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 376 comments. Post your own now!

LI ang said...
Apr. 15 at 6:35 pm
TheEvergreenThis 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...
Jan. 12 at 10:10 pm
A good read! Thankfully I have never been in that situation
surya_k replied...
Jan. 27 at 8:05 am
Haha true. I've changed so many schools I don't know my friends anymore.
Reburta said...
Jun. 21, 2016 at 10:49 am
This was amazing!! Youre super talented. Keep on writing at all costs :)
LittleInker said...
Dec. 6, 2015 at 7:10 pm
I'm in a situation like this...Wonder if I should do the same...? lol
LittleRedDeliriousPrinceThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 23, 2015 at 8:38 am
This is an amazing piece. If it's a true story, and even if it's not, the bravery required to admit something that has been so suppressed for so long. You captured it perfectly.
kt0616 said...
Oct. 1, 2015 at 10:05 am
I'm reading this in my creative writing class, I was just wondering if this actually happened to you?
Mehrik replied...
Oct. 23, 2015 at 8:24 pm
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed! Part two is coming out soon, so keep your eye out!
Mehrik replied...
Oct. 23, 2015 at 8:27 pm
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, keep your eye out for part two, it's coming out soon!
RationalIdealist said...
Apr. 27, 2015 at 9:08 pm
This reminds me so much of a situation in my life right now. It's a really hard situation with what feels like millions of possible solutions, all wrong. Thanks for expressing that pain through your writing.
MissEmilyDickinson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 20, 2015 at 1:05 pm
I love this. In a lot of ways, I can connect to it. It's absolutely, lovely and filled with feeling and honesty. I think this one, many can connect too. You're a beautiful and wonderful and talented writer and person. You have such a talent and greatness and light and a beauty that is your own; and so much more. All of this and just so much. Thank you so much for sharing this, my friend! I absolutely, love this. Also, congrats on having this already published in Teen Ink's magazine because y... (more »)
Bulldogsgirl said...
Sept. 22, 2014 at 10:40 am
I am just now reading this in my creative writing class and i just wanted to know, why did you write this?
Caitibug said...
Jun. 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm
*adds to favorites*
GhostMatrix said...
May 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm
Yea i see this happen alot, so i can kinda relate.   Wait, so at the end she said yes? As in yes i'll date you or yes i liked liked you too?     Well i liked it anyway, got pulled into normal reality. I day dream alot.           Good Work.         Keep Writing.
Viktorya said...
Apr. 21, 2014 at 11:53 pm
Absolutely love the ending and the whole mood of the story! 
Kailuasurfer said...
Apr. 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm
You have an amazing, intriguing writing style. I love it!
Bailey V. said...
Apr. 21, 2014 at 10:44 am
wow this was an awesome story. I can so relate to that story.
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*
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