A Girl Who's My Friend: A Girlfriend?

May 31, 2010
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I love you. Three words, three syllables, not hard to say, but possibly the hardest thing to understand. Over the last few weeks I realized how much I want to say those three little words, to Sarah. She is a gorgeous, nice, funny, caring and an all around amazing person. The one problem is she said the wrong thing. Not ‘I love you’ or ‘I need you,’ but ‘you’re my best friend’. I don’t want to be the best friend. I want to be the boyfriend.
I remember being five years old and sitting on my front porch, in the cold November air, watching as people started moving in to the big yellow house across the street from ours. I was hoping that a little boy around my age would move in so I would have someone to play with, all of the kids on my block were older and mean.
You can imagine my disappointment when I saw a teddy bear carrying, princess costume clad little girl hop out of the shiny black SUV and run in to the house with an excited squeal that made the birds rise from the tree outside their house like steam rising off a freshly baked pie. It wasn’t until a month later when my parents asked hers to watch me for a few hours when they went Christmas shopping that I realized she had potential to be an acceptable playmate.
I was dropped off at her house and her mother, who was busy cooking for company that would be arriving soon, told little Sarah to pick out a movie, hoping that it would keep us occupied long enough for her to finish the cooking and cleaning. Much to my surprise she put on my favorite power rangers movie as that movie finished and we looked for another I realized that we had a lot of the same movies and by looking around that play room we liked a lot of the same toys.
When I asked her why she liked ‘boy toys’ she said that she had a brother who was two years older then her, but he died. That’s why they moved; her parents didn’t want to be around where he lived and grew up. Sarah said that they were going to give away all of his toys but she threw fits and screamed until she turned blue and finally her parents let her keep his things. This was a good enough explanation for me and we spent the rest of the day playing like we had known each other forever. We were fast friends. When my mom picked me up she was surprised at what a good time I had and she started to arrange play dates with me and Sarah, glad that I finally had a friend in the neighborhood.
This had lead to an inseparable friendship and it lasted, all through grade school when the others girls had cooties Sarah was ‘safe’ she couldn’t get me infected. Even in middle school when our friends started ‘going out’ for the two of us it was still perfectly normal to hang out like we always did, going to movies or hanging out at the pool was as normal as if I was doing it with my guy friends or she was with her girl friends. Of course we got the occasional jab from people, asking why I had a girl who was my friend or if she was my girl friend. But I always replied with the well practiced, ‘she’s a girl who’s my friend, not a girlfriend.’
Now we both attend the same privet high school in a very urban part of Seattle and she is still my girl who’s a friend, in fact she’s my best friend. But the problem is I keep thinking of how I want her to be more then a friend; I want her to be my girlfriend.
It’s normal for us to walk to the pizza place across the street from the school but today I couldn’t stop my thoughts from wandering to the two of us dating. As we walked in silence I let myself slip in to a revere of what could happen. We could come to this same pizza shop, but she would be wearing my jacket and I would be holding her hand. We could share a soda and talk about school or sports or whatever subject came up. People would look at me with insane jealousy. How did he get a gorgeous girl like that? They would ask themselves. I would pull her out of her chair and start to walk out the door just as we crossed over the threshold I would lean in and gaze in to her eyes and just before our lips met…
This peaceful reverie was interrupted by Sarah squealing and I looked up to see her folded in to the arms of a boy who was twice my size and looked like he could swat me away like a fly. Sarah quickly introduced him as a friend from the all boys’ school that was not to far away from ours. She introduced me as her best friend for ever, well her actual words were ‘bff’. I don’t think I even need to tell you but this isn’t the acronym I wish she meant.
Sarah has lots of guy friends, but something about this one was creepy. Lets put it this way, if her eyes were in her chest, they made a lot of eye contact. And something about where he kept his had on her back was just weird. Maybe I didn’t like him because judging by his jacket he was a varsity football player. Or maybe it’s because he is the kind of guy who feels perfectly normal doing things like hugging all the girls he meets.
After we got home from school I got a phone call from Sarah. She was complaining about how her parents wouldn’t let her have a boy over to hang out when her parents were gone, when I realized that just this weekend I had been over to her house twice when her parents were out. It had become a normal thing. Sarah didn’t like being alone and I liked being with Sarah. Her parents trusted me. Or maybe they knew that she would never go for a guy like me. I couldn’t help but think that later I could use this to my advantage.
I have a sister who I am very close with and even though she is far away in collage she still calls almost every night to check in. She is the only one who I could tell about this. She was ecstatic when I told her I was going to ask Sarah out. She told me that no matter what, things are going to change. She claimed that there were only three situations that could happen. First she could say yes, jump in to my arms, kiss me and we would live happily ever after. Two she would say no that we would be better as friends and we would go on relatively close to how we always had. And three; she would feel very awkward, pretend to stay my friend but we would quickly grow apart. Even though she was trying to be helpful I would have rather she had only told me one and two.
The next day I was determined to ask her out. The only issue would be to get her alone. She was a cheer leader, a group who is infamous for never being apart. She also was in the school play, which posed another group of friends. And finally she was in all honors classes and because none of the cheerleaders or drama geeks were smart enough to be in those classes meant she knew a lot more people. In short Sarah is popular.
It wasn’t until today that I realized how little I was actually alone with Sarah. During all of the classes I have with her before lunch her friends were flocked around her, all curious about what she was doing for the Sadie Hawkins dance. For the record she didn’t know what she was doing, hopefully her plans would soon include me. During lunch she had a meeting with the drama club that I tagged along to because I am technically part of the stage crew but I never really do anything.
It wasn’t until the second class after lunch that I finally got her alone. It was science class, let me give you a quick over view of the teacher. He is tall and blond with a Texas accent he says things like ‘Ya’ll simmer down now’ and has a mustache the size of a squirrel tail. His class is really a joke. No one pays attention and Sarah and I sit in the back of the classroom. I thought that this would be the perfect time to ask her. As I was gathering my courage she leaned over very close and whispered a question in my ear. She wanted to know if there was something wrong with me. She said that I was being very quiet and not like myself. I turned to her and just as I was about to spill my soul, the dean of students, Mr. McAlester came in. The whole class room that just moments ago had been a mess of people throwing things, yelling and burning things was now silent.
Everyone, even the teacher, quivered in fear of Mr. McAlester. I glanced at Sarah who was about to collapse in a fit of giggles and just seeing her like that made me want to laugh too. I turned my eyes welling up with unsuppressed tears of laughter, afraid that I was going to burst. The class healed a collective breath as Mr. McAlester started to speak. He asked for a kid who was known for being a troublemaker to please follow him to his office and the two of them left in silence. The moment the door closed the class erupted in screams and shouts and me and Sarah ended up in fits of laughter almost to the point of ending up rolling on the floor.
When we finally righted ourselves, Sarah asked what it was I was going to say before the dean came in. By now most of the class had seen our laugh attack and was wondering what it was about, the half of the class that wasn’t trying to put a ‘kick me, Einstein’s my hero’ sign on out teachers back were looking at us. I couldn’t tell her now, what if she said no and option number three became a reality? I mumbled that it didn’t matter anymore and blew my best chance of asking her.
We were on the way home from school on the 255 bus like always but this bus is filled with people from my school. And as much as I would like for them to share in my triumph if I asked her out and she said yes, the possibility of rejection is too great. So we sat on the bus, talking about petty things until we transferred busses. There weren’t any people from our school on this bus; in fact aside from the old guy sleeping in the back, there wasn’t anyone at all.
I turned to Sarah and she looked at me like she was expecting something. ‘Well?’ she said ‘are you gonna tell me why you’ve been acting so weird?’.
I took a deep breath. ‘Do you remember when we were little and we both liked the same toys?’ I asked. ‘And how we spent the summer playing in the sprinklers and having lemonade stands? Then in the winter in the like two times a year it would snow we would build a jump at the bottom of the hill and see how much air we could get?’
‘Yes. I do. What made you think of that?’
‘Because I knew back then that you were special. I knew that you were someone that I could trust and who really understood me. I know that you think of me as a best friend and that’s fine I guess, but I would really like it if you could think of me as more, think of me as a boyfriend. My sister said there are only a few ways that this can turn out, and a big one is us not being friends anymore, I really don’t want this to happen but I can’t stand not telling you. I just want you to know how I feel.’ I finished gasping for air; I had barely taken a breath the whole time. I turned away from her, not wanting to see her reaction.
I heard the slight ping sound that the bus made when someone wanted it to stop and I looked up to see Sarah getting up.
‘Come on.’ she said, ‘This is our stop.’
I swiped my card and stepped off the bus, wanting to run off down the street and not have to stand there any longer. I was standing with my head down when I felt Sarah’s hand reach out and grab mine. I looked to her face that was slowly starting to from a smile.
‘I’m glad you told me’ she said and I waited for the inevitable,’ but I think we would be better just as friends’ or ‘I’ve been talking to someone else’, but what she said next really surprised me. ‘I’m glad you told me’ she repeated ‘because I’ve been thinking the same thing.’ I was so relieved. She jumped up from the bench she was sitting on and she gave me a hug. I looked into her eyes and did the thing that I had been waiting so long to do.
I kissed her.
A month later when Sarah and I were walking hand in hand to that quaint pizza shop, in the pouring rain I realized that everything I wanted had come true. I stopped her and spun her around, making water fly off her hair like a sprinkler. I pulled her close and told her the one thing that I knew had to be said. I healed her tight and said it.
‘Sarah, I love you.’

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm
I agree, some spelling mistakes(although everyone has them)and just watch the punctuation, but honestly, I LOVED it!  Some people say friendship ends in love but love doesn't end in friendship-i totally agree!  This was really sweet and realistic, GREAT job.  Will you guys check out my work and comment on it?
KiraKira said...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm
I love the story line and the characters, everything about them made me smile. One thing: always check for spelling. Besides that, it was great! Keep writing 
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