Click here for Emily's perspective.
Growing up I always heard the phrase, "Girls and guys can never be just friends," and until very recently, I thought this was absolutely absurd. Of course I can still be friends with a girl without one of us gaining feelings. My go to example has always been my best friend Emily. We have been best friends for nearly seven years now and, until recently, the feelings were nothing more than just friends. Well, as I sit here staring at this letter that I have written to her, I am starting to be a firm believer of that old saying. Girls and guys can never be just friends.
To explain our relationship I will start it at the beginning, seven years ago. I don't remember the exact date, but I know it was winter time. We both went to the same elementary school, but we never had classes together, not yet at least. It was recess time and the night before we had our school grounds flooded with fresh snow, so, naturally, we started a school wide snowball fight. My two buddies, Danny and Ray, and I built a bunker where we hid as we built our ammunition. We built snowball after snowball and stacked them up as high as we could and as fast as we could.
As I worked on another glorious snowball, I felt a sudden coldness on the back of my head and sliding down my back. I had been pelted by a snowball. I turn around to find the culprit, that was a bad idea. As I turn I get pelted in the face with another, incredibly cold, snowball. I wipe the snow out of my eyes just in time to see another one flying towards me, I quickly maneuver away from the snowball and spot my new enemy of war. It was a short, kind of chubby brunette girl that I didn't recognize. She wore a Harry Potter shirt, Ravenclaw logo in the corner with a large picture of Luna Lovegood. I was a huge Harry Potter geek at that time and I felt sinful about going to war with another Harry Potter fan, but that guilt quickly went away once she flung another snowball at me. I dive out of the way and towards my ammunition. I begin to throw snowball after snowball towards her and she does the same towards me. Eventually the air between us was nothing more than flying snow, all I saw was white. Then, all of a sudden, out of the whiteness, all I see is a blur right in front of me and then feel myself fall back into the snow, knocking down a part of our bunker, which I kind of forgot was there and I felt like an idiot that I wasn't using it for protection.
I look up to see Luna Lovegood's face and my enemy laughing above her. She takes a pile of snow and rubs it into my face, I don't think I have ever been so cold in my life. The sound of the school bell going off is barely loud enough for me to hear over my own shivers. Recess was over. The girl stands up off of me and begins to run back to her classroom. I laid there, confused about what just happened, and look over to see that Danny and Ray had already left for class, as well. I was alone in the snow.
It wasn't until later that week that I found out who that Luna Lovegood fan was, it was Emily, but I'm sure you were able to figure that out. I saw her sitting alone in the cafeteria, so Danny, Ray, and I went over to sit with her. She was eating a peanut butter sandwich with the crust cut off, a bag of Doritos, and an apple. I sat down with a brown bagged lunch of my own. She looked up at me and, after a few seconds, remembered about our snowball fight and began to giggle.
"How's your face?" She said with a mouthful of Doritos and lets out another chuckle, a few bits of Doritos flying towards my face and landing on my shirt. Those were the first words that she ever said to me, a taunting how's your face? and then hit me, again in the face, but this time with Doritos. We ended up having lunch together every single day for the next five years, up until this year when we went off to different colleges.
Freshman year of high school our Homecoming dance was coming up and I had no idea who to ask. Luckily, Emily was also dateless, so we decided that we would go together. As friends, of course, nothing more. I picked her up the night of the dance around 6 PM, she was wearing an incredibly gorgeous pink dress that went down to her feet, but not low enough to cover up her sparkly, white high heels that made her ever so slightly taller than me. Freshman year was the beginning of Emily's transformation. The summer going into high school she lost her few baby pounds and decided to try out for the volleyball team. Even at that time I enjoyed watching her jump around in her tight uniform and spandex shorts, but I never thought of her as more than a friend. Just a friend who happened to be getting very attractive. And she was looking incredibly attractive at the Homecoming dance.
Our group was small that year, just Emily and I, Danny and his date, and Ray and his date. The four of us, Emily, Danny, Ray, and I, were still extremely good friends at the time. But, unfortunately, Danny and Ray would soon become strangers to us, but that part of the story isn't very important. We went out to dinner before the Homecoming dance at a local restaurant that I knew Emily loved. I remember gazing into her eyes as she took a small bite of her chicken Alfredo pasta and feeling my heart skip a beat. The glimmering of her green eyes and the slight redness of her cheeks as she was embarrassed that I was watching her eat was so perfect. I loved her, I just didn't know it yet.
That night at the dance we grinded for quite some time, as you do at high school dances, but towards the end of the night a slow jam came on. The Cranberries "Linger" played loudly through our school's gymnasium as I wrapped my arms around Emily's waist, her arms wrapping around my neck. We slowly moved back and forth, staring into each other's eyes with small smiles on our faces. The light hit her eyes perfectly so that I could see every shade of green. You know I'm such a fool for you. I felt this urge to lean in and kiss her, I wanted to hold her tightly against my body, eyes closed and kiss her as the music faded away and my head was filled with nothing but thoughts of her. I saw her bite her lips slightly and felt my knees weaken. You've got me wrapped around your finger, ah, ha, ha. I continue to stare deeply into her eyes, as we continue to move back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until the song stops, and the dance floor slowly empties. We still hold each other in our arms, never breaking eye contact. She smiles up at me, I smile back down at her.
"Hey, uh, Peter, Emily, we gotta go. The dance is over." Danny puts his arms around my shoulders, just above the arms of Emily. I shake out of it and loosen my grip around Emily and she does the same.
"Sorry, I thought there was gonna be another song or something." I say, trying to justify why Emily and I remained in the middle of the empty dance floor.
After the dance we went to a small party that some upperclassmen were throwing. Emily and I had a few drinks, and it seemed like everything had gone back to normal, the way that it had always been, the way that I shouldn't have allowed to be.
A few weeks after the dance, Emily got her first boyfriend, Justin, starting running back on the varsity football team. She dated him for nearly the next three years, until half way through his freshman year in college where he found an older, college girlfriend. I'll never forget the night that he sent that text, "Hey babe, so I think we should like, not be together anymore. You understand, right? Cool. But this was fun." What kind of asshole sends this text to a girl like Emily? It made me sick. She called me as soon as she got it, around 1 in the morning on a Wednesday, well technically a Thursday. I drove to her house and she came out to my car and, as soon as she sat down in my passenger seat, began crying and crying and crying. I didn't know what to say, so I sat there in silence for two hours, rubbing my hand on her back, wiping the tears from her face, and brushing the hair out of mouth. I made a vow to myself that night, I will never make this girl cry, and I will do anything in my power to make sure nobody else ever makes her feel like this again.
That summer, the end of our junior year, Emily got back together with Justin. I said nothing, she wasn't mine to control. So I sat in the background, praying that she wouldn't get hurt, but unfortunately knowing she eventually would. I many times contemplated walking up to Justin's front door and kicking the shit out of him. But then my common sense told me that my 150 pound body probably couldn't do much damage to his 220, 6' 3" frame. So I sat there, waiting to comfort her when she needed it. And, when Justin left to go back to his Sophomore year of college, my phone rang. I got into my car and drove to her and repeated what we had done only a few months prior. I wiped her tears and rubbed her back.
The end of our senior year was approaching and so was prom. I had this feeling in my gut that told me I needed to end my high school career with Emily. My first dance was with her and my last dance should also be with her. At this point I was head over heels in love with this girl, she was my everything. She was the reason that I woke up in the morning and the reason I pushed myself so hard to be the man that I was becoming. She was my inspiration and my angel. Yet I still had no idea that I felt this way, how could I be so oblivious? Luckily, I had at least the desire to ask her to prom, which I did.
I picked her up again at 6 PM. I think that I died for a few seconds when Emily opened up her front door that night. She opened it up to expose her and her flowy white dress that ended right above the knees. Her legs had an angelic sparkle to them as they reached down towards her high heels filled with fake diamonds. Fortunately, I had grown at this point and, even with the high heels, she was still a few inches shorter than me. She smiled her sparkly white teeth at me and I fell down to one knee; she made my knees so weak that my right knee literally gave out. I quickly thought of a way to save myself and decided to retie my already tied left shoe, then stood back up.
"Oh my god, you look amazing, Em."
"Thank you, you look very handsome yourself, Petey. But come here, let me straighten up your tie." She leans towards me and adjusts my tie. I get a whiff of her perfume and feel my knees weaken again, but this time I fight enough to remain standing. And I still had no idea I was in love with her. I am such an idiot.
Being our senior year, we decided to go all out for prom, so we got our group a limo. This years group consisted of 14 of us in total, mostly Emily's friends from volleyball, Danny and Ray were long gone by this point. One of the girls in our group had burned a CD for the night and put it in as soon as we closed the door. We then started to pop the champagne, somebody was sly enough to sneak them past all of the parents, and we started drinking. The first song plays and ends, the second song plays and ends, and the CD continues. We continue drinking. We were taking the limo to a town about an hour and a half away for dinner, mostly for an excuse to need the limo. As some time goes by I am feeling a little more than buzzed, Emily is beginning to do her drunk dance that is mostly just her throwing her head back with closed eyes and wiggling her arms. I always loved that dance. It hasn't always been an exclusively drunk dance, she used to do it all the time years ago. But as we got older, she realized just how silly it was and stopped doing it, but with alcohol in her system she didn't seem to care about silliness.
The current song comes to an end and there is a slight pause in between songs, and then on came "Linger." If you, if you could return, don't let it burn, don't let it fade. I turn to look at Emily and she is looking up at me with a smile as she continues to wiggle her arms around. My heartbeat increases so much so that it feels like it is trying to escape my chest. All this time she could make my heart stop and then make my heart beat so fast that it nearly explodes, and I never knew I loved her.
I reach my hand over to grab hers, I didn't even think about it, it just naturally happened. It was as if my heart was saying, if you aren't gonna do it, then we're gonna do it ourselves. Alright hand, let's do this. She gives my hand a slight pinch and then smiles bigger at me. Holy shit, are we about to kiss? No, Emily and I wouldn't kiss. She's my best friend, she's like a sister to me, isn't she? I can't kiss her. That would just make everything so weird...wouldn't it? Oh my god, I'm leaning in towards her. What is happening?? Is she leaning in towards me, too? Holy shit. We are getting kind of close now, is this really happening? My heart is beating faster and faster as I lean in closer and closer. Our lips are only inches from each other when the limo comes to a stop and everybody begins to stand up. The person next to me bumps into me and knocks me further away from Emily. I look up to see everybody is standing up and pushing towards the front of the limo, I look at Emily and she shrugs towards me and stands up to exit. We never got another chance to finish that leaning moment.
Now I sit here in my dorm room with a pen in my hand and a piece of paper in front of me addressed towards Emily. It has been a rough first semester for me here at university, it's the first time I've ever been this far away from her. My friends tell me that I'm just homesick, everybody gets homesick their freshman year of college, but I know for a fact that I am not just homesick. I am Emilysick. I need her, I cannot live without her, and it has taken me almost seven years to realize that that is true. I feel so foolish for not seeing it earlier, it was so obvious. It was all so obvious. But I missed the signs that my heart was always giving me. Fool.
I have no idea how Emily feels about me, we haven't really talked much since we have gone away for college. For all I know she is having the time of her life with the man of her dreams, not evening thinking about me. But all I know for a fact is that I cannot stop thinking about her and I need to do something. I must do something. And the best thing I can think of is writing her a letter, an opportunity for me to gather all of my thoughts and say what I truly feel. I've never been good at saying how I feel in normal conversation. I get all nervous and leave out large chunks of what I want to say, so, to me, a letter sounds like the best idea.
I know that we haven't talked much this semester, but I have been thinking a lot about you. School is going well, my roommates are a little messy, but it's okay. Moving away from home is such a strange feeling, I don't think I'm dealing with it very well. I've spent the last couple months really trying to figure out why this move has been so difficult for me and I think I have finally figured it out. It's you. It's the fact that I don't have you by my side 24/7. It's the fact that you are not a 5 minute drive away. It's the fact that I don't get to see your smile every single day. It's the fact that I don't get to hear your laugh and watch you as you gaze into space while you daydream about who knows what. It's the fact that I am madly in love with you and have never said anything about it. To be honest, I didn't even know it myself until recently. I thought you were just my best friend, but now I realize that you are much more than just my best friend. You are my everything. You are my inspiration and my motivation. You make me want to be a better person. Without you here in my life, I feel empty. I feel this gaping hole in my chest. I can't even get myself out of bed, because I know even once I'm out of bed I still won't get to see you. I'm not sure if writing a letter is the best way to confess my feelings, but it's the best way that I know how. I hope this doesn't ruin our friendship or anything, because you mean the world to me. You will always mean the world to me. After all, you are my world. You are the only thing that matters to me.
Click here for Emily's perspective.