They didn’t know why they were such good friends. They just were.
They’d met on Twitter, electronically laughed and teased one another about the North-South divide, shared early morning tweets over their respective cups of tea, and chatted about Classic FM and noisy neighbours. They hated the same television programmes and shared a passion for lemon drizzle cake, they discovered.
It had been many months before they knew the extent of their age difference, background differences and physical differences. But by the time Carla found out that Joanna was in fact a tall, bony, soon-to-be great-grandmother of sixty-nine, and Joanna had found out that Carla was in fact a short, plump, childless, 27-year-old with a history of drug abuse it was irrelevant to the strong bond they had already built.
They’d got to the core of each other, you see – the bits you often never even find in those you see every day.
They agreed to meet, on neutral ground, on the Norfolk broads and for half an hour they simply took in each other’s appearances and recovered from each other’s accents, making self-conscious small-talk. It was all so polite, none of the usual teasing, and – if they were honest – it felt a bit wrong. As if they’d met up with strangers.
After awkward tea and sickly cakes, surrounded by quiet old couples in a small café, they set off for a walk. Side-by-side they battled, heads down, against the Easterly wind and slowly began to wonder at the sheer horribleness of the whole experience. Tears of wind-beaten pain glistened in their eyes as they turned to each other and roared with laughter. They preferred honesty. They were the same.
‘Fuck this, Jo,’ Carla screeched. ‘I could have shown you a better time in Bexhill, love!’
No one else ever called Joanna ‘Jo’ and she’d always liked reading it in Carla’s tweets. People weren’t pally with Joanna but Carla was pally.
‘All right. How long will it take to get there?’ Joanna offered.
Carla grinned up at Joanna and took her arm as they turned back inland towards the carpark. ‘Bloody hours but we’ve even got pies. You’ll feel right at home there, Chuck.’
‘We’ll mash up your chips for ya. You’ll probably need everything mashing up, won’t you, old girl?’
‘Fuck off.’ Joanna laughed but she wanted to cry with happiness. She’d never got to say that to anyone before. It was great. ‘Did you like those cakes?’
‘No. Too sweet.’
‘Far too sweet.’