Instructor: Andrew Cleminshaw
The Perfect Friend
The Perfect Friend
The doorbell ringing sounds like summer— yes, your Perfect Friend has arrived. You feel a rush of adrenaline, something you haven't felt in months, as your Perfect Friend unboxes herself and looks you in the eyes. She's all you've wanted her to be, kind, pretty, smart, and a good listener, because you've made her to be that way. "Hello," she says while tilting her doll-like head 45 degrees. "I'm Amy, it's nice being your friend."
You reach in for a hug, and while Amy seems surprised at first, she rests her head on your shoulder, her strawberry blonde hair pooling on your grey sweater. You admit you were skeptical at first about this whole "Perfect Friend" thing when you first found out about it from a cable ad, but so far she's doing better than expected. You share a small smile with her when she pulls out of your embrace and pat her on the head. Her clear, blue eyes watch you while you do, and your fingertips feel at ease from the soft sensation. You think to yourself that this might not be bad after all, having Amy to keep you company.
In the weeks since she's arrived, Amy's been nothing but the perfect friend to you. She cooks the meals, washes the dishes, helps with your homework, and accompanies you through your mental breakdowns. Yet you can't help feeling that something is missing from this all-too-perfect relationship.
"Amy, is there anything you want me to do for you?" you shout as Amy is vacuuming. Amy responds with a small shake of her head. "Are you sure?" you shout again, louder. "Absolutely nothing?" Amy meekly shakes her head no. Alright, you think. You'll ask her again sometime.
A month into your friendship, you decide to bring her to your university. You tell Amy where she's going; she nods attentively and waits for you at your car. She looks apologetic as you step into the driver's seat. She says she can't drive, you see, because she hasn't got a drivers license.
You arrive at the university with Amy. You park your car in the South lot and climb out, waiting for Amy to follow. As you two head onto the main street, you can already feel the gazes. You get a rush from the extra attention— it's been awhile since you didn't blend into the background.
"Why are they looking at us?" asks Amy, tilting her head slightly. She's dressed in a cute blue sundress that matches her eyes, and her sudden movement is enough to make the passersby blush.
"It's because you're so beautiful," you say. "They must be wondering who the lucky person beside her is."
It's Amy's turn to blush, and, as if bashful, she begins to wander ahead of you with a bounce in her step. You walk in this fashion, trailing behind her, until you reach the building where you take your classes. Then, you walk up to her and hang on to her arm.
It feels different here, too— everyone's looking at Amy and you, her best friend, wondering where such a perfect girl came from. They whisper amongst each other, their chorus of murmurs fading in and out based on your proximity. People you've never talked to despite being in the same class for almost an entire year begin to wave at you, hoping that they'd get a spare glance from Amy as a result. Amy doesn't seem to know what to do with all the attention, though, as she absentmindedly kicks misshapen pebbles from the path you walk on.
Finally, you spot the other Amy who's far less perfect, the one that ditched you a few months ago because "your personalities didn't match." You tug on Amy, your Amy to follow you and she happily does, eager to escape the choke of a thousand gazes.
You walk past the other Amy with your new Amy taking care and show your great relationship with her with some exaggerated giggles and some pats on the head every few seconds. You can tell the other Amy is watching, perhaps envious of the Amy that replaced her. At last, when she can't bear it anymore, she taps on your shoulder.
"Hey, haven't seen you around in a while," she says, despite 'a while' actually being three months. She pauses for a few seconds. "How are you doing?"
You can tell she is peering periodically at the better Amy, perhaps jealous of her superiority in looks, smarts, and personality.
"Great," you say. "Because, I've got a new great friend called Amy with me."
Amy is clearly very happy by what you said, as she gives you a small hug.
The old Amy furrows her brow. "Hey, is she one of those 'Perfect Friend' things? I would be careful. Like I know our friendship ending took a toll but—"
"Hush," you cut her off. "Our personalities don't match anyways."
Feeling triumphant, you take the better Amy by the hand and you walk back to your car. You contemplate enrolling Amy in university so you can always be together, but then you realize that no one would take care of the chores. You drive home and decide to watch a movie with her: E.T., one of your favorites. After the movie ends and Amy comforts you during your post-movie cry, you ask her again if there's anything she wants from you.
"Nothing," Amy says sweetly, "except to be your friend."
Satisfied with her answer, you tell Amy you're going to sleep and that she can too. She obediently enters into the bedroom next to yours and shuts the door. After turning off the lights, you, too, enter your bedroom. In the pitch black, you reach for your phone and turn it on. The fluorescence of its screen blinds you, but you persist anyways. You enter your home screen and click open the 'Perfect Friend' app. You press 'Renew Subscription'. Finally, Amy will be your perfect friend forever.