Just Friends This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Final class of the day; I’m almost done. I’ve managed to avoid him for the majority of the day, somehow escaping his attempts at conversation. Always somewhere to go, something to do. Sorry, no time to chat. If I can just stay out of sight for the next fifteen minutes, I’ll be home free.

Rushing into the crowded hall, I push through the swarm of buzzing students. I fight against the flow of bodies, the warm crush that threatens to overwhelm me. Desperate, I keep shoving, longing to reach the safety and quiet of my locker. I’m almost there, just a bit further. Finally I’ve made it, and he’s nowhere in sight.

I open my locker and lean into it, sighing with relief, when I see him. I straighten up, hurriedly shoving everything into that tiny metal box, but my hands aren’t cooperating. My nerves are making me shake, disconnecting my mind from the rest of my body. I struggle to remove myself from the impending situation, but as I start to spring away, he grabs my arm and says, “Now can I talk to you?”

And that’s when my heart sinks. My stomach starts to churn and I know nothing will be the same again.

Somehow I always knew it would come down to this moment. A silent showdown in some empty hallway, the echo of slamming lockers long since faded, but the shouts of students still lingering in the air. He stares at me, expectantly, awaiting an answer. I look at my feet, purposely not listening, not looking at him. I don’t want to hear it, don’t want to see him proclaim his love. It makes no difference; it doesn’t change the situation.

I’ve known him since first grade. I’ve seen him pick his nose and suck at kickball; I watched him grow six inches like a beanstalk and, with all the grace of a newborn calf, give himself a concussion on a shower head. We’ve been friends for what seems like always, but never ventured anywhere beyond that. To be honest, it never occurred to me that he could someday be more than a friend.

“Did you hear me? I said I like you. I like you a lot.”

Don’t say that. Anything but that. Talk to me about the weather, how horrible Mrs. Matthews is with her evil calculus equations. Even sports would be better, (and you know how much I hate sports). Just don’t say those words. Why would you say something that could irreversibly change our friendship?

“I’ve liked you for so long. Didn’t you know?”
Yes, of course I knew. I’m not stupid. I was – I don’t know – I guess I was hoping it was just a crush. Something fleeting, a passing fancy. Puppy love, if you must, but apparently not.

“Say something, anything.”

You don’t mean that, not really. I know what you’re hoping to hear, what you want me to say. I can’t and I won’t. I look at you and I see a brother, a friend, not a boyfriend. I don’t think anything could ever change that in my mind.

Everyone knew we’d end up here. That’s the rub. The whole freaking world probably knew that sooner or later we would clash at opposite ends of the spectrum. My parents, my friends. Hell, even your parents and friends knew it. They told me it was cruel to lead you on, but I never meant to. I never meant for it to go this far; it just never seemed like the right time to say, “Hey, we’ll always be best friends.” I never, ever wanted to hurt you; I just didn’t want to let you go.

I’ve deluded myself for years, lived in denial for so many summers, and now it’s senior year and you’ve finally found the courage to tell me how you feel. I’d love to blame you for this awkwardness, accuse you of letting this non-relationship charade drag on over the years. But truthfully, it’s my fault that we’ve reached this point, and I have to make things right.
I take a deep breath. This is it.

“Yeah. Me too.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 379 comments. Post your own now!

Curly_Sue said...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm
i'm confused. i thought she didn't like him.
vampirexchickkk This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm
That's the whole point. She makes the sacrifice of dating him because she doesn't want to hurt him.
Ariel_Rosario said...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I love this!!! This is great! My favorite line is "My nerves are making me shake, disconnecting my mind from the rest of my body." I can totally relate! Amazing work :)


Loversinjapan said...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 4:21 pm
Whoa surprising ending. I liked that a lot. Great vocabulary and quite relatable. This is going on my favorites list!!
G_R_A_C_I_E said...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm
Loved it! Excellent word usage. Very Realistic. Suspenseful with a satisfying ending. A whole story in a few words. Great Job.
steph06 said...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm
This is an incredible piece of writing. I was sucked in right from the first word and so sad when it ended. You are so very talanted, keep it up!
Seelix said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm
Wonderful! It's very realistic too, alot of people freakout when their friend likes them and they don't like him/her back, and you never realy know if lying or telling your freind how you realy feel is better. I love how abruptly you ended it. Thank you!
BaileyBaby13 said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm
I couldn't stop reading, it's so intriguing...spelling on that? haha. but anyways, excellent word choice. It's adorable, 5 stars,(:
Mandinova said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm
AWWWWWW this is adorable!!!!
melonchollie said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm
i have chills right now from reading this. it's so amazing... 
Thrush said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm
I love the ending.
kfelt158 said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 8:54 am
Wow!  Great story; I really loved it!  Can you please take a look at some of my work?  It would mean so much :)
youveleftmespeechless said...
Aug. 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm
This was a really nice piece of work, it followed the same mood all the way through and the sentences were really well constructed. You had good imagery, things like "I fight against the flow of bodies, the warm crush that threatens to overwhelm me", all very well written. Good job and keep on writing :)
angel said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm
very good article and well in this mood
Macx14 said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm
Very nice, keep writing!
Ellen24Truth said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm

this article is magnificent... it really deserved to be in the magazine.

and everyone please read "Surviving love and war" chapter's 1 and 2...

CrazyWriter said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm
Awwwww!! I love it!!! Great work!!!
Coop123 said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm
This Peice is so amazing!
faeriesdescending44 said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm
i love the way u wrote this. its amazing. i kinda had a similiar problem. i went out with my best guy friend, but we broke up and he hates  me now and is spreading all kinds of rumors about me...
BFG...BigFriendlyGingerxx said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm
Is this how he felt when I asked him? :/ I feel bad... :(
Site Feedback