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  • In these times of instant relationships and shifting feelings, you are the only constant I have had. But It was always difficult to define the relationship we shared when someone asked me who were you. ‘Friend’ was a clear understatement. ‘Best Friend’ sounded too cheesy at times. You couldn’t be defined.

    An officially recognised dictionary defines life as what happens between birth and death. So I could say you are life.

    It isn’t a mere co – incidence that the word ‘friend’ comes from the Greek word ‘philos’ – a word which is closely related to ‘phileo’ which in Greek meant ‘I love’. In English, though, we have to go back a millennium before we see the verb related to friend. At that time, freond, the Old English word for "friend," was simply the present participle of the verb freon, "to love." The Germanic root behind this verb is *fri-, which meant "to like, love, be friendly to." Closely linked to these concepts is that of "peace," and in fact Germanic made a noun from this root, *frithu-, meaning exactly that. The Chinese call it ‘Yuanfen’ in common usage yuanfen means the "binding force" that links two people together in any relationship, mostly friends. The French would call it ’Retrouvailles’ – a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter relationships, or to a relationship of friends or lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.

    You and I were defined by history then.

    And I’m lucky that you stuck to the definitions.

    I’m glad we crossed paths.
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