For the last three years or so, Laura, Susie, Fiona and I have met up for a Friday fizz night, We meet most weeks ...it's a lovely start to the weekend with nibbles, ice cold bubbly prosecco or sometimes champagne. We laugh a lot, we support each other if something goes wrong, and what 's talked about in our Friday night fizz gang stays with the gang.
Last Friday was different, we were saying goodbye to Laura before she flew off to live in the States, and as we wouldn't be seeing her at Christmas, we would exchange presents.
So I turned up at Susie's ....and found Laura sitting beside a Christmas tree. In November - an old naff Christmas tree which Susie's Mum was throwing out. Susie shrugged..."Well, I haven't bought one yet, and needs must", or words to that effect.
And in addition to the usual nibbles such as olives, pate, crackers, cheese, bread etc, there was a Christmas cake.
There were even crackers
We gossiped all evening, while Laura made impromptu decorations with the corks from the bottles of prosecco and ribbons from the crackers
And we giggled and laughed, making the most of what would be the last time we would see Laura for months.
And then Susie's husband came home, saying "Had we heard the news about Paris?" We hadn't, but switched on the television and couldn't believe what we were watching. The murders of so many who were innocently enjoying a night out.
I thought of my cousins who have both left Paris in recent years. Alexandra, husband Leo and their children were safe in Lyon, and Claire was back down in the South of France. Thank goodness....
Of course, the impromptu Christmas party in November ended shortly afterwards ...how could we carry on laughing and being frivolous ? We kissed Laura goodbye and wished her well ...
On Saturday morning, I woke to the news that the death toll had risen to 129.
I began to cry, for those who never got to say goodbye to their loved ones, and who will never see them again.