A good friend will stand next to you at your wedding. A best friend will stand just behind and to the right of you because she insists it will make you look 3-D.
A good friend could recite your Starbucks order in her sleep. A best friend does recite your Starbucks order in her sleep, every night, no matter what, because it’s the only way to keep the bad faces away.
A good friend will come over to your house and ask if you have any snacks. A best friend will walk straight to your refrigerator and rub raw chicken underneath the orange juice caps.
A good friend knows your favorite wine. A best friend will fill your bathtub to the brim with it and be waiting in the dark for you to get home. She’ll shove a cheese cube in your mouth to stifle your screams, and will ignore your protests that the wine is staining your skin, because she knows better than anyone how much you’ve been needing a good Merlot skin stain.
A good friend knows that you secretly love The Notebook. A best friend tells you you’re going to reenact all of the best scenes, and then leaves you dangling on a Ferris Wheel.
A good friend brings you chocolate and Midol when you’re on your period. A best friend replaces all of your glassware with Diva cups and puts a virus on your computer that makes it autoplay videos of soldiers returning home and reuniting with their dogs.
A good friend will call your parents by their first names. A best friend will call them mom and dad, but in a way that makes your dad blush and your mom look away. “Did you ever notice that mom and dad are kind of old?” your best friend will ask, and then toss a copy of The Face on the Milk Carton on the counter on her way out.
A good friend will take notes for you when you’re out sick from school. A best friend will text and say “I’m sorry you had a temperature of 101.6,” which is weird, because you don’t remember telling her that. When you’re at her house the next week, you’ll notice that the doll she always keeps on top of her dresser is sitting on the heat vent.
A good friend will hug and comfort you when your boyfriend leaves. A best friend will already have pieces of his hair and skin flakes she’s been collecting all along just in case. A best friend won’t open the door when you knock, asking what she’s doing with your boyfriend’s sweatshirt. A best friend will be very quiet, and then say “science” as if that explains everything, and it will.
A good friend will lie to you about your bad haircut to make you feel better. A best friend will whisper something in the barber’s ear while he’s working on you, and his eyes will get wide, and he’ll start cutting faster, and faster, then so fast it’s blurry like a cartoon, while your best friend leans on the reception counter, sucking a lollipop.
A good friend will pretend to like the dumb TV shows you like. A best friend will pantomime an entire episode of How I Met Your Mother in your dark living room while you watch. “Can’t we just actually watch–” you’ll start to ask, but a best friend will throw your television to the ground and stomp on it. Then she’ll pull her foot out of the shattered screen, blink to compose herself, and begin again, ignoring the blood starting to seep through her jeans.
A good friend will bail you out of jail. A best friend will be in the next cell, whispering, “Say you were with me on the night of the 15th. Say it.” When you start to respond, a best friend will scream and rip her ponytail out. She’ll keep screaming and waving the ponytail stump around, even as the guards drag her away. Years later, you’ll swear you can hear that scream sampled in a Kanye song, but that can’t be. The next time you play the album, the scream sounds louder than everything else, and the time after that, the whole album is just that song, sixteen times in a row, and every time you hit the “stop” button the song restarts.
A good friend offers to help you move. A best friend is behind you in the bathroom mirror when you look up from washing your face.
A good friend always returns books you lent them. A best friend always seems to be reading from the same page in the same book, sitting in the same chair, whenever you come over. When you ask if they’re going to give your book back, they’ll say, “What book” and all of the sudden, you can’t remember the name. You can’t remember the names of any of your books. Come to think of it, you can’t remember who your parents are. You’re starting to panic, but your best friend will say, “Shh, shh” and lead you into the kitchen, where a bowl of alphabet soup is sitting on the counter, somehow already hot.
Riane Konc is a freelance writer living in the Midwest with two cats, a husband, and a daughter.