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Charlie and I have been best friends pretty much since we were born. We grew up living a 5 minute walk away from each other and our dads were really good friends. We’d always stay at each other’s houses, even on school nights. Our parents thought we were basically made for each other and that our future would include the two of us, with children. They liked the fact that we had each other to lean on and to take care of one another.
I remember the first time when we were little that we thought it’d be cool if we kissed each other, we were probably in second or third grade. Once we tried it we thought we’d never want to do it again! Charlie liked to play tricks on me and he’d always tickle me. He’d sit on me and try to make me pee my pants. When we were kids we’d always find some way to goof around and be weird.
Once we got a little older our parents realized that our hormones would become a little crazier so we weren’t aloud to spend the night together any more. But we hung out every day, all day until one of our parents called us home. If Charlie wasn’t eating dinner at my house, I was eating dinner at his house, or we were eating out together that night.
When we got into middle school every one knew that we were best friends. Some people tried to spread a rumor saying we’ve been dating forever or that we just liked to have fun together. But those people never realized what Charlie and I really had. It was hard dealing with all of the things our peers would say about us. But we both knew that we always had each other no matter what. We’d gotten this far in our lives together, what could pull us apart now? Once we got into high school people immediately told us that we should date. They kept pushing us and pushing us telling us we’d be the perfect happy couple. We talked about it a countless amount of times, but we both agreed that we had something way too special to start something different. We were both too comfortable with the way things were that we didn’t want to take the risk of completely ruining it. He’s was the one guy I knew I could trust with things I wouldn’t even tell my parents. I knew he would take my secrets to the grave with him.
Our freshman year went by pretty quickly. Then our sophomore year went by even quicker. Then there was the big junior year, the year of Varsity sports and Prom. He was on the football team in the fall and I played basketball in the winter. I’d go every Friday night to cheer him on and when I looked in the stands to see if he was at my basketball games, he was always sitting front and center. He always made sure that I knew he was there to support me and he always knew I was there to support him. That’s how we were, we were practically one person.
It was our senior year, on a Thursday; we went out to dinner to a little family diner down the road. We were just enjoying ourselves as usual but I could tell something was on Charlie’s mind that he wanted to talk about eventually but he knew now wasn’t the time because we were having fun and being our normal selves. So finally I built up the courage to ask him what was going on.
“Charlie, what’s wrong?” I asked him.
“I don’t know that I really want to talk about it. We’ll have to eventually, but is now really the moment?” he uneasily replied.
“Well, if we’re going to have to talk about it eventually, we might as well talk about it now while we still have the time.”
There was a slight pause before he decided to speak. “What are we going to do next year when we’re in college and going to different schools. Well, where do you even want to go to college?” A frown came upon his face as he asked me this.
The second I heard his question I knew exactly why he didn’t want to talk about it. We had been avoiding the discussion of not going to school together in the years ahead. We would try to figure out a way to go to the same school but our majors are just so different it seems almost impossible. I look up from my food and grab his hand as I can feel the tears beginning to work their way to my eyes. “We’ve been best friends all of our lives right? We’ve been there for each other through all the toughest things we’ve faced. You were even there when I was born!” A grin finds its way across my face. “If we’ve made it this far in our lives and nothing has changed, than I doubt going to different schools will break us apart. We obviously won’t see each other as much, but we’ll make things work.” As I tell him this I try to convince myself at the same time that the words I am speaking to him are really true.
“You never answered my question of where you want to go.” He replied a little on the edgy side.
I knew he was upset about the whole situation but he didn’t have to start getting upset with me. “I don’t really know yet. I want to study abroad, like in France. But I don’t think my parents could afford it right now and I know I certainly couldn’t. I’m not sure that any school around here even offers that type of thing. So I might have to go out of state. Plus, it’ll be nice to get out of Connecticut for a change.”
Through the corner of my eye I could see his posture just slouch once I said that. “I knew we’d be apart but I didn’t think it’d be that far.” He couldn’t find the words he wanted to say next.
The first thought to float through my head was, what if he came with me. But if we weren’t dating then why would I ask him to do something like that. Friends don’t need to see each other every day to keep their relationship strong and going. That was the first time that I had ever even considered being with him in the way that every one told us we were destined to be. It made my stomach a little queasy. I didn’t know what to do.
Charlie could tell something was going on in my head now. He gave me a puzzled look. Then I had to look away. What was I supposed to do? Tell him that I just figured out that I might want to be with him. Should I tell him that we’ve been best friends for our entire lives and we’ve had way more than one opportunity to be together, but it took me until the last year before we’ll separate to figure out that we might be right together? What if it’s just the thought of leaving him that makes me scared and makes me want anything that can keep us together? What if I don’t really want to be with him like that, I just want to make sure that I don’t loose him as a friend? I can’t tell him that I have feelings for him if I don’t even know what I’m feeling. Before I could even stop them the words came out of my mouth. “What if you went with me?”
Maybe to him it wasn’t as big of a deal, he didn’t see right away how much it would be affecting his life and how he would be giving up so much to be with his best friend, not his girl friend, fiancé, or wife. A smile came upon his face, it gave me butterflies. “I actually wouldn’t mind that. Like you said it’d be nice to get out of Connecticut for once.” He used my words to now prove his point. He didn’t find this as such a big deal, so why did I?
“Would you really leave everything here to go to school with me even though we aren’t...” I couldn’t find the right word I wanted to say. “..Together.” I finally spat out.
“Is there a chance of us eventually ending up together?” He was just as surprised as I was that this came up in very serious conversation.
I sat there for a moment still on the verge of tears completely lost and confused as to what I really wanted. There were butterflies in my stomach like I had never felt before. Maybe this is what I’ve been waiting for in life to make me even happier. How could I not see myself, yet every one else could, that maybe we would be good together. “I... I would be willing to give it a try.” My hand flew over my mouth after I said that. My life just took a drastic turn. I made myself pause for a minute. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and that’s when I realized. The butterflies in my stomach grew even bigger than I thought they ever could. I didn’t want to show him how vulnerable I was about this situation and for once in my life I couldn’t tell what he was feeling or thinking. I never thought we would be in this type of situation.
“Well,” he said. “What should we do?”
“Is dating me something you’d actually be interested in?” I was nervous to hear his response.
“Kate, I’ve realized recently that I have wanted to start a relationship with you but I didn’t know how to tell you. Every time I wanted to tell you I’d look at you and remember every thing we have and completely be at a loss for words.” He began to speak a little softer. “I’m just as lost and confused about this as you are. I want to be with you where ever you go. I want to be there to support you in the hard times that you might face and be there to talk about the tough decisions that you might have to make. I want to be there to show you that someone loves and cares for you no matter what mistake you make. Everything is there for us to be together, so why aren’t we? Just because we’re scared about what’s going to happen. If things don’t work out in a more serious situation, we’ll figure out a way to get back to normal. If there’s a will there’s a way. We can’t just leave this the way it’s always been. Then wonder for the rest of our lives what it might’ve been like. We can’t be afraid of what could happen because we’ll never know until we try and I don’t want to regret not taking the opportunity to be with you.” He sighed very deeply; I could tell he just got the load of the world off of his chest. He looked up at me and a grin slid across his face. I couldn’t help but smile myself.
“How long have you wanted to say all of this to me?” I asked in a concerned manner.
“Once I knew for sure I felt it, I knew I really wanted it. For a long time I was just too scared to actually see it. I kept denying the fact that I thought I wouldn’t be able to live with out you.” He sighed again.
“You never know until you try right?” I kind of smirked as I said this.
The next day we went on our first official date. It wasn’t weird, it seemed like it should’ve been like this all along. We were both more than happy to know that this might work out for our good. I kept thinking how glad I was that we talked about it and finally figured out what we wanted. It was more than I could’ve ever expected!
Eventually we just knew we were meant to be. There was no other way we could see our lives. We discussed it and we decided that it might be a good thing that we didn’t start dating in middle school or high school. That situation could’ve caused us to break up and not be together now. We knew that we were best friends for such a long time for a reason. It gave us the opportunity to figure out who we were separately before we had to decide who we were as one.
Our freshman year of college was a lot of fun. We both ended up going to the University of Maryland. We enjoyed exploring the new atmosphere together. Then there was the one day of my life I know I will never forget. I was in my room at school just studying for the English test I had the next day. Charlie said he was going to go pick something up and he’d be back in a little bit. First he was gone for an hour, and then it turned into three, then four. I kept trying to call his cell phone but there was no answer. I knew he doesn’t like to answer his phone while he’s driving but usually if I call him more than once he answers and just quickly talks to me. Since he wasn’t picking up I called one of his buddies, Allen, to see if he knew what was going on and why he was gone for so long. He said he was going to surprise me with something but he didn’t think it would take that long for him to get it. I sat there worried and I kept trying to calling but I got nothing. Eventually when I called him it went right to his voicemail, I couldn’t help but assume the worst.
At around 2 o’clock in the morning Charlie’s dad called me. He told me that the State of Maryland police had called him and told him that Charlie was in a very serious car accident and he didn’t know what was going to happen to him. He was conscious but he had no idea what was going on. The police were sending him straight to the hospital to get checked out.
Once I got all the hospital information I went straight to my car and drove to the hospital. I never thought it was so far away, it seemed like it took me forever to get there that night. It felt like I couldn’t breathe, my chest felt like it had a thousand pounds on it the entire way there. The walk down the hall to what might be my biggest nightmare was the most devastating. I’ve cried before but I have never cried that hard. Thoughts just kept going through my head that he might not be there for me tomorrow morning. I couldn’t get over the fact that I’ve lived my entire life with this man and that I might not have him any more. I finally reached his room. I tried to wipe my tears away and act like everything was ok because I didn’t want to scare him and I wanted to show him that in his vulnerable situation I would be strong for him. I took a deep breath before I walked in because I knew this would be something I could never prepare myself for.
I walked in, turned the corner and there he was. His eyes were shut and I could hardly tell his chest was moving up and down. He had cuts and scrapes all over. There were bright orange casts on his left arm and leg. I was at a loss of breath when first seeing him. I grabbed his hand and he opened his eyes just slightly. A grin crawled across his face when he saw that it was me. I couldn’t help myself, I started bawling. I carefully sat next to him on the bed and hugged him. He told me that everything was going to be ok and that he was going to make it through this. He reassured me that he’d be there for me for the rest of my life no matter what. He told me that he loved me and that he’d fight through anything to stay with me. I sat up and he wiped my tears with his unbroken arm. I apologized for the way I was acting. He tried to explain what happened but he said it all happened so fast that he didn’t really know what occurred. When he stopped talking I looked to the right of his bed and on the night stand was a little black box. When I saw it I gasped. I wasn’t positive that I knew what it was but I kind of figured. He tried to turn over and grabbed it. He held it in his hand for a minute just staring at it as tears started to stream down his cheeks.
He looked up at me, his eyes full of tears and told me that this wasn’t the way he wanted to do this. He wanted to make it perfect for me, a moment he knew I could never forget. He opened it and the second I saw the gorgeous diamond ring sitting in the velvet slit of the box I felt the tears begin to run down my cheeks again. He didn’t even have to say anything before I said yes. He put the ring on my finger and hugged me more passionately then ever before. I had never felt such different feelings at the same time. I was sad and confused about what was going on with him and his physical health. But at the same time I was so happy I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Charlie came home with me safe a couple days after he entered the hospital. The doctors wanted to make sure that everything was alright and would go back to normal. There were a few tough months of rehab and getting Charlie better. But once we knew he was ok to travel again, we both took some time off of school to go back home and visit our parents. It was good to be in the comfort of our homes and be in the places that we grew up together and made all those awesome memories. While we were sitting there with our families we started discussing the date of our wedding and some of the things we thought we might be interested in having. That was the first day that it really hit me that our families after all this time would finally become one. If someone would’ve told us that we were going to be getting married some day we would tell them that they were completely crazy and they had no idea what they were talking about. But there we were, in the situation that I never thought we’d be in. But at that time in our lives I definitely wasn’t complaining.
The wedding plans took a long time. We finally decided that we wanted to get married in the spring, April 22nd to be exact. We took our time figuring out exactly what we wanted to make it the wedding of our dreams.
Today’s the day. There are so many things running through my mind but I’m not stressed at all. I keep reminding myself that I’ve known this man for my entire life and how we’ve been through literally everything together. So even if something did go wrong on this wonderful day, as long as he’s there and I’m there, everything will be fine. The only thing I can’t get myself to calm down is my nerves. He’s always told me that I’m beautiful, but there’s nothing like being in a wedding dress. People expect you to look the most gorgeous you ever have in your entire life; I just want to know if he thinks that. One thing I’ve really looked forward to is walking down the aisle and seeing my fiancé’s face when he first sees me.
It’s moments before I am supposed to walk down the aisle, I’m starting to get choked up remembering all these things that we’ve been through. I look to my dad for comfort; he’s no better because he’s choked up too. But even thought he is upset he reminds me that he would rather give me to Charlie than any other man on the earth. I don’t want to cry as I go down the aisle; I want to have the brightest of smiles. Memories of funny times with Charlie are beginning to pop into my head. Some of them are even making me laugh a little. Music is playing again, the very familiar tune. It brings me back to the reality of it being my own wedding day. I have to take a deep breath before my dad and I start walking.
There he was at the front of the church. We made eye contact and I could tell there were tears gathering in his eyes. I’m doing everything I can to keep myself smiling and not crying. I never thought my wedding would be this emotional. My dad and I get up to the front and he gives me to Charlie. Once I feel the touch of Charlie’s hand everything seems so much calmer. We turn towards the pastor and the service begins. The next thing I know I feel the slight chill of the silver ring sliding onto my finger and I hear him speak the words, “I do.” Tears are running down my cheeks as I remember that one time in my life I was afraid that I’d never get this opportunity. Now here it is and it’s the happiest moment of my entire life. I look him in the eye and he gives me a smile of comfort. I take his ring and also speak the words, “I do.”