We’ve known each other since elementary school and as quickly as we hit it off, our parents would joke that we'd known each other for a few lifetimes. The two of us have already uncanny ability to almost read each other’s minds and feel each other’s emotions. I remember one summer when we were apart, I was out shopping in the mall with my mom when all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my arm and began crying. I cried nonstop and my mother rushed me to the hospital only to be told that my arm (and the rest of me) was fine. For three days straight I cried and writhed in pain. On the fourth, my best friend came home, arm in a sling and looking miserable.
In junior high when all the other kids picked on me, my best friend played bodyguard and threatened to beat up anyone who even looked at me cross. In high school when I was nervous about running for class president and modeling in the school fashion show, he became my campaign manager and runway coach. College came and still there was no separating us. Though we don't look alike, people would have sworn we were brothers. We took our campus by storm, attending all the hottest parties, joining all the best organizations and becoming the “it” students on campus.
We’ve always shared everything and been more than honest with each other, even when it hurts. But for the last ten years I’ve been keeping a secret that could tear our friendship apart.I've never been romantic with a man, never given it any thought before. But I am in love with him.
Being in love with your best friend isn’t easy, especially when they’ve never shown that they feel the same. Sure, I know my best friend loves me, but being in love with me is a different story. And I just don't see him ever feeling that way. It’s hard to talk about women and dating and sex and all the other things friends talk about without having to fight the urge to smother him with kisses. Just being near each other makes my body hot. And seeing my best friend loving someone else brings out the most intense jealousy and sleeping alone at night consumes me with painful sadness.
Sometimes the voices in my head tell me to just say it. To just say “I love, probably have always loved you. You’re my best friend, support system, confidant and reason why I wake up every day with a smile on my face. You’re imperfectly perfect for me, sent here by a higher power to show me all the possibilities in life. And if you’ll let me, I want to love you and cherish you forever.” Many times I’ve come… so close. But I can’t.
Our friendship is the most important thing to me in the world and it would kill me to know that my making my best friend uncomfortable with this confession would destroy all we’ve shared. If I had to choose, I would choose to have my friend rather than have a lover. Just writing this piece scares me because what if it is read by someone that knows us and my secret gets out. What if my best friend looks at me differently, what if things are never the same? Yet the way this secret is eating me up inside, I know I can’t hold it for long.
Maybe writing this is the first step to me gathering my thoughts for a discussion that is long overdue. Maybe this is my subconscious’ way of telling me it’s time. Time to put all my cards on the table and take a leap of faith that the person I have loved for what feels like a lifetime might actually love me back. I just hope when the time comes and the secret is revealed, my best friend doesn’t turn his back on me. I just hope that he understands.
–As told to Danielle Pointdujour
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