Best friends are able to be your life blood and testify to how lame you are all at once. And they also make your world go round and let you do stupid stuff. I recommend having five.
We were in a cab on the way back from a gig on the outskirts of Florence. I was drunk, sat dazed, halfway off my seat, staring out the window as street lamps slid by.
“You can never stop being friends with me because I knew you when you weren’t cool.”
Soph had been flirting with the cab driver, but stopped when I started to laugh. She turned around from the front seat to look at me.
“I know all the things you don’t show people. I know how much you count things. I know too much. You’ll always have to be friends with me.”
She didn’t say it maliciously and she didn’t mean it that way- but the notion stayed with me, after paying the cab driver who looked at us cluelessly, to punching buttons into the hostel lift before giving up to take the stairs. It was hilarious because it was so true. Only she knew.
We’d gone to Italy to see a band from London. I’d been in love with the guitarist since I was 16, and although I now had a boyfriend and, you know, A Life etc, Soph and I had somehow ended up on a fan girl mission to end all fan girl missions. I remember thinking how happy my 16 year-old self would be to know I’d caught a plane to Pisa to see them.
When we arrived at the gig we realised neither of us had bought a phone or a room key out with us. We also only had 20 euros between us, and that, Soph told me, was getting spent on whiskey.
After the gig ended we sat outside on a curb at the edge of the debrief crowd, smoking the last of Soph’s cigarettes. The hostel had told us on no account should we step outside the venue without a taxi waiting, it was that kind of area. As the people began to thin out, Soph approached some girls that looked like they would understand a bit of English. She asked if they could book us a cab back into the city. They smiled at us, my glassy-eyed expression giving away just how much it didn’t seem to matter that we were stranded.
One of the girls grabbed my wrist and told me to follow her. We walked round the venue to the back, where she pointed to a gigantic tour bus lit by one street lamp in the distance.
“They won’t be there for long.”
We didn’t need telling twice.
The cab driver wouldn't let me in with the free-poured whiskey and coke I was somehow still holding, so I left it on the curb, accidentally knocking it over as I feebly pulled the back seat door shut.
I could hardly speak for the entire cab ride back into the city. It hadn't seemed that far on the map. Just a few hours earlier I'd suggested that we could walk it. And yet we'd been driving round strip-lit underpasses for over forty minutes.
Finally, I spotted the central station. Soph whispered to the driver and made him take detours, telling him in broken Italian that she knew a shortcut to a cashpoint. I could barely form words, let alone pay attention. The only thing I asked, again and again, was “did I play it cool?” “I did alright, didn't I?” I was okay, wasn't I?”