When it is finally announced, that final moment when it is circulated, you have no idea how much your life and the dynamics of a posting will change. I didn’t notice at first, at the age of 9, you aren’t at all aware of the differences, as in your world, it is the only thing you know.
When your Father becomes an Ambassador, especially to a big posting for the first time, you are proud of him. It is something he had worked so very hard for. At the age of 9, I didn’t understand just how profound it was. Best friends come and go, but there is usually one special person who completely understands your world.
By the age of 12, I had moved to a new school. I was free of uniforms, and free to experience the wonders of an International school. I gained friends easily, but there was only one, in which completely understood the loneliness of being an only child, and left night after night for social (more like very political affairs), that were part of your parents duties of being a Head of Mission. At 12, my best friend was a another boy who was also an only child of an Ambassador. We somehow found each other, and never let go.
Don’t ever think that receptions were ever fun for my parents, they were and are part of the duties, whether it be political affairs, going away parties, fund raisers, hosting etc. they were often exhausting, and tiresome.
No Matter where they had to go, without fail, my Father would be dressed and ready, and sitting with me for dinner at 5:30, and often my best friend would appear for dinner, or a little after, his house was not as warm and fuzzy as mine, it was his step father who was the Head of Mission, and he always felt that he was a burden, often times, there was no one around for days for any meals. In my house, I never ate alone, and my friend was always included.
Our close friendship was unique, we were 12, but it was so innocent, we didn’t have confusing feelings, we were like 2 old companions that found comfort in knowing that our backgrounds and current situation were the same. We were inseparable. We did homework, watched movies, and often fell asleep waiting for our parents to come home.
But one night, my parents showed up, we had fallen asleep on the couch. My Father came in and gently nudged both of us awake. My Father couldn’t wake up my friend, he was in a deep sleep. My Father knew his parents, and were not big fans of them. He went over to the phone and called, he got an angry Step Father on the other end, apparently, my Father woke them up. My Father explained that their son was still asleep and that maybe it best that he just stay over. He got an earful, that it didn’t matter if he came home or not.
My Father was in shock. He told me to run up and get the spare room ready, he lifted my friend up and carried him to the bedroom upstairs. I knew my friend, who was lovely in every way, hated going home, and any time I had suggested I come over there, he would say no, he prefered to be at my house. I knew his circumstances where different from mine, his biological father had passed away, and his Mother remarried shortly before this posting. My parents were each others loves, and they were inseparable.
The next morning, I woke up to find my friend sobbing in my Father’s arms. I knew he had bottled everything up, and had no man in his life that cared for him. My Father told him to go downstairs and eat with me. The next thing I knew, my Father was gone. All I knew was he had gone to my friend’s house, knowing my Father, there were choice words. After that, my friend slept over more, and ate almost every dinner with me when my parents had to go to a dinner party. I never asked, but I knew my friend needed my friendship and our house.
He was my first love, but not in a romantic way, just someone who understood the unspoken, the harshness of the diplomatic life.
I was heartbroken when we were both posted away from each other, and lost touch. I never found out what happened to him.