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

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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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akbaby2011 said...
May 22, 2009 at 12:34 am:
this is really good :) I like how you made me think that something had happened like two people dated and broke up and now they're just friends, and then it's something entirely different..I love it :)
 
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.:ArleneNicole:. said...
May 22, 2009 at 12:17 am:
Had my attention the entire time. It was relatable to almost every girl, so you had the reader hooked to find out the outcome. Very good work.
 
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daisydee123 said...
May 21, 2009 at 9:42 pm:
super super good!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Anjo! said...
May 18, 2009 at 6:34 am:
Wow. awesome. i wish you guys could write books and be able to get published! these are all so amazing!!!
 
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Kimberly P. said...
May 2, 2009 at 3:07 am:
Amazing piece.
 
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musician142010 said...
May 1, 2009 at 11:49 pm:
I think that what I loved most about your writing is how relatable it is. Even though it may not be the same exact situation, I think that lots of teens could relate to the young man and young woman in this story. Keep up the writing, and I think that writing in first person is your strong point!
 
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.::Rockstar::. said...
May 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm:
this story totally relates to how I feel about a guy right now. Amazing story!
 
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iWrite said...
May 1, 2009 at 9:39 pm:
That was amazing! Kudos!
 
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xcupcakesxbrokenheartx said...
Apr. 26, 2009 at 4:07 am:
Wow. Simply amazing. What I would like to know is how she saw him hit his head on the showerhead. I assume that they were playing hide-and-seek or something...

Check out my work?
 
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katie B. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 26, 2009 at 1:05 am:
very good. i liked it
 
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izzybella said...
Apr. 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm:
you have great detail. and your writing is great. i don't know how you do it, but it's amazing.
 
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Chrissy L. said...
Apr. 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm:
This is incredible. I'd be blessed if I could ever write half as good as you.
 
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Chief Warlock said...
Apr. 21, 2009 at 5:33 pm:
Amazing story. The ending was a bit confusing, though. Never mind that you certainly have a natural talent with words. Keep on writing.
 
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xXsmileXx This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 19, 2009 at 9:42 pm:
WOW. reading that was like reading my own life for past year. A guy that was my best friend finally told me he liked me (even though i already knew it) and i did the same thing that happened in the story. Reading that suddenly made me remember every detail and gave me those same feelings of anticipation. Awesome work!
 
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:PBUBBLES:P said...
Apr. 19, 2009 at 8:05 pm:
This was awesome! What does she mean by "Me too?"
Did she decide she liked him? Did she lie to him? You have to write a sequel to this!!!!! It flowed really well and sounded so natural, the way an actual person would think! Awesome!
 
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Josh K. said...
Apr. 14, 2009 at 2:02 am:
One word for this story."WOW". No but really your story was amazing. My friend just had that happen to him. I think most teens can relate.
 
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TissaB said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 11:06 pm:
wow were did you learn to write like that it was unbelievable and just wow!!!!
 
ManekiNeko replied...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 5:40 pm :
Beautiful. Simply.
 
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Madi J. said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm:
I loved it! You're word vhoice was phenominal! The words jsut flowed so naturally with it that it didn't seem like you were trying to squeeze in a ton of great vocabulary words. The story was amazing. I loved how you wrote it in second person because it really showed the reader what type of relationship you wanted the character to have with this boy. If you had written it in first it would be something like, We were best friends. I like how you used clues to fill in the gaps. Great,... (more »)
 
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LaLaLindsy said...
Apr. 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm:
i really do think this was good. but it would be better if you wrote more! This is something a lot of people can relate to, even if that person wasnt their best friend...
 
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