It’s a cloudy, grey day in George. I am sitting snugly inside. The light next to me brings out the hues of the beautiful Persian carpet that stretches out in front of me. Rich maroons, crimsons, ash blues, smoky creams and golds. It is a work of art in it’s design. But this carpet is more to me than a wonderful piece of creation.
This is my friendship carpet.
I think back, three years ago, to when I received it as my fiftieth birthday present.
I had looked at the old carpet that lay on my lounge floor. This fabric used to be made up of brightly coloured stripes. It had given my lounge a festive, merry air. Now the colours were faded. It reminded me of a boiled sweet that has been sucked and sucked and the vibrancy of its colour had been radically diminished, practically eradicated. Also the one seam was coming undone. I needed a new carpet. I needed a new carpet badly.
I had a big birthday coming up. I turned fifty in July. Mum, on seeing the state of that “dastardly rug attempting to cover your floor” had suggested that on my fiftieth birthday, members of the family could contribute something and with the money I could go out and buy myself a decent rug. Oh, what a fabulous idea, I thought, and left it at that.
In June I was treated to an overseas trip to England by someone I had never even met, Donny. He was a friend of my best friend ‘B’. Apparently he had a surplus of Voyager miles and so yours truly was given them. Am I lucky or am I just lucky??? I stayed with ‘B’ and her husband, John and had the most wonderful holiday. While there I had three fiftieth birthday parties! I received two cheques of £120 for Amazon. Do you have any idea how many DVDs one can get for £240? All with subtitles!
I got back from England and spent some time in Cape Town with my sister, Liz and family for a few days. Liz and Mum were chatting. I flopped down next to them. “What are you talking about?”
“We were just saying how spoilt you’ve been overseas and were wondering what we could get you for your birthday?”
“But…but you already know what you’re getting me for my birthday,” I said a little unsteadily, “You’re getting me my carpet,” I almost pleaded. “Remember, you said that everyone in the family would contribute.”
“People wanted to get you their own presents. So I’m afraid a carpet is out.”
I was stupefied. No carpet! No-damn-carpet! Stupidly I felt near to tears. I would have to take the gruck carpet that I owned, and have it’s seam sewn up. Damn it, I had wanted a new carpet so badly. Damn, damn, damn!
I spent the night before my birthday at my Mum’s house. Liz had come up from Cape Town and I knew that her children would enjoy the whole birthday morning. On the 30th, my 50th birthday, I lay in bed smiling to myself. I might be 50 but I hadn’t changed one iota since I was little. I still lay in bed, eagerly awaiting the door opening to allow my family in, singing happy birthday, their arms filled with presents, complete with a laden tea tray! I wasn’t disappointed. My nieces, Megan and Emma’s excitement was needlessly contagious. And I was so wonderfully spoiled. Oh, I love birthdays! I think one should have a 50th birthday every year!
I picked up a card with ‘B’s writing on it. “Silly Dweet, she gave me a card in England.” I opened the card. Inside the message took my breath away – “Gaynor, all of the following friends have contributed to your “50th Birthday Carpet. They all wish to say a very Happy 50th Birthday!!!” There was a cheque for a considerable amount. An absurdly considerable amount! So this explained Mum and Liz’s reaction over the carpet. I caught Mum’s eye and she blew me a kiss.
I looked at the card and all of those names. So many wonderful names! Unbeknown to me, ‘B’ had hacked my Facebook account and made a note of all my friends. She had emailed them about my 50th. And this was the result! I sat there reading that awe inspiring card with tears pouring down my face. So many people from all over the world had contributed. You can have no idea what looking at that list of contributors meant to me. My heart simply overflowed.
Friends are such a necessary part of life. I have friends all over the world and I have a Soulmate in ‘B’! I rejoice in technology. I use my cell phone, Skype, e-mail, SMS or BBM. It is so easy in this day an age to make and maintain contact. (Very rarely do I get a letter from anyone. If I do, it is treasured!)
So forget about buying a mere rug. My Persian carpet smiles serenely at me from my lounge floor. It looks too stunning for words! It is made up of blues, greens, reds and golds all interwoven with incredible precision. It just takes your breath away.
My beautiful Friendship Carpet!