I still remember that text.
“I’m thinking of you today. I wish I could be there for you.”
But you weren’t. He was. And she was, and my oldest best friend was, but you couldn’t be. That’s okay. I don’t blame you. Not at all. Believe me.
Still, it meant the world to me that you took the time out of your busy schedule to let me know you care. I really appreciated it more than I can ever express. Thank you again .
Anyway, we spent that night drinking and you listened to my stories and memories, even though you’d only met him once. You made me laugh. You made me forget. You reminded me that life goes on. You helped me remember my own strength.
Over the next year, I considered you my best friend. I called you my best friend. I denied my feelings. I numbed them. You said , “I love you.” And I just… I was terrified to say it back. I was terrified of what I meant by saying it vs what you meant by saying it. How could you say it and not mean it? Or did you mean it platonically? I couldn’t decipher it. I still can’t. I felt your love the entire year. I saw disappointment when I skipped out with no goodbyes. I saw the love in your eyes everytime you showed me a kindness.
When I asked you about it, you said that you love me as a sister. That’s okay, I guess. But if that’s true, then why does your hand linger a bit too long when handing me something? Why do your feet always point directly toward me? Why the brushing of the skin? Why the eye contact? Why?
I then began to spend way more time and energy than I should trying to figure out each statement. Each touch. Each look. Each word. Every interaction. You were telling me about all of your girlfriends. Always asking me to find you a new one. I counted every moment until I was able to spend time with you again. I cherished every second around you.
I realized that I was in love with you when she died. I knew her. Such an amazing girl. But to you, she was so much more than that. She was a friend. A sister. A confidant. A leader. The future. She was a much larger part of your life than mine; however, such a tragic, sudden death of anyone rocks you to the core. I was with you that night by sheer coincidence. I read it on social media the moment you heard it from a friend on the phone. I’m sorry. Watching you hurt like that… All I could do was wrap my arms around you and tell you the truth: That I love you, and I’m so sorry.
Step 2: complete.
To be continued…