I meet her by accident. I’m buying a new lamp, she helps me choose. Her colleague tries to sell me an ugly expensive model but I stick to the one I like. It happens to be the one my new friend likes too. She doesn’t know it yet. She thinks I’m just a customer. I invite her for a coffee and she stares at me suspiciously. I can’t work out why. I leave my number scribbled on a tiny piece of paper. She looks as if she’ll throw it away the minute I’m gone.
She calls in a week. We get a coffee at the café next to her work. She apologies for being rude last time. I laugh. Did you think I was hitting on you? She smiles shyly. I’m a bit offended. I don’t like her that much today. I won’t call again.
We go shopping the week after. Two girls, similar age, different tastes. I’ve never had a proper best friend, I realise. I’ve had best friends, of course. But not a real one. She is a possibility. We laugh at her reaction when I asked her for a coffee that first time. I do it all the time if I like someone, I say. Don’t you? Especially since we are both foreign here. How else would you make friends? She looks at me as if checking that I’m not making it up.
We now call each other every day. I’ve heard of this before. I remember a friend telling me how she met her best friend. We just clicked, she said. We shop, we drink coffee. We talk about our boyfriends. She splits up from hers and has nowhere to live. I offer her my place and she stays over until she finds a new one. We never argue.
I draw her face and tell her how beautiful she is. We write letters to the Universe ordering a new man for her. We talk about her ex and I tell her she deserves better. She lives on the other side of town and I give her a lift every time we meet for a coffee. She brings me an amber necklace from her holiday and I wear it every day. I’ve always wanted a best friend.
She gets back with her boyfriend. She stops calling. She denies it, but I sense a change. I stop calling too. When I go past her shop one day, I discover that it’s been shut for weeks. The builders that are making it into a café whistle as I leave.