There was the time she laughed when I fell in the puddle and the time she convinced me lemons were yummy to eat. If they weren’t bad enough, nobody could forget the time she filled up my sleeping bag with Cornflakes and toothpaste.
But the tipping point came with the bath incident.
Their family bath was the most exciting place a four year-old could imagine.
It was nothing like the shallow little bird-baths you buy off the shelf at the hardware store these days. No this was dinky-di, the real thing. It stood majestically in their bathroom on its four lion-clawed feet. Big, heavy and magnificent, it could hold all of us within its cavernous depths with not even a head visible over the top.
Of course there were the normal country rules about how much rainwater we could use but as soon as we were left to out own devices (Now you kids be sensible in there okay?) we would sneakily keep adding a little water, splashing loudly to cover the sound of the running tap.
We had perfected a magic level. Then the fun would begin.
The game was to climb up on the lip of the sloping end (the slippery dip) and then shoot down into the water to see who could create a wave big enough to surge over the opposite end…and all over the bathroom floor. It was hilarious and totally worth the telling off that invariably followed (or the smack on a wet bum-ouch!)
With practice we worked out that rubbing soap all over the bath and all over ourselves would create enough momentum for us to whoosh down and into the water with such force, that even the smallest of us could shoot the entire length and slam into the opposite end (known of course as the plug-hole end.)
The resulting tidal wave that spilled up and over would then be met with a round of applause (suitably muted to the hearing range of where we presumed the closest adult to be.)
Of course one of us was given the role of look-out but sometimes it was hard to focus.
On this day we were on the ball. There were three of us “having a bath” so we were getting into a nice routine. Slide, Splash, Watch.
When she hissed “mum” we were quick as a flash to sit demurely and pretend we were busy doing what we were supposed to so “mum” wouldn’t open the door. (Pass the shampoo please? Of course! Would you like some more soap? Yes please! You kids alright in there? Yes, we’re just washing our hair…)
We should have noticed the look in her eye as she silently climbed up and crouched on the edge of the bath but we were busy making the rubber ducks have a conversation about how much laying eggs must hurt, just in case the grown-up was still listening.
I glanced up just as it started its downward journey and landed with a large plop between us.
It was brown…and it floated.
There was stunned silence as we both sat and tried to comprehend the sheer horror of what we were seeing.
It was the wicked cackle of mirth from above that finally broke the spell. Watching us screaming in terror, trying to shimmy up the slippery sides away from “the thing” made her laugh even more hysterically.
It was suddenly a long way out up those slick sides.
She got a smack of course but she said it was so worth it.
As for me, I was so traumatised I never entered that bathtub again. Every time I went into their bathroom I saw “it” floating there and recoiled in disgust.
The friendship was tested.
I guess this one didn’t pass the test.