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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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AbigailElizabeth said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm
it's good...but confusing :/
DifferentTeenThis 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. replied...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I agree, why did she say she felt the same if she didn't, or did she? Either way it was beautifully written, great job!

Well, I've been in the same situation before but in the end I let him know I didn't feel the same.

Behind_Blue_Eyes replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm

i agree also....  she said she didn't like and then told him that she did. what up with that?

overall you did a great job. keep wrting !!

mc12 replied...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

wow that was amazing


splinteredsunlight said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm
I like this story, it's very well written. The ending is a little bit confusing, though. Is she telling the truth about liking him too, or is she lying to be able to continue maintaining a relationship?
sanra said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

actually, i'm in this situation right now, only i'm the gilr that's like "i like you"  and the boy won't talk about it.

i've read this before, a long time ago, when i thought, oh, that ending is pretty resonable, but now, being on the other side, i'm thinking it's just be better if s/he just tells me the feeling is not mutual, and we'll get over it. you know?

PoetryGirl13 said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm
OMG!!! I LOVE IT!!! I was actually in that situation a few years ago and it was alot like that. I love how you got the feeling just right for this.
fogottenpassword said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm
WOW!! Really great. So many people have been in this situation, myself included and the feelings of it can be hard to capture but you do a good job of analyzing the feelings and making them accesible. 
ferosa45 said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm
  ethereal. A common experience for many relationships that start out as friendship. The end was beautiful, nicely concocted. The anxiety driven answer motivated by illogic and fueled by a subconscious desire for more than mere friendship.
twilightlover said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 10:37 am
wow that is so good, it felt so real like i was there with her during that day.
HorseLover said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 6:32 am
This story is one of the best I have ever read!!
missamanda said...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 11:38 am
This was absolutely Amazing!
da writer said...
Jan. 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm
LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED it! oh, and did i mention i LOVE it?
. said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm
I agree with this COMPLETELY I actually feel this way about a close friend of mine but now he just thinks its because i think hes ugly >__>
daughter_of_athena This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 6:48 pm
I liked this. It's unique and comes from an interesting perspective. However, I noticed that in the middle you switched from saying "him" to "you" when referring to the same person. Did you mean to do that? Just a technical thing; it really doesn't take away much from the story, which is still good!
Lonewolf1213 said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm
I've been there, and it's so awkward! When will guys realize that best friends don't have to go out?
StoryWeaver said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm
This was great! You write really well, make your characters totally relateable and real. Keep writing!
WindDancer said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 6:54 am

Phew. I'm glad it turned out that way. You had me on edge there.

Great piece! Keep writing.

AnumK replied...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 11:02 am


Same here! I simply loved it! :)

musiqqlvr31 said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 3:26 am
many ppl feel that way
teeninkwriter said...
Jan. 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm
excellent. hope evrything turns out ok in the end:)
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