Two of my very dear friends announced they are breaking up last night.
This is very sad; they made a good couple, and all of us who know them will miss their solid, welcoming company and generous support in times of trouble.
The extraordinary thing about the breakup was the way we found out about it. A fair slice of the girly circle they move in had gathered at their flat to watch the latest episodes of The L Word - yes yes, there's a point in here about art imitating life, I know. The gathering itself brought together the crowd we hung out with three years ago - including an old crush of mine. Our paths haven't crossed since I made a complete arse of myself over her, so I went from drunk and boisterous to mortified and awkward in under ten seconds upon walking in the door.
So, there we all were, chatting, catching up, when L shushed us all and said that before we got down to watching telly, she had an important announcement. How exciting - maybe they were getting engaged? Expecting? Had set a date to emigrate?
And she calmly announced in the kind of voice you only really hear at weddings and christenings, that they were 'going their seperate ways'.
A stunned silence descended. Finally someone trotted out some pat cliche, wishing them well, saying how sorry we were.
But, really. I felt like I'd been coshed. It might have been the grown-up, enlightened way to do it, letting us all know at once; in all honesty, I wouldn't advise it as a good tactic in a room full of the less emotionally enlightened.
So this morning I find myself very sad indeed, and wistful about the way social groups change and flow, not to mention brattishly upset that the friends who gently mothered me through my rough time are breaking up.
Mummy still loves mummy, but they can't live together any more.