The Girls sit huddled at the front of the church, long after the rest of the congregation has walked from grief to gregariousness. They are a threefold mass of unknowns – careers, degrees, exams – but here, at least, they will always be The Girls.

At a first glance, it is the differences that stand out – a full spectrum of femininities – but take note of the six blue eyes, gradually trading tears for laugh lines, and it falls into place. Circumstance may change the name, but it will never change those eyes. Nor the memories, the wheelbarrow rides in the garden, the rainy-day walks in the woods. It could not deny them the decade-long dawning of life’s darker side. Nor will it extinguish the torch that each now lights in empathy and wordlessly carries back down the aisle.

They grew up together. For some, that process is continuous. For others it moves in unexpected leaps and bounds, thresholds crossed hand-in-hand.


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