Have you ever had a friend who you do absolutely everything with? Do people refer to you as ‘joined at the hip’ or wonder if your relationship runs to more than just friendship? She’s been married for five years and you have a long-term boyfriend, but people like to talk.
You were her bridesmaid of course. She had the perfect wedding, while you had a series of unfortunate relationships before meeting The One. She reminds you that he is not actually The One, and on some level, you suspect she may be correct. You discuss this less often than you used to because you work shifts as a midwife and she’s a high school teacher now. Grown up jobs. Sometimes you can’t quite believe it.
Even though you feel she is more successful than you, with the perfect home, perfect family, you’re not jealous. How could you be? She’s Zoe. She’s your best friend. You’ve known her for twenty-two years, and as you’ve only been alive for twenty-five years, that’s going to be hard to beat.
You’re Violet and Zoe. Your names can’t be combined in one of those cool ‘Brangelina’ ways, but you have been friends way longer than that relationship lasted, and you spent many nights over many glasses of Prosecco, gossiping about how you always knew he should have stayed with Aniston. Ziolet. Voe. Neither works. On paper perhaps your friendship shouldn’t work either.
She’s a petite redhead whose parents were quite something in the 1960s. You have a vague idea of what that means. You know it involved being in the right place at the right time with the right people, hanging with the in-crowd, taking too many drugs. It doesn’t appear to have done any damage to anyone.
Meanwhile, your parents are a forklift truck driver and a sales assistant at Wilko. At least your dad was a forklift truck driver last time you heard from him but that was eight years ago. You inherited your work ethic from your mother and your gangly legs and mud-brown hair from your father.
Zoe tells you that she wishes she were as tall and exotic as you are, but you fail to see much exotic about having grown up on a council estate in Creekmoor. You were the first from your family to go to university, and you scraped by with a 2:2 while you watched Zoe graduate with a first-class degree. You knew that she would, and you’re proud of her, but she is just as proud of you. She knows about the relationship you went through while you were trying to study. She knows about the guy who seemed so perfect, but ended up being anything but. She knows how much it means to you that you managed to get through university at all. She knows that you don’t want to talk about him, that you don’t even want to think about him now that you have moved on to better things.
You are Violet and Zoe. You don’t know what you would do without her. Without Zoe, you are ‘Violet and’. You are missing a piece. When you ask her “What would I do without you?”, she tells you that you’ll never have to be. But what if that’s not true? What if one day she’s just not there anymore?