I watch you across the table as you put your hand through your dark hair. You catch my eye; I hold it briefly as a friend would and quickly look away before I blush too much. I hope you didn’t notice that pinkish flush in my cheeks. I’ll blame it on the heating in this place. I sit here, listening to you talking about that girl you like. I hope that my poker face hides how I really feel – I pretend to listen with intent, I pretend that it doesn’t hurt me to hear what you’re saying.
I know she isn’t good enough for you. I’ve never met her or seen a photo of her, but if she can’t recognise your worth then I know she isn’t. Does she know how you like your coffee? Was she there for you that time at university, or the time after that and the time before that? Was she the one you were talking to until 6 AM after that big night out? Because I do and that was me, there for you through all those times.
You look at me when you ask me questions — I feel your warmth and I wonder if you feel the same. But of course you don’t, you’re just being nice. That’s what friends do. We talk about our friendship group and you wonder if we’ll be invited to our friends’ weddings. You say you hope that you’ll be invited to mine when I hope that your wedding is my wedding.
I think about telling you how I really feel. It’s started to consume me and I want to know if I’ll ever have a chance with you. I wanted to tell you two years ago, and I missed my chance. The moment wasn’t right. Will it ever be? I wonder if I’ll ever let you know how I really feel, or whether I’ll even tell any of our friends. But I’m scared of the answer, scared to feel embarrassed when our mutual friends confirm what I already know – that you don’t like me like that and that you never would. I’m scared that it’ll ruin our friendship and nothing could possibly be worse than that. I hope my head remembers that next time my heart pushes me to tell you.
I convince myself that I don’t like you, reminding myself of all the things that annoy me about you and all the reasons why it isn’t a good idea. I convince myself… almost. At least until I think, “What if…?”