An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Fell in Love With

By: A and Malak Atwa

Dear best friend,

Every time I look at you and our eyes meet, I can’t help but smile. I mean, how could I not when I look into those big green eyes? It’s as if I’m falling into an abyss, one that I’m not exactly sure I want to get out of, and I know that when you look into mine, you feel something too, you couldn’t help but smile right back. At least, I thought you felt it too, but, maybe I was wrong.

You walked into my life and my world tilted on its axis. At first, you were just a friend that I genuinely enjoyed spending time with; we had similar tastes, interests and values. You were there when I needed help with school and stuck by me through mental breakdowns, moments of weakness and even heartbreak – be it from others or even you. “I’m always here for you” you’d always say, smiling from ear to ear – yet another thing that makes my heart hammer in my chest. It’s crazy cliché of me to fall in love with you because of that smile, that damn smile, but I did, I really did. 

When I look into your eyes, I don’t  feel the anxiety that’s always absently aching within me, you make me feel something far stronger, like I’m worthy of kindness, care, and compassion. The space between your arms is my safety, it’s the only place where I feel like nothing can touch me, nothing can hurt me, what can when I’m with you? You can make me laugh like nobody else. I can feel it in my bones, it’s you, it’s always been you.

I love you. 

I took deep breath, the words feeling heavy on the tip of my tongue, weighed down with fear and hope, I felt raw, sitting there, waiting for you to say something – anything – back. It was so silent I’d hear a pin if it dropped, I could hear the hitch of your breath and I could see the way your eyes oh so carefully evaded mine. The first words that left your mouth were: “we’re just friends”. My heart cracked, each chamber agonizingly breaking into pieces, left utterly useless, so painful I felt numb. I tried to hold back my tears as much as I could, except my eyes burned too much behind my lids and the heaving sobs clawed their way out of my chest, and I sat there, a pathetic slobbering mess. Then, you stood up and walked away. You’d said, that the longer the distance between us, the better chance our friendship has of survival – whatever the fuck that meant. 

You not being there with me during lunch, going out without me, generally doing exactly as you said you will – keeping your distance – it crushed me, you are (were?) my best friend.

My treacherous mind thought maybe the universe will bring us together, because maybe we’re meant to be, maybe the timing was off or maybe we’re too young, maybe we’re just not aligned right now. Maybe one day you’ll feel all that I feel for you and when that day comes, we’ll take it as it goes, I hope. I’m in no rush to get to that point, I’m not hoping or wishing for it to happen, I don’t necessarily need that to happen, I just need you. I need us to get back to the way we used to be. 

I miss the old days. 

I knew that I was getting attached to someone inconsistent. I knew I was getting attached to someone who understood me. I knew I was falling for someone I could never have. Mostly, I knew I was falling for someone I couldn’t afford to lose.

 The sole person in the world who knows what to say when I call them up at 2 AM, crying for any and every possible reason I could cry about. You were the only person who knew the best and worst parts of me and stayed by me nonetheless, the one who knew when it was the time of the month and how to deal with me, you invaded my thoughts in the wee hours of the morning and the one my heart ached for in the afternoon. You were all these things and so much more, for a moment, I could’ve risked it all for something much more permanent, something special, something that will bind us together with its love, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

If you were to ask me now where I think we stand, I would say we’re not even friends anymore. We’re more than friends. We are way past “just friends” and you know it. We aren’t together though, and I’m  completely  fine with it, I really am. Or maybe I’m not, but if being fine with it means that we can be “us” again, then I’ll do my damn-est to be fine with it. 

I can’t promise to never hope that you’ll love me like I do you, I think that’s something that will never go away, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll be okay after all. 

Thank you for giving me a chance. I’m not going to lie. It’s hard hanging out like we always used to with you knowing how I feel about you, along with everything that’s happened between us. It’s difficult acting like I’m 100 percent okay, like I’m over you and like having a close relationship with you doesn’t bother me. But, I’m happy to keep pretending that it’s all okay to keep things just the way they are.

I am sorry. I know that I have been distant, but please, forgive me. There are no excuses that could ever justify why I left so suddenly, why I stopped answering your calls and texts. I need a little time and a space to process things.  

Please be patient with me, I’m sorry.

Your best friend.

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