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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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This article has 365 comments. Post your own!

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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chelsea G. said...
Apr. 8, 2009 at 2:25 am:
i love it i totally have felt dis way b/4!! good job!! :)
 
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BellaLuna said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm:
was that a cliffhanger? will you be writting more? please say yes because this is so interesting i car about the girl andthe guy and want to know what happens? if you dont write more about it can i? lol. just kidding would never wasnt my idea. sorta like bella n jcob if u think ab it
 
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PinkPrincess said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 9:42 pm:
wow that was really great! keep on writing
 
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jan said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm:
wow that was sooooooooo wonderful! ur a rlly great writer keep it up! :)
 
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xlacrossex22 said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm:
That was awesome! Totally relatable! Write a sequel! I have to know what happens!
 
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Nicole3900 said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 11:34 am:
AWESOME story!! I loved it -- especially the last sentence! Please make a sequel!!
 
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YeseniaG said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm:
Amazing work. Definitely love how it ended.
 
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CHARM said...
Apr. 5, 2009 at 5:54 am:
i agree! make a sequel:)
 
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ccbinks said...
Apr. 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm:
Totally cool, and i've been there so i know the emotions are completely real and relevent to the situation. The only thing is i don't really get how it seems like you're writing the story to him but you're also telling the story to us. Either way, in the long run i bet it could be pulled off. Good work.
 
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Merry(: said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 2:36 am:
Wow, that is absolutely amazing. What happens next though? You should like totally make a sequel because relationships with friends might last but sometimes they don't... So you should like totally make a sequel.
(:%Pr
 
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Melinda L. said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:54 am:
wow. how amazng was that?? pretty dang amazing if you ask me! :) great job, keeep writing!
~Melinda~
 
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Andies Mints55 said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:25 am:
danng this is an amazing story. it was very intense...sort of what i went through too...
 
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Rachel S. said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 12:15 am:
You are amazing at describing your words exactly so the reader can actually picture what is going on, the emotions going through her head, everything. Nice work! <3
 
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CloudedCrystal said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 12:04 am:
All i can say is that this was amzing. I have totally been there and I have a friend who is there RIGHT NOW. when you're relating to real life, it definitey pulls the reader in. Great work!
 
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ARQUETTE1996 said...
Apr. 1, 2009 at 11:01 pm:
thats a very good short story, is it true? i like how you wrote in what exactly you were thinking..well done!
 
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Emilyyy said...
Apr. 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm:
Very well done! I loved it!
 
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annkaykay2011 said...
Apr. 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm:
Wow really intense. I love the real world high school drama, its better than the fake stuff. i love it, keep it up!
 
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brian15 said...
Apr. 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm:
this story was very intense in the sense of excitement, and rushing in your escape from the locker like Lara d had said i felt like i was in the story i have gone through this as well, and me and my friend are still friends through that rough day lol. But anyways this story was very well put out.
 
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tweedle dee said...
Apr. 1, 2009 at 11:46 am:
wow, this pressure is exactly what i'm going through now, except i said no i wasnt ready to have a relationship beyond freindship. this was so real, i could see it!!! great work.
 
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