I have been counting down the days and watching them disappear past, pondering a September, 13 years ago. Sliding on Old Aberdeen cobbles, I remember arriving on September 18th on the bus with my suitcase and being met by the oh-so-kind Ruth Strachan and her boyfriend. I remember the first night of unpacking in Halls, the over starched sheets on the bed, and the feeling of disorientation. I set up an email account for the first time in my life and successfully sent an email to my parents in India. I remember the first exploring and wandering around, trekking the length of Union Street in search of Barclays Bank. I found Radio 4 with my brand new never owned before DVD player and tuned in marvelling at the clear reception. No static here.
I thought it was very cold. Someone told me rather cuttingly it was mild. And of course it did get much colder and darker. Welcome to the winter. I would come out of lectures at Marischal College at 5 pm to pitch darkness - and the icy walk back to Hillhead.
And the new year rolled around, and I watched the first Spring come and tracked back a year to Hebron and familiarity. I felt things unbend as the sun came out with the daffadils and relaxed as the world got warmer and felt less foreign.
Now it is September again and I am finally leaving. Sad and happy. Excited and apprehensive. Looking forward and looking back. Goodbyes are strangely clumsy things. Awkwardness and smiles and tears spilling out. Last time at church, last time to speak so easily to this friend, last time to spend time with a family.
But the best friend, the closest friend, the "One that sticks closer than a brother" goes with me and consequently all that is most important does too - all friendships that are bound up in or because of this one friend and so I am not so bereft. And He was here too 13 years ago going ahead of me.