Linked

They walked home from the party, arms linked. The next morning, the tiny flat they shared would reek of that funky “the day after smell” of cigarette smoke.

Both were slightly drunk and terribly happy, as neither one needed to go in to work the next day. Jules’ evening shift at the restaurant had been cancelled and Amy’s shift at the library had been switched, so at least for the next 24 hours they were as free as birds.

How wonderful to be able to let yourself go and pass out in peace without the usual stress of knowing that in a few hours you needed to be up and presentable once more.

It had been a great night, and Amy kept thinking about Justin as she quickly passed her toothbrush across her teeth and tongue, too tired to be bothered but too disciplined to not go through the motions. She wiped off her makeup with some cotton pads and cleansing milk and then, dropping her clothes at the foot of the bed crawled under the sheets where Jules, in full makeup, was already lightly snoring.

At least, tonight, Amy noticed, she had kicked off her shoes before getting into bed. It wouldn’t be the first time that Jules had slept with her combat boots on.

Looking at her fondly, Amy thought she had never had a funnier, more loyal and true friend. At times she still couldn’t believe it. The beautiful spirited Jules; the life of the party; the tell it like it is and stand up for what you and who you believe in caped crusader. People navigated to her like moths to a flame.

What had this ball of energy seen in her? She, who was always slightly worried, always thinking things through to death? She, who was forever needing answers, whilst Jules didn’t feel the need to formulate questions in the first place.

In less than five months everything would change though. She would be going off to London and Jules would stay behind to do whatever she finally decided she needed to do. Her motto being if “it” ain’t broke don’t fix it.

But what if ”it”‘ has a slight ding or dent in it? thought Amy, as she turned onto her side with her back to her friend.

Maybe it was just that her expectations from life were far greater than her friend’s. As well as her expectations of people, in general, and herself, in particular.

Jules seemed content wherever you plopped her. She was genuinely happy, or at least accepting, of every minute of the day, and lived it as she thought best. Guilt, shame and what ifs just weren’t part of her genetic makeup. Maybe carpe diem was her magic power.

The moonlight from the window cast a forgiving light into the simple and worn apartment as Amy started to drift off. The moon’s compassion could render a muddy puddle romantic and poem worthy…….romance and Justin…..forgiveness is flattering……all those books about love and about living your best life…….don’t know…..

Amy’s drooping eyes settled on the sofa across the way. It was piled high with crazily patterned pillows that Jules kept bringing home from flea markets all over town……Amy’s surroundings began to blur while staring at a zebra and floral print cushion.

She began her descent into that deep wonderful warm pool that is sleep. Cozy and safe, next to her best friend. One more person, amidst the many, in a big city unified by a temporary and magical state of suspension.

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