I think my best friend’s in love with me. I say I think, but I know. Our friends have told me, he’s hinted at it, his family has all but confirmed it. I say I think, because he has never told me.
Every time there is a chance for him to possibly bring up the topic, I have dodged it, or he has fled from it. We have banned only one topic from discussion, and that is crushes. He asked for that. That was a big enough clue. But I ignored it, thinking that because he did not particularly like my ex-boyfriend he was preventing himself from giving an opinion on any future relationships I wanted to embark on. I thought he was being considerate, protecting my feelings. Now, I think he was protecting himself.
I’ve always been honest with him. He hasn’t always been honest with me. He has said all the right things at all the right times and avoided all the topics that could possibly strained our easy and openly symbiotic relationship. I have told him how I have felt in the past, the boys I have found attractive, those I have not. He has never done the same.
Then a friend of mine told me, point blank, that my best friend was in love with me. It wasn’t face to face; it was a Facebook message. It popped up on my screen and sent me into a tail spin. What was I supposed to do with this message? This information? I suddenly had this new found knowledge that forced me to choose between ruining the greatest friendship I had for either a relationship or for the possibility of it all falling apart and turning to nothing.
I’m outside his house now. We’re going to a party, and I’m giving him a lift. I always give him lifts. I’m going to have to bring it up at some point. He won’t of course, why would he? When has he ever? He’s had nearly two years to, but he hasn’t. I can’t imagine holding onto this for two years. But he has.
I have to be honest with him. I have to tell him that I need him in my life in a thousand ways, just not the way he wants to be needed in my life. I have to tell him. I don’t have a choice. It’s unfair to him if I don’t. There’s no way I can’t. I can’t let this continue.
He gets in the car, blaring our favourite song. 500 Miles. Was that another clue? All along was there some hidden message in this song that he wanted me to see? I find myself analysing each lyric instead of singing along.
I open my mouth. He makes a joke. I laugh. It is forced. I hear it. He hears it. He looks at me, a question in the air. The answer would ruin us. I turn on the indicator. I watch the road. I feel him watching me. I steel myself, take a breath. He mentions a friend of ours. The moment is gone. The moment was barely there, but now it is gone. Is this how he feels each and every day? Waiting for a moment only for it to slip between his fingers and have it disappear, gone forever.
I cannot say what I feel, and neither can he. We are at an uneasy stand still, both too scared to move, too fearful of what we could lose.
I drive off.