What am I to you? How do you see me? Was I under the illusion that you care for me so much more than just being a friend? Was I just nothing more than just a cover up of your own pain? Or was I the rain in your drought? the fire that warms your soul?
In a cold winter night, I stare at the window and watch as the snow started to fall. The night sky was gloomy reminiscent of that same night, the moon was out of sight its luminescent glow was hidden underneath the clouds. In this eerie night, the wind started to howl violently, ravaging all that stands in its way.
Was it 5 years ago? It felt like it was just yesterday.
I sat waiting for him to come. He’s an hour late. Did he forget? Or did he just lose track of time. That would not be the first he’s never been good with timing. Between the two of us I was always the responsible one, the boring one or maybe the one who likes to play it safe. I felt the sick feeling of defeat as I waited for another hour. Finally my patience worn out, I stood ready to take a step towards home and reached for my phone. I was about to call him and give him a piece of my mind. But before I could, a figure started to approach my way. I could barely make out if it was him. He walked slowly, his back was hunched, a figure of deep sadness I could sense. As he approached he took me in his arms and whispered. “She left me”, his voice broke at the end of his sentence a sign of resignation, of great pain.
We were only fifteen when my best friend had his first heartbreak. It torn him to pieces; shattered all his dreams of a happy ending. I never really understood him. Nevertheless I tried to be there for him. Took care of him; that’s what friends do no, that’s what best friends do. I knew right there and then that he would also do the same thing. It hurts to stomach to see him hurting but I put on a bright smile.
We grew even closer to each other. I recall once when I was sick and was admitted in the hospital he never left my side. He even admitted himself in the hospital just so he could be with me.
On a bright summer afternoon I received a call from him urging me to come and see him in the bridge we usually cross before getting home. I hurried to him. Tripped over rocks a few times in doing so. When I reached the bridge I saw him there standing at the other end. He met me in the middle.
“What’s wrong? Did something bad happened?” I asked
“No, everything is great. What gave you an idea that something’s wrong?” he replied with a stern look in his face. Something I don’t usually see in him.
“Because of your voice, I thought”
“You thought wrong,” he said interrupting me.
Something in his voice and the way he looks tells me that something was about to happen. There was a long uncomfortable pause, something I never had with him. He looked at me intently. I tried to decipher the hidden message behind his gaze but I could not get any hint. I looked away, embarrassed and irritated. Then, he started to speak.
“I have beaten myself over this again and again. A part of me tells me this isn’t right”, he began
I listened, curious of what he was about to say.
“But the other part of me, the stronger one tells me to take the leap or else I might have to live with regret. I tried not to, you have to know, you have to believe me, I tried to stop myself. But the more I try, the harder it gets. The harder I fall. I want you to know how I really feel”
“Stop!”, I said out loud, “don’t say it. You’ll ruin everything. We can’t go there. We just can’t.”
He did not speak nor did he look at me. It took awhile before he finally looked at me and responded. “You’re right. We can’t. How could I be so selfish. I’m sorry,” he smiled then walked away.
I could tell by his smile that it wasn’t real. That the truth was that he was under great sorrow.
I tried to act normally, tried to put things back the way they were before the untimely love proposal. But things, changed. I could no longer act like it was nothing because I am now well aware that there is something between us. I distanced myself from him. Hoping to get a clearer view of things. Vainly pushing him away when all the while what I wanted was to pull him closer to me. Hold him close and never let him go. Is this it? Is this what falling in love feels? I wasn’t sure but I was ready to take the risk.
Months pass and the feeling only get worse. I could no longer ignore him nor what I feel. I have to tell him.
In front of the school gate I waited for him, I decided that I am going to tell him while walking home. I heard his voice and braced myself for his possible rejection or maybe he would say yes. I waited, I thought he was near the gate, but there was no sign of him. I walked towards the school to meet him and I saw him there, underneath a tree kissing a girl. I thought about walking away. But my feet betrayed me I was stuck like I stepped on a quick sand and slowly it was eating me up. I wanted to run so fast away from him. It didn’t take awhile for them to notice my presence. I wracked my brains over what to say.
“I was waiting for you. I was thinking that maybe you wanted to walk home with me but I could see that you’re busy so there”, I blurted. I started to walk away when he called my name.
“Sam! I want to walk with you”, he shouted.
I didn’t know what to say or how to react. There wasn’t any manual that could tell me how to react when you caught your almost possible boyfriend kissing under a tree. One thing was clear though, I no longer want to walk with him. All the same I walked home silently with him. Moments passed then we reached my house.
“Here we are” he said “this is your stop. Can we do this everyday?”
“Sure”, I replied.
“I hope that you’ll talk tomorrow. Your silence drives me insane“, he said
He said his parting goodbye and added a smile.
Was it all a fake? Was his confession of love nothing but a prank? Is this some sick joke that destiny had pulled on me? I cried so hard until there were no more tears left to cry. I wanted to smile and be happy for him but deep inside me I know that what I want is for him to look at me and see me the same way I see him. The pain was excruciating. It was eating me alive. Searing through every cell of my being.
We graduated in high school with my feelings left unspoken and him going strong with his girlfriend. Oh, I long to drag her out of his arms and tie her on a big rock and drop her in the deepest part of the ocean. I could just imagine her face and my happiness but it was all imaginings just like me and him.
We grew further apart. He no longer spent time with me the way he used to. I wasn’t about to let that continue.
On a snowy night I walked towards his home to straighten things up. He opened the door and invited me in. Before I could step in I saw his girlfriend sitting on a sofa. I declined and invited him out. I asked him why is it that he no longer come to see me or call me. Asked him if he had replaced our friendship over his love. He looked at me coldly and responded.
“My world no longer revolves around you Sam.”
He went inside, closed the door and left me out in the cold. I froze in the dark. My heart was shattered into pieces. My head was spinning and felt like it was about to explode. I walked with tears streaming down my cheeks. His words played over and over again in my head. Haunting me.
. “Sam, it’s time.” I was pulled out from my deep reverie by a voice.
I removed my coat from the hanger, walked towards the door and in to my car. Tonight is the night when I will see him again.
I stepped out of my car and into a big ballroom. The ceiling was high with a huge chandelier at the center, the room was filled with lights, and the people were dressed in expensive gowns. The room was filled with laughter and dancing. My eyes were immediately caught by a man who was wearing a black tuxedo, tall, with brown complexion and brown almond shaped eyes. I knew who he was and I hid myself in the crowd afraid that he would see me.
I positioned myself in a corner of the room barely visible from anyone. I was praying that he wouldn’t see me. I realized that my prayers weren’t heard as a man approached my way. There is confidence in every stride he takes, he walks and talks like a gentleman in television shows. He stood in front of me and uttered.
“It’s been a long time, I haven’t heard anything from you.” He spoke and gave me that crooked smile that I love.
“I was busy,” I replied and walked towards the veranda and away from him. To my great surprise he was right there behind me, following me.
“Are you avoiding me?” he asked
I didn’t answer.
“I don’t see the reason why, you weren’t the one who was dumped by your best friend on a bridge.” He continued with a trace of humor in his voice.
“You’re right, but you weren’t the one who was dumped by your best friend under the cold, snowy night over his girlfriend”, I responded unable to hide the irritation in my voice.
He smiled. Something about this conversation seems entertaining to him. He moved closer to me took my hand and said “Nevertheless I was the one who was dumped first”. He stared at me, looked deeply in my eyes as if he could see my soul. I looked way, feeling uncomfortable.
“You haven’t changed. You still get irritated easily,” he teased.
“But I wasn’t joking though,” he said with seriousness in his voice. “I don’t see why you were avoiding me so much. I may have said those stupid words to you under a snowy, cold night, but you should know better than to believe me. After all the times we spent together how could you believe those lies?”
“It’s not hard to believe them. Just by looking at you and your girlfriend I could tell that they were real Jake,” I retorted.
“If that’s the case, then you don’t really know me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I am tired of lying to you, and to myself. I know that by taking this risk I might end up hurting again. But there is no pain much worth it than this. After all these years I think that it is about time that you should know. I never stopped loving you Sam. Always have; always will. I tried to drown myself over others’ love but there is no love compared to the love that I feel for you. I know that you will never see me as anything else but a friend but for all that’s worth I love you Sam,” he said with conviction in his voice and before he could say anything he walked away.
Tears are gathering in the corners of my eyes. I can’t let this happen again. I drew all the courage that is left in me and I shouted his name.
“Jake! I like you,” he turned towards me I paused and looked into his eyes then continued. “so much that it breaks my heart when I’m not with you and now that you’re here with me it’s intoxicating, I can’t breathe. I get angry with myself for not having the courage to tell you. The more I stop myself the harder I fall.”
I couldn’t continue my voice was stuck like there is huge lump in my throat. I could barely see as the tears started to gather at the corners of my eyes. Tears are now running through my cheeks.
He moved closer to me wiped away my tears and pulled me close in his arms. He looked at me with love in his eyes, placed his hand under my chin, tilted my face and kissed me. And I felt no love much greater than his.
No longer was this night felt cold to my skin. I was warm inside. The clouds started to clear. The moon cast its light upon us as if it was celebrating with us.