The Story of Us: Falling in Love with My Best Friend
My Story of Falling in Love With My Best Friend and Advice for Those Who Have Done the Same
Five years ago, way back in grade nine when I was still trying to find my place in a new school full of new transitions, I met my best friend. For the purpose of this story I'll call her Payton. Payton was in my gym class on my team for softball and, being my usual introverted self, I was standing by myself in line not talking to anyone. That is, until I turned around and noticed the anti-possession charm from the TV show Supernatural drawn on the arm of the girl standing behind me. In a moment of pure instinct I turned to her, pointing at the doodle, and tried to ask her if that was, in fact, the anti possession charm from the hit TV series. Of course once I got the first few words out of my mouth my brain caught up with my actions and I stood there, sputtering and pointing for a solid two minutes (thorougly making things awkward) before I finally managed to spit the name out. The look of relief that crossed her sun-kissed freckled face was almost as amazing as the blindingly beautiful smile that made her whole face light up. And from that moment I knew I was hooked. She laughed and told me she was so nervous as I sputtered on that I would accuse her of devil worship (a reality that was all too common in our small town) but then when I finally found the words she was so thankful that I was in fact just filling my free time watching gorgeous boys on Netflix.
By the time that class was over we had quickly become best friends, a connection so instant it was as if we where platonic soulmates. We found that not only do we have the same pass times but also body type, likes and dislikes, world views, interests, and family life. Payton accepted everything about me without a moment's hesitation and her bottomless passion for everything we talked about had me following her every word with an undying devotion. Now, those of you who are still with me, I direct your attention to the town that all of this happened in: Fergus ON, Canada. Where's that? In the middle of nowhere, about an hour away from Toronto and surrounded by rolling hills and quaint little farms. The perfect breeding ground for straight white Christian propaganda and an aversion to diversity. I had no idea that the warmth that spread through my chest when I say my dear friend or the tingle that her touch left on my skin could be anything other than friendship of the purest kind.
Not until the summer months crept up on us and the way her tank top hugged her curves haunted me as I imagined her soft lips pressing up against mine in the dead of night. I could no longer deny the butterflies that filled my stomach when her honey-filled voice called my name or how I was constantly searching for the smell of the tropics and buttermilk that clung to her skin. That summer I faced the reality that bisexuality was now another label I could use to define me and I had fallen for the most used cliche in all of history. Coming out didn't scare me half as much as the fact the closest person to me, Payton my best friend, was now the unknowing owner of my heart and mind.
I did what all people did in this situation: withheld my new realization and feelings from the person of my desire and hoped that it went away before I ruined a friendship. I told myself the reason I noticed when she changed her shampoo was because I was a good observant friend and not because it was her scent I thought of to calm myself down during a rough night. I laughed off any implication that the reason my eyes constantly wandered to her was because I had a crush, instead saying I was trying to figure out how to tell her she had little pieces of paper in her hair from an unscheduled nap the class before. I denied myself and my feelings until finally the summer of grade ten my feelings fizzled and I was able to throw myself into other relationships without having Payton buzzing in the back of my mind while trying to commit to my partner.
Friendship with Payton was a swirl of cuddles and inside jokes that makes you feel as if you're the only person around. It was frustration at her cluelessness and three in the morning phone calls because one of us is breaking down. It was support and fights and makeups with a lot of tears. It was whispering into the phone so we wouldn't wake our parents when the phone calls lasted into the early hours of the morning. But friendship with Payton turned into secret kisses behind closed doors and gentle touches while cuddling when we thought no one was looking. Friendship with Payton meant that the chill of February in my last year of high school was suddenly warmed with the rekindling of feelings for the girl who will forever remain my best friend. It meant realizing that instead of a small flame as it was before it became a wildfire burning out of control and threatening to consume me whole and that wildfire was now called love.
I was the only one able to kiss her, to get close to her lips, even when she decided to experiment with dating I was still the only person who felt the softness of her lips on mine. All summer I tried to indirectly tell her she was the light of my life, that she was all I thought about at night. When I went away to college I tried to tell her that I felt most at home when she whispered into the phone late at night when I was too stressed to sleep. And when she told me that she had a boyfriend and the words I had been trying to say almost jumped off my tongue in response, I pushed down the feelings of hurt to tell her I was proud she finally felt brave enough to reach this milestone.
So I watched in pain with protest hiding on the edges of my smile as the girl I had come to realize I loved went on dates with a boy neither of us had considered before. Ever present in the shadows he stole my light until the night of Halloween when I had her to myself for a few lingering hours and she kissed me again. And again. And again. Until her lips where puffed and bruised from kissing mine and I remember thinking 'it's moments like these artists find true beauty in the simplest of things' and then she was gone like trying to hold onto smoke. Back into his arms as if I was test for something bigger yet to come. A few nights later, in a sleepy voice and after recalling a conversation with another friend, the words that had been trying to escape me for so long finally burst forth from my chest and filled the empty static between our phones. I remember wishing she was in front of me so I could see her face until I heard the tell tale signs of tears. But no matter how hard I wanted to take it back the dam was broken and I couldn't control what was being said anymore. Words I never intended to say, stories that I swore would never touch her ears flowed from me and when I was done she was a mess of tears and quickly breathed out apologies. Three weeks later she broke up with her fling and a week after that she broke my heart.
I still hear the words she said in the dead of night when the only sound is my soft breaths. "I just don't think I can feel the same about you." It's like a broken record in my head, so I hide from the silence. I now sleep with the sound of the TV on, quietly washing out any chance I have for thought and my spare time is spent with fingers to a keyboard trying to find the next thing that will get her out of my mind. Payton and I are just friends. Amazing, beautiful, recklessly fantastic friends hazardly enjoying our youth before we are weighed down by bills and time restraints.
But for those of you who have fallen for a best friend you're too scared to openly love, let me leave you with one piece of advice; go for it. Tell them as soon as you have the feelings instead of trying to push them down to the deepest parts of yourself. Pull them aside, send a text, leave a note just tell them. Don't wait like I did. And who knows, maybe your story will turn out different than mine.