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!

Neautique132 said...
Jun. 3, 2011 at 9:35 am
Loved it! It moved me.
Missyninja said...
Jun. 3, 2011 at 9:08 am
Very good! Are you going to keep the story going? that would be cool. good job :)
Aemma said...
May 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm
Well that's going to cause a few complications in the future... why didn't she just tell him? Somethings I'll never understand. I like the story though.
Loco-Lu replied...
Jun. 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

It's harder than it looks. Falling for a friend... Here I am in creative wrting class going through the exact same thing. Except this time, it's me who dropped the L-word.

I've known him since... god, forever. He dated my friend, and when they ended, we didn't. He became my best friend, and I never really thought about it -- becoming more than that.

Only recently, actually. As in Monday. You see, he was dating this other girl for like 2 year,s and I was totally okay being just f... (more »)

ThePeaceDaisy replied...
Nov. 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm
I wrote my crush a note saying I liked him for a year...now we don't talk... It makes me sad because he was really nice and funny. But I met a new guy friend. I don't like hime though. If I do end up liking him though, I'm not going to tell him unless I know he likes me back. 
klmall said...
May 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm
This is a great story!
YAYwriting said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm
OH MY POTATOES that was brilliant. it's so sad... and so relatable, even though I've never dealt with this specific thing. This. Is. AWESOME.
mayo.girlie97 replied...
May 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm
haha oh my potatoes... :)
Lola_Black replied...
Jun. 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm
Do you mind if I steal that?
YAYwriting replied...
Jun. 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm
sure :) i don't mind
sunriseusnset said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm
everything she said in her head she should have said out loud. in a way, what a sad ending, but i loved it though! keep it up !
wonderHaley said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Did she mean what she said or was she just saying it because she felt bad and wanted everything to be okay?
KaitlynMarie said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm
this is so freaky how it reminds me of one of my best friends! i love it though(: great work!
Carlyn said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm
did she mean it?!
CraZy_OnE_1 said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Why did she say yes!?!?!?
kikigirl101 said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 11:16 am
This was really great! I enjoyed it, it kept me interested and engadged through the entire story! I loved it, really great job!
jocelyn123 said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

you did a really good job!?!?!?

I love it!

RealRiot said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 2:36 am
I love this story, I can relate to it really well. My byfriend is actualy my bestfriend but the only thing different is that nobody saw it coming between me and my BFF. Now everyone thinks we're mucking around. I really really love it!
benyewest said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 6:32 pm
Do you have any more of these amazing pieces coming up?
msoccerm345 said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm
this is amazingly written. beautiful. it so reminds me of my two best friends. she is obviously in love with him but he is dating the most popular girl in school that probably doesnt even like him and is just using him like she has every other guy. but my friend that is in love with him, refuses to admit that she has any feelings for him what so ever besides friendship.
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