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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MissRuca said...
Dec. 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm
This is really a fab piece. It's so... real. People can relate.... The ending is really sweet. Unexpected, but sweet.
hannaj15 said...
Nov. 18, 2013 at 8:28 am
Awesome! I didn't like the ending, but that's only my reaction to it. Literature-wise, it was fantastic! 
dizzydreamer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm
*adds to favorites*
SiddharthG. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 27, 2013 at 2:08 am
WOW! It was a delight reading this. And the ending was unexpected but great...
SoImAWriterNow said...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Wow. I so wasn't expecting that ending. O_O But it made it that much better.
catwithglasses said...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 8:16 am
This is so good. When I got to the end I was so curious. I love a good cliff-hanger! Great job and keep writing!
Isibeal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm
Really good job! I love how you capture her confusion and emotion! Sooo good!
JRaye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm
Beautifully written! :) Short and simple, but real descriptive and realistic. Not surprising this made the magazine! Great job! :)
sammylunaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm
very cool!
DeereGirl515 said...
May 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm
Ironically I just had my best friend do this to me and your story captures the heat of the moment and the swirling confusion so perfectly. I couldn't have described it even half as well. Great work, keep it up!
WinstonSmith said...
May 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm
This is very realistic.
InspireWriter said...
Apr. 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm
This was just amazing!
SuzieQ777 said...
Mar. 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm
I love how a lot of people have felt this way about a bestie, and how you captured feeelings of it so well!
thatunknownthing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 2, 2013 at 6:21 am
Jadestorm said...
Jan. 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm
I really liked this . So sweet. Good job.
Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:16 am
thats the cutest little story that i've read in al ong time!!
Draggin Dragon said...
Dec. 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm
This is MY life. Fast forwared about...5 years?
VelaneDeBeaute This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm
Take that last line out and its my story. Believe it or not, but its happened, with the twist that we're not even friends any longer :P But all in all, this was a great write. I adore this one so much! :) 
In_Love_with_Writing replied...
Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:50 am
Really nice job. I know you gave some insight already into the characters, but I still feel a little bit like I'm on the outside of the story. Putting even more feeling (without being execessive) will put me more into the main character's shoes.
In_Love_with_Writing replied...
Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:51 am
Whoops. Didn't mean to reply to the comment above.
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