To My Ex’s Best Friend—Make Sure The Next Girl Treats Him Right

Ariel Lustre

Four months ago, I wouldn’t have to be writing this on my phone at the back of a cramped train going to the upper east side. (A place, among many others, that we’ll never get to go together.) In fact, four months ago I wouldn’t have to be writing this at all. I wouldn’t even need to entertain the idea of there being another person, given the passionate claims of loyalty and commitment we always spewed out. But if there’s anything I learned from these last few weeks, it’s that, well, whether we like it or not, things change and people change.

But one thing that never will is the fact that in the limited time we had wherein we existed in a third space— a dimension between “here and there” that only he and I had access to— built completely out of dreams and whispered promises no outside ear would ever know of, I was happy. And not just the kind of happy that faded after the flirtatious banter subsided; the kind of school-girl-giddy, giggling-over-inside-jokes, and uncontrollably-smiley, teenage-dream happy that chick lit and YA novels tried so desperately to concretize into print. The kind of happy that made all those sappy, vanilla-pop love songs make sense.

And because of that brief moment when young love was real, alive, and vibrant, he will always have a place in my heart.

So that’s why I want you to promise me something. You— his best friend, his partner in crime, his closest confidant, his blood-less brother, his right hand man. Right now, there is only one person who loves him more than me, and that’s you.

So please, make me a promise.

One day— maybe it’ll be a year from now, a few months, or maybe even a week— he’s going to fall for another girl. He might not say it right away (after all, he’s never been too vocal about his feelings) but you’ll see it in his eyes when her name flashes on his screen before class at 6am because he wants her to be the first thing he talks to in the morning. He’ll gush about her with a kind of gentleness that’ll make you want to barf, but you’ll have to swallow it down because it’ll happen ever so often. You’ll tell him you’re bored and want to call, but he’ll tell you he’s already on the phone with her. But I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how he’ll look when he’s falling for someone. Anyway, you’ll know because that’s how he looked when he was falling for me.

Promise me that you’ll get to know her. That you’ll talk to her and earn her trust, and go about your obligatory wingman duties as you always have.

When you tell her that that he has a game after class later, don’t let her leave without making sure she messages him good luck together with some cheesy motivational quote off of the Nike Facebook page.

When you all decide to go on a three-way video call with each other one night, and he falls asleep because it’s bordering 2am, don’t let her tease him about how loudly he started snoring. Instead, tell her to nod and smile when he tries to convince everyone later on that it was his uncle in the nearby couch. She doesn’t need to believe him, but for his sake, she can at least pretend she does.

When he’s moody and irritable, tell her not to get annoyed. Instead, let her stay up a few extra minutes to ask what’s bothering him and devise a way to cheer him up. He’s gonna tell her it’s not that big a deal that she’d need to help, but let her try anyway.

If he nervously sends her a recording of him singing his favorite song, tell her not to take it for granted. Before any of us, music was his first love, so she needs to understand just how important that is to him. Ask her to say exactly how happy his voice makes her. That used to be my favorite sound, so please, make sure she cherishes it too.

She might tell you one day that his jokes are too corny. And you and I both know just how right she’ll be— his puns are terrible, honestly. But please— tell her that if she’s gonna roll her eyes and scoff, at least make sure she’s smiling while she does it.

When she whines about how he lacks initiative sometimes, reassure her that it doesn’t mean he cares less. He’s naturally quite shy and timid when it comes to romance, so the next time she finds herself alone with him, tell her to lean on his shoulder, hold his hand, and run her fingers through his hair. She might feel weird about starting the intimacy, but all those doubts will melt away once she’s rewarded by the fast-paced heart beat she’ll feel in his chest, a response so special because she’ll know it’s only reserved for her.

If she comes to you irritated because she thinks he’s being too sensitive, calm her down and ask her to breathe. He’s been hurt before and is used to people walking out of his life abruptly. Don’t let her add to that trauma. Tell her to get back in there and understand him and the situation.

And one day, when it’s midnight and she tells you with a weak voice that she’s tired and angry, do not let her go to bed ignoring his last message or, even worse, after sending him a dry response. He hates those and will end up sleeping over her sudden coldness. Do not let her do that. Please. Do not let her hurt him.

But in the end, I know you probably have better things to do than memorize a list of to-dos written by a girl your best friend doesn’t care about anymore.

I know you’re busy, so if you decide to forget everything I’ve bared to you in these last few verses, then please, just promise me that you’ll at least remember to do one thing.

To the best friend of the boy who walked away, please— because you and I never want see him hurt the way I did— for the love of God, do not let him fall for a girl that will love him the way he “loved” me. TC mark

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