Let the crimson, heart-shaped, decidedly feminine fruit slanting in a flute of prosecco bubbles be an ingredient for friendship. Not just for friendship, but for girlfriends. For the shared bond that boys with their pizza slices and downed beers, belly laughs and bigger frames simply can’t be relied upon for. No, let the strawberry be for the girls who met, as strangers in an Eastern metropolis, and became friends.
For the birthdays and the public holidays, the picnics and the catch-up dinners when we come together and clink curved glasses in the sun. Story-swapping and party-plotting, tales of Burma from a hot air balloon or Thailand in spring, the whispers of a wide-eyed three year old and gossip from the Gaelic contingent. That time when, frayed from busy months apart, we reunited on a 15th floor to talk and laugh and finish six bottles of syrupy flavoured fizz in celebration of your birthday. The strawberry and poppy-seed cake, kept warm in the March rays and served to the chants of the rugby sevens. Or two years before when, at the height of spring, Emily brought a slice of home to a pimms tent and some rowdy boys (and Ally).
Strawberry kisses from soft-cheeked kindergartners with clammy hands and podgy legs, climbing onto teacher laps and leaving pencil smudge. The smack of strawberry lip-gloss, re-applied in red taxis using a hand-held mirror or while peering into the greying sheen of a toilet glass, blurry-eyed from gin and lime. The metallic kick of a strawberry jelly shot, pushed from a plastic cup to make skin sticky with vodka fruit.
Strawberries are for the friends that you made and the sweetness of our memories. A red heart in a frosted glass to celebrate being girls.