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.

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justwannabeme said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm
wow. this is a great story. i actually kinda hav the same problem. i am going out with my best guy friend. i have known him since first grade. and like that story, i know a lot about him. but see...i dont know if i still like him. its just it feels weird. i know to much about him and he knows to much bout me.....so anyone got any advice???
GodsStudent replied...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Ahh, yes, I have advice :)

If you your age is:

11-14: Don't date him or anything like that until you are atleast 15 or 16

If you are 15-16: Don't go out with him until you are atleast 18 if you really REALLY like him

and if you're older pretty much just add like 2 years before you go out with him LOL


Good luck and be smart ^_^

justwannabeme replied...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm
thank you. haha. i will actually take this advice. :)
GodsStudent replied...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 4:43 pm
You're welcome! xD, just think of me as the "answer dude" haha
Alexia_Grey replied...
Oct. 26, 2010 at 12:15 am
Lol ima gonna use ur advice too.. sounds smart ;)
ilovewriting95 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm
I loved that... it was beautiful. Great job.
nomorox said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 10:30 am
i loved my best friend boy, and now we don't talk.
Nora.Whatever said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 10:16 am
I love the way to lead up to things by giving us little bits of info and then making the big picture. It made me want to keep reading. Wonderful story (:
niesh13 said...
Jul. 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm
I Like Thiss... Bt Doess She Mean It.?
Christa W. said...
Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:15 am
i love this story but did she really mean to say that to keep him or does she now feel the same way?
sweet_silent_surenity said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm
I pose the same question as MercedesXO. Was she saying that just to keep him, or did she really mean it?
leneypanini said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 11:37 pm
beautifully written:) i <3 it!!
MercedesXO said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm
i love this. like loveee lovee this. and im wondering if it's a true story or sumthing you created? either way it's amazing. but i was kinda confused at the endd..when the girl said "Yeah. Me too." like, did she realize that she loved him back and was ready to face the truth? or did she just not want to hurt him and go along with it?
WritingLoverForever said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm
I really like this. It's very interesting and can easily keep the reader's attention. Nice job, and check out some of my work too, please. :)
lovetowriteandwatchTV said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm
good job, it shows what you'll do to avoid hurting a bestfriend, you'll lie if it helps your best friend and makes them fell good, i've made the stupid mistake of not doing that and i think i regret it.
elle_la_vielurv said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm
really good, different. it sounds like they really don't like him but in the end .....
courteycat said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm
I love it its very well-written. Continue writing:D
skribbelz13 said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm
I absolutely love this! The inner thoughts in between the conversation, the detail, the emotions, it's all so tangible!! FABULOUS!
sabortooth1 said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 10:27 am
Please read the book review of The Kite Runner.  Just search "The Kite Runner" and it is about the third green highlighted one.  Very Inspiring! Rate/Comment it
cyprianna_2010 said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 1:19 am
That was amazing! I was in love with my best friend and told him at the end of my senior year and he said lets just be friends. But your story was amazing. I loved how you showed her guilt of leading him on. Keep it up :D
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