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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xtwilightx95 said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm
I love to read stories that I can relate to, and this is one of them. Great job with the story
citylightsgirl93 said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm
this was such an amazing piece of work! loved the ending, and maybe you can check out some of my stuff too. great job, though
Hippie_Runner said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm
wow i loved that ending! it was a surprise after you kept saying how you just wanted to be friends! i love your work and i hope you can read some of mine too!
mkgirl395 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm
It's always a good thing to touch on something we all can relate to. I'm no exception; this has happened to me- or at least, I see it coming :/.
Anyways, you are so eloquent! I want to read more from you!
KAMera said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 9:40 am
wow... this is what is happening to me in two different situations at the same time, but at different parts of the story. this was an amazing piece! i loved the whole thing! i liked the suspense created! hahah! brilliant!
fallenfrommercy said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 4:51 am
that was so supremely awesome, thats happened to me so many times before but i could never find a way to put it in poem form lol
qwop man said...
Mar. 18, 2010 at 9:26 am
nice story..loved iit
xLoVeLyCuTiEe428x said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Told you it was a MUST read!!
xBaByGiRrL22x said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm
wow. i luv this!
***3Lli3*** said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm
i loved this can you look at my poems.. Yesterday's tomorrow and impossible to answer are my favorites check them out and tell me how you like them :)
Megan P. said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm
Wow. I really felt for the character. Good job at the portrayal!
BECKYwww said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm
I LOVED YOUR STORY! It happens a lot to people. Your story made it feel like I was in their shoes.
HADLEY said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 12:03 pm
That was an amazing story! i felt like i was there!
sidneynicole said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 11:59 am
i loved it! it felt like i was there,keep on writing i love your stuff you got a real talent
Petrina said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 10:15 am
amazing yopu really have a gift
alwayswriting14 said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 9:36 am
Amazing! You really have a gift for describing the scene so i really felt i was there at the very least, i might've even have been the girl.
twiwrite said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm
im confused ... did she really like him???
Rachel S. said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm
I really felt like I could be the girl that this story was written about. Well done!
FlyingAlight said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm
This was amazingly written! It is really one of the best things I have read in a while. I like how she say "Me too" in the end, trying to make things right, but when things play out that will only make things worse.
I went through this once. It wasn't fun. but I'm still friends with the guy
SilverLuna said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm
Wow. This was great. I love how she lists all the signs and her feelings as shes' counting down the minutes untill she has to respond. You're getting ready for this let down at the end and then "poof!" a spark of happiness!(: Great Job.
Read some of my stuff, please?
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