled towards proper honesty especially when there is nothing to gain.

Approaching my 40th year, I am only too aware that my circle of friends is barely more than a pivot point. HMS is one of the few humans I’ve found that are genuinely and innately good.

She’s real, she’s raw and brave enough to face her own mistakes in life as well as serve our country in the military. She is integrity and empathy rolled into a determined, courageous, stellar package of humble, witty intelligence.

Our lives took vastly different paths after our first year at uni together and our brief stint as stoner flat mates. I became engaged at 20, married at 23 and travelled the path of house-wife and stay-at-home Mum to four daughters.

HMS all but disappeared from my life for years, having joined the Army and progressing in her career whilst navigating her own emotional journey.

Fortunately for me, HMS accepted a posting back home. Nearly two decades of life had sharpened her impulsive feisty fire into a wisened, sophisticated weapon of intelligence to be reckoned with. Still cheeky, still spontaneous but with heightened knowledge of her abilities.

When she applied to be posted back down south, I wanted to beg her to stay within the stones throw away I’d come to take for granted.

I didn’t though. Her friendship and happiness mean more to me than my selfish want for her company to be at my convenience.

Instead, I gave her my words of encouragement…

Goodbyes are hard. Change is hard. You, HMS, are one of the bravest women I know. You have an abundance of integrity. I see it. It’s rare, and it’s a special quality to have. You are intelligent and you understand people (even if you say you don’t and someone shits you to tears), but you are humble in your wisdom and you don’t gain pleasure in hurting or damaging another’s confidence… even those who aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

I recognised those fascinating qualities way back when I first met you at uni. I thought you were all kinds of awesome – a beautiful (yeah I went there, shoosh), funny and confident girl who I instantly admired. Good thing you also thought I was funny or kind or something 😂 or it might have been an awkward straight girl crush. A weird straight girl-who sometimes wishes to be lesbian because you girls have such a great dynamic as partners- but way too attracted to cunt males- but totally wants to see you smile – crush.

Please reassure M, although I’m sure she knows this, that I’m not trying to cut her grass 😂. I’m glad you’ve got an awesome chick like M to look after you down there.

Not Down There 😳. Mind out of the gutter you pair.

Anyhow, I digress.

You woman-ned up and committed to what you believe is a better job and consequently a better more positive life, knowing that everyone who loves you here in Townsville would whinge.

We are selfish. You need to be happy. I miss you already but I’d prefer you to be content, even if that means I see less of you. Sweet mother of god. I’m so self sacrificial I’m practically Mother Teresa.

Onwards and upwards. Distance shmistance.

I’ve had four kids damnit.



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