And I have never loved Mia as much before as I do now, in this moment, as the tired ginger ball of sun, burning holes in the clouds, is exchanged with the fresh, crisp silver of the moon. She was the best friend I had ever had – and ever would have – and she was here, right now, not leaving me.
I don't know where Mother and Father are: I can guess, and it is somewhere super, but I don't know that - if they are watching me now they’ll be so proud of me. I have left Slab City – reluctantly, and much to the sorrow of little Tessa Jackson who runs alongside our camper for almost a mile in the slow August heat, grubby tears streaking her beautiful face like hot lava through a perfect valley.
I know that at some point she will leave, not because she wants to but because she has to. I don’t think about that day, because it means her departure back to her old life, even if it is somewhat changed by what we have seen and the people we have met - and my return to…my life, wherever and whatever that might be.
I don’t know where I’ll be in a couple years time when she is in England and I am still here, I don't know who I’ll have met, who I’ll have loved. I only know that Mia, through all the storms of this past year, has been the only one to understand truly my disdain, to fully take back the cards that life once dealt me. To fully empathise, to fully desire a true and complete sympathy of me and how deal with the things that treaten me. For that, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find a way to repay her.
George lay next to me in the heat of the camper. Her scruffy curls shining in the moonlight, I wondered if I would ever have a friend like her again. She had helped me through the slowly fading year without ever asking for anything in return – and I knew, goodness I knew she’d had it rough. The war against Richard had taught me that, whilst he didn’t always act like a father to me, he was still the only man I was ever going to be able to call my dad, and that for that, I shall be forever indebted to her for making me see.
She had never told me outright – she was not that blunt, always hiding what she wished to reveal by her shadowed soul and guarded eyes. I, however, could read her easy as the stars, and she shone, God knew how she shone, brighter than Venus in the valley when the night is floaty and clear.
And I would have to leave her come September when the tiresome heat of summer hurries into the welcoming cool of autumn, and I dreaded that day. Dreaded having to say goodbye to the only friend I’ve ever loved like a sister. Dreaded having to leave her here to fight her battles by herself.