Graduate from college with dreams as big as your bank account is small. Flee to the west coast in pursuit of the clichéd Hollywood dream. Move in with your best friend of the opposite sex, your ultimate sidekick in this romanticized pursuit of fame and fortune. Laugh when your friends poke fun at the absurdity of the situation. “When you’re both famous, we better get cool stuff!” they’ll demand as you pack up your few belongings and prepare for the cross country drive. “You guys are totally going to hook up,” they’ll nag jokingly. Roll your eyes and summon a gag. Assure your friends that that will never, ever happen.
Forfeit your own bathroom and sign a year lease on the east side of the city to minimize your monthly rent. Adjust to your new surroundings and the rules that follow from living with a boy. Start removing your hair from the shower drain and throwing your tampons away with utmost discretion. Demand he put the seat down after every use. Assemble a home together, furnished with flea market bargains and neglected street side treasures. Paint the walls, hang some posters, invest in a teapot and other basic kitchen accessories. Spend your weeks glued to the common room floor (you can’t afford a couch or a desk just yet). Crank out writing samples and encourage one another to make moves in the direction of their dreams. Go out together on the weekends. Attempt to wingman each other. Realize your bi-gendered duo is utterly ineffective in the hunt for love. Settle at a table with just the two of you, finish a couple of whiskeys, and return home to your respective bedrooms.
Eventually start to make friends. Laugh when they voice suspicion about your living situation. Insist, time and time again, that your friendship is entirely platonic. Note crushes you’ve had on each other’s friends. Tell the tale of summers past when your best friend manically picked up the pieces of your heart after it had been stomped to pieces by your first love. Follow up with the tale of how you did the same when your best girlfriend in the world broke his. Emphasize the fact that he dated your very best girlfriend. Watch as the conversation is immediately put to rest.
Reminisce about “the good ol’ days” of college over ramen noodles and dispensary weed. Familiarize yourself with every detail of your roommate’s feelings and behaviors. Reveal to him every detail of yours. Find comfort in the strength and exclusivity of your friendship. Spend most nights at home watching Frasier on your brand new, thirsted couch. Feel home sick and decide to cuddle. While in his arms, verbalize how silly your friends are to think your friendship could be anything more. Mean it. Gage the reaction of your roommate and confirm he means it too.
Repeat your actions for several months. Continue to write and drink whiskey together. Do everything in your power to make each other happy in this big, sprawled out, and increasingly lonely city. Continue to snuggle together. Commiserate over your inexplicable winter blues that occur, despite the pristine LA weather. Allow yourselves to intertwine tighter and tighter. Talk about your past. Talk about your future. Talk about anything and everything in between.
Return from work one night feeling particularly lonely. Go for a walk with your roommate and elaborate on your current state of mind. Find out that he feels lonely too. Comfort yourselves with whiskey, pot, and a sitcom streamed from Hulu (who can afford cable?). Agree to cuddle once more. Feel suddenly aware of your roommate’s tight hold around your body. Carefully grab for his hand and allow your tangled fists to rest gently against your chest. Feel his heart beat pounding against your back. Wonder if he can feel yours.
Remember the last time you hooked up with a friend and the disaster that followed. Dismiss it. Remember the meaningful relationship he had with your best girlfriend. Dismiss that as well. Take a deep breath and turn to face each other.
Wake up and talk about the night before. Laugh it off as a silly one-time thing. Promise not to tell a soul. ??Do it again… and again… and again.?? Let every initiated cuddle turn into more. Each night, joke about the crassness of your decisions. Stop going out with your friends in favor of staying in together. Text and email incessantly throughout the day.
Do not acknowledge the number of waking and sleeping hours spent communicating or hanging out one-on-one. Never acknowledge the pain this would cause your best girlfriend if she were ever to find out. Never, ever acknowledge that this is the closest you’ve felt to a boy in years.?? Spend an entire Saturday laughing, kissing and rolling around in bed.
Ignore all calls and text messages and decide to order in to avoid leaving the couch.
“This has to stop,” he’ll say mid make-out, catching you entirely off guard.
“You’re totally right,” you’ll agree, fumbling to hide your disappointment.
He’ll ask if you’re okay. You’ll tell him of course and ask back, to which he’ll reply the same.
“I really care about you and all, but it’s probably best to quit while that is still the case,” you’ll say playfully, alluding to your legendary inability to care for the same boy for more than a week.
“Good,” He’ll say, sounding disconcertingly relieved. “I mean, we’re 23 years old… and it’s just sex. Plus, let’s be honest, you and I would never, ever work out.”
Smile as he kisses you on the head and retreats to his room. Feel your heart sink to the pit of your stomach as he closes the door.
Start dating other people and encourage him to do the same. Act happy for each other and laugh at the crazies you encounter time and time again. Feel relieved when he acknowledges the insignificance of the girls he goes out with. Make certain he knows you feel the same about your varying flavors of the week.
“I think I met someone,” he’ll announce after a long day of work.
“Oooooh tell me more!” You’ll probe, focusing intently on stabilizing your voice inflections.
“She’s an actress on the film I’m working on. We’re going out tonight. I’m nervous,” he’ll state.
Help him dress and wish him well on his date. Wait up on the couch in anticipation of what would surely be another disappointing dinner with a vapid, LA local.
Feel foolish when the clock strikes 3 a.m. and he has not returned. Acknowledge that he’s not coming home and put yourself to bed. ??Feel regret thrust chills through your body. Cry. Remember that you can’t tell a soul about your situation. Cry harder. Ignore phone calls from your best girlfriend asking how you’re doing and initiating a visit west. Remind yourself what a terrible friend you are. Cry yourself to sleep.
Pretend not to have noticed when your roommate returns home the next morning. Act happy for him when, night after night, he continues to stay over at her place. Act cavalier when he begins breaking plans with you in favor of her. Get pings of excitement when you receive a new text. Feel embarrassed when you realize it’s not from him. Stop writing. Stop eating. Start sleeping with boys you care little about. Perfect a facade of happiness when your roommate is present. Take drugs and have more sex when he’s not. Do everything thinkable in the realm of self-destruction in a desperate attempt to numb your senses. Fail miserably.
Meet her. See firsthand how smart, beautiful and sophisticated she really is. Envy her knowledge of your roommate’s musical taste and love of old films. Tell her how happy you are to finally meet her and how you look forward to being great friends.
Remember that, at the end of the day, he’s your best friend in the world and deserves to be happy. Bury your feelings to the best of your ability, and pay your sixth month of rent.