As I was thinking about what to write in this post I did the sums on my fingers, and worked out that this girl has been around for three quarters of my entire life.
We were 10 years old and attending Charmaine’s ‘Punk Party’. Being white, and middle-class….. and 10, in suburban Brisbane in the mid-eighties, we’d not had a lot of exposure to the punk scene. Nor had our parents for that matter. I’m not sure what we thought ‘punk’ was, but I do remember I wore teal green footless tights, and had my short hair spiked upwards, fixed with glitter hairspray. I do not recall what Erin was wearing, but I have no doubt it surpassed my own attempt at fahshun in both style and substance, just as it always would and indeed continues to do. I suspect any actual punk would have laughed, or curled their lip up at us. Or both. But as we self-consciously two-stepped the night away to Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw, and Billy Ocean, we saw ourselves for what we truly were – ie. the bomb! Oh, and I neglected to mention that this was a mixed party. There were boys there.
At some point in the proceedings I was goaded into kissing one of them. His name was Jason. It was a tense and fraught moment, utterly devoid of romance, clinical even, with an audience of approximately 15. And when it was over, there was angst. There was glitter hairspray, probably a plastic bangle or two, and angst… And who should I end up debriefing to? Erin, my soon-to-be BFF. She’d already kissed a boy, you see. She knew about such things. She talked me down, and those ended up being the first moments of a friendship that has now spanned 3 decades.
We talk about different things now. Our boys are a similar age, as are our girls. We’ll no doubt support each other in our disapproval of our sons’ first girlfriends, and share tears of frustration as our daughters grow and stretch and test us. And then we’ll laugh and agree that the girlfriends and the daughters are actually just like we were at that age! Thank goodness!!
It makes me so happy to see this beautiful woman, this strong, feisty, clever, funny, loving friend of mine, so much at peace. And photographing her family was for me such a joy.