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I close my eyes. How do I say it? How am I supposed to say the thing that’s kept me in the dark for five years? The thing that makes my hands shake and my heart hurt whenever I think about it? How am I supposed to tell him?
“Hey. Are you okay?”
I look up. There he is. His hands are shoved casually in his pockets as he leans up against the wall. His eyes dance along the edges of my softly outlined features. His left foot swings back and forth in the air as he stands on his right one.
“Hello? Are you having a stroke or something?”
“Um--” My heart begins to race. I’ve gotten used to talking to him, but today, all I can think about is how much I want to tell him how I feel. I brush a wisp of hair out of my face, and look up into his emerald eyes. “No. I’m fine.”
“Really?” He smiles playfully, the kind of smile I’ve seen him use on dozens of girls in the hallway. The kind of smile that sends shooting pains through my heart because I know I’ll never be one of those girls in the hallway.
“Really.” I look down at my feet, then back up at his stunningly perfect grin. “Can I talk to you about something private for a sec?”
“Sure.” His smile disappears, but his eyes still foster that youthful sparkle.
I take a deep breath. The world is silent, all sounds buried beneath the panicked thumping of my love struck heart. The halls are empty. He runs a hand through his hair, staring expectantly at me. I can’t look at him.
“I--” I play with the zipper on my hoodie, pulling it up and down as I try my best not to get lost in the jumble of words I’ve been waiting to say for half a decade. “I’ve never told this to anyone because it’s my biggest secret.”
His eyes get wider as I continue to speak.
“I’m not, like, a serial killer or anything,” I laugh nervously, trying not to make it seem too obvious that my dizziness is overcoming me. “I just--”
“What is it?” He takes a step towards me, his voice getting softer. “You can tell me. You know that.”
“That’s the thing.” I pull the hood off my head, and place a hand against the wall for balance. “Because I don’t know if I can say this. I don’t know if I can tell you because this is the one thing I think about every single day. This is the one thing I can’t help but dream about. Every morning I wake up in disappointment that it was only in my imagination. I’ve never told anyone because none of my friends are good at keeping secrets except you, and after I tell you this I’m not so sure how much you’ll like me.”
He shakes his head, that crooked, flirtatious smile just begging me to spill the beans. “Come on. You know I’ll always be your friend. No matter what, no matter who leaves you, I’ll always be there. We will always be best friends.”
I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the chest. I feel like I’ve been pushed off a cliff, shot in the head, chopped up into a million pieces, and thrown into a lava-spewing volcano. I feel like I’ve overdosed on all the drugs in the world, and all this that’s happened is just the biggest trip ever known to man. Nobody is standing right in front of me, nobody is giving me the biggest, friendliest hug, nobody is telling me that we will always and only be platonic. And most of all, nobody will be the somebody that looks at me the way I want him to. They’ll never be the somebody to tell me “Screw platonic, I love you!” The somebody who gives you roses, or kisses you, or calls you just because they couldn’t go a second longer without hearing your voice. Nobody will be the somebody who loves me.
San Francisco, California
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“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Monroe