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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This article has 379 comments. Post your own now!

DayDreaamer said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm
Wow this was good (: I actually feel weird now because I'm going through a situation just like this........
KaylaAmy-Marie said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 9:25 am
I loved it!!
auswagg said...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm
Wow this was an awesome piece! Even though it was relatively short, I felt like it still had some twists that were worked in very well! Like a lot of other people have said, I really didn't expect the ending, but I really liked it. Great work!
NicoleSanchez said...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm
WOW! I really loved it! The ending was so unexpected! I thought you were going to tell him it won't work out or something like that! Keep it up!:)
kgonzalez1 said...
Dec. 20, 2011 at 10:48 am
I really enjoyed this story! It kept me interested throughout the whole thing. And with all the detail about how she was trying to avoid him and how nervous she was, really helped me picture it in my head. I loved how you wrote what she was thinking because it really told us about her relationship with him. I didn't expect the ending which was what made the story even better for me. Really great job (:
emmabergman said...
Dec. 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Wow! The ending was great. I loved your choice of words and how you really descibed the relationship. You really painted a picture in my mind and made me feel like I was actually experiencing what was going on. Good Job! Keep Writing :)
LivSlytherin replied...
Dec. 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm
Shut up you annoying thing. But I do agree. Good article
emmabergman replied...
Dec. 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm
Im about to report abuse! hahah
LivSlytherin replied...
Dec. 18, 2011 at 7:43 pm
Ahhahahahah I love you text me back poop face
StarStrukk said...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm
LOVE IT!!! I want more :) lol. this was absolutely great.
Jules13 said...
Nov. 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm
I LOVE IT!!!! You did a GREAT job!! I love how you built up the relationship with all the background detail and I think you should definetly keep writing!!!
irishlass317 said...
Nov. 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm
WOW. I love this. keep writing!!! I love how you really built up and told the reader about their relationship!! Great Job!! :D
Ella1 said...
Nov. 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm
This was really great, I love how you wrote about a few minutes in such detail! Amazing job.
shinrai said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm
Great job, I loved the detail and thought the ending was spetacular!! You should keep going with your writing.
SMAM99 said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm
Wow, the ending was really unexpected! This is an amazing story and the imagery is lovely.
star2brite This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 8:06 am
Great job with the subject matter--it wasn't cliche and the writing is very good! I didn't expect the ending either, which made me like this piece. The emotions were vivid without being overdone, too. Great job! :)
SillyPanda779 said...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm
Absolutely loooved this (: The emotions were very vivid! I could relate to this sooo much... Godo job! :D
selenafan1 said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm
This is drop dead on the ground awesome u should be a writer cuz u r ah mazing
Sadie said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 9:15 am
I really love this story i can relate to this so much. ME and my bestfriend have been friends since kindergrten and he likes me and i tokd him i do't want to ruin our relastionship because we was stupid enpught to datee. If we date then we may never talk agian and he said okay and every since that day we have been closer then ever. He is like a bog bro to me that i never had before. :)
paigeturner9 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 12:18 am
love this! I can totally relate, all the emotions seem so real
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