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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mudpuppy said...
Jun. 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm
I love this story! It reminds me of a similar indicdent that happen a couple of years.
gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 8:09 am

This was fantastic, very well-written and relatable.  Great job!  Keep writing!

Btw, anyone who sees this, will you check out and comment on my work?

loversfued said...
Jun. 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm
completely get this story!! i went through the exact same thing only i didnt tell him i liked him back and he ended up hating me and spreading horrible rumors. but i guess he really wasnt much of a friend to begin with then, right? oh well. i love your work! keep writing!!!
figureitout said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm
this is amazing.my bestfriend is also a guy and i know he likes me, he has never had any intention of hiding it. he tells me all the time the things i need to hear and the things that will make me feel better. even when he annoys the hell outta me, i call him after school just to remind him he's still my besetfriend no matter how rude I am to him. he lets me go on and on about drama and guys and my period for christ's sake. he tells me about his girl problems and about the other girls he's crush... (more »)
one_of_a_kind_girl replied...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm
tell him exactly how you feel. dont try to convince yourself otherwise, just to be a people pleaser. do whats best for you..if you dont want to think of each other as anything more, then don't try to persuade yourself to, because that will ruin it in the end. Who knows? maybe one day you will decide you are totally head over heels for this guy, and if the situation does come up, you'll know exactly what to say. I had a guyfriend who was the most amazing guy ive ever known, and i knew he l... (more »)
Sarbear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm
wow! this is so good! i want more--this is really great:)
Writingforme said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm
Moving, touching!! Lifted me away! Read my story, tell me what you think. Your story made me feel like I'm not alone, because the same thing happened to me! Thank you for writing your stroy!
a.m.f said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm
I really like it :) It can relate to many people, which makes it so great. If anyone has any spare time, I need some feedback on my short story, Scratching Stones. Thanks :)
Diana101 said...
Jun. 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm
I loved your story:)
SecretSelf14 said...
May 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm
- wow this was really amazing
iwanttobeforeveryoung said...
May 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm
 I really liked it, but if it's senior year how would the whole thing progress?
itsdariannnn said...
May 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm
we have all been through this embarrasing situation but u make it so mature :)
Phooh said...
May 25, 2010 at 6:07 pm
I really enjoyed this piece. It was raw and real. Too many stories are figmants of imagination but this one stands out, its what really happens. Wonderful job! Keep writing! :)
TheSummoningFreak said...
May 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm
LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
phatbeats This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm
this is good. i love how you seperate the quotes with responses to each one! excellent.
darkvisions said...
May 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm
This is excellent...it totally captures all the feeling in that situation, with great description...and ends with the perfect cliff-hanger. I'm dying for more, please keep writing!!!
MemorialMustangs said...
May 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm
i really like this it is like awww (: and everyone has been through that and knows how it feels and i really like this (:
thatclarinetgirl said...
May 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm
Ina way, I know how that feels. Keep writting!
MessyJessie said...
May 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm
i really like this(: you should check out mine(:
AwesomeNewt said...
May 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm
I love the article, amd i have a friend just like that
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