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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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kaykay said...
Jan. 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm
nice language, i luv yer first person point of view thing...very realistic i oculd c it playin out in my mind. PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE do a sequel. the ending was cool but i wanna hear even more!! keep it up, yer an awesome writer!!
kheart replied...
Jan. 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm
Great I love this! Please comment and rate my stuff. I like this it defines some relationships your no sure you want to have.
spartanwriter said...
Jan. 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm
Awesome story, amazing writing. Keep it up!
ilovetinkerbell said...
Jan. 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm
I really like this. It is a similar way with me. I have two boys who really like me but the one I only see as a friend who will always be there for me. The other I see a guy i want to spend the rest of my life with. I know how it feels not wanting to hurt the one you only see as a friend.
Great job by the way.
sexxi nik said...
Jan. 13, 2010 at 7:33 am
i liked your writing it was sweet but also sad
sleeplessdreamer said...
Dec. 30, 2009 at 10:02 am
In a really weird way that was kind of sweet... but kind of sad. Bittersweet... I love your writing! Great job!
InkThroughTheseVeins said...
Dec. 22, 2009 at 11:41 am
It was AMAZING. I've been here before, lots of times, but WOW, that took courage. Amazingly visual. It felt as though I was actually there.
AzureGal said...
Dec. 7, 2009 at 4:22 am
Aww!! Loved it!! And i like the ending LOL.. =)
bookworm4ever99 said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 8:24 pm
This was amazing! I've been in this situation before, I loved it! Wonderfully put together, did you realize that you liked him? Or did you just want to stay friends and the only way was to not hurt his feelings?
JournalEntry replied...
May 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm
Wow really good I didnt expect the end though Good Job
ashley2055 said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 7:35 pm
loved it, so did she actually like him? or was she just trying to be nice? becuase it seemed like she liked him in the end even before she said it. Great story
Sharpie96 said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 6:49 pm
wooooow I really liked this peice! it's very moving!!!
~*el-oh-vee-ee*~ said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 6:38 pm
i love this piece. wonderful work! :D
MusicInMyHeart<3 said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm
This is amazing...and very relatable for me which sucks but at the same time I'm glad I'm not the only one. I love the ending. The whole thing is so well put together. Great job.
katieh4ever said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 3:37 pm
:DDDDDD wow!!!
that was so amazing! it was cute, it was suspensful, and i completely loved it!!! :) thnx for posting this! it gives people(and me)percpective. :) thnx again!!! :D
ChowD This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm
so much suspense! love it :]
Amour said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm
Aw. I loved it! It's something that many girls go through and I love your writing style.
flute_bandie1493 said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 8:54 am
ive read this one before lol i loved it! it reminded me of the exact thing that happened to me. i had a boy like me, and we had been friends for like, ever and i knew he liked me, but i didnt like him that way, but i decided to giv him a chance anyway. its always good to give someone a chance. everyone deserves one
shywriter said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 7:55 am
it was an amazing story.. though in the end I was sure she would reject him. If she had it would have been better because this way she is just leading him on. Is there a sequel? Because I really want to know what happens next!
ettelohcinlove said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm
Wow. Great story. The ending was a little harsh, though. I mean, if she doesn't really feel that way, why say so?
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