Why We Can’t Be Friends

The September night was almost beginning to feel cool, and we were riding in your brand new car. I was quietly staring out the window, remembering all the ways I wasn’t in love with you, but so desperately wanted to be. You were mad at me. Finally, you spit out “Do you even want to be with me anymore?”

I didn’t respond. The fissure between us widened to a canyon in that instant. “You don’t do you? You can’t even look at me. Jesus Christ.” I didn’t know how to form the words, my mouth was so dry. My stomach hurt, and I was so worried you might start crying. I just shook my head a few times, until you got really mad. You started screaming. Then I started crying. You pulled the car into my apartment complex and turned the engine off. We sat there until you said “well, I guess this is it.” I looked at you with tears streaming down my face and said “this can’t be it.”

For those looking in, our relationship was perfection. We were more than good together, there was something that just worked with us. The camaraderie was instant and a lot of fun. But when you touched me, I didn’t shiver, there was no tingly feeling. I could sleep at night without you, in fact, I preferred it.  We would have sex, and I insisted that I just ‘didn’t like cuddling’ afterward, so that I didn’t have to touch you in any sort of emotional capacity. I couldn’t call you my boyfriend, because, I wasn’t that into relationships or commitment. We would have arguments and I would shut down, refusing to tell you what was wrong, because ‘I had emotional growth problems.’ When I didn’t orgasm during sex, I would be pissed at you. One long car ride, we discussed the difference between “fucking” and “making love” and laughed at all those schmucks who ‘made love’ – “HAHAHA what does that even mean?” we chortled to each other – fucking is the only way to go. I refused to give you blow jobs. I ‘didn’t like holding hands.’

I believed everything I told you. Because you were my best friend.

Then I met him.

I get butterflies thinking about him. I hate when I have to spend the night without him. Sex is this insane emotional journey every time – and even if it is not making love, I feel deeply when I do it. Holding hands is my favorite thing to do, because that’s acceptable touching in public, and I constantly crave that. When I’m upset, he can convince me to tell him what’s wrong with one “C’mon, do it for me” plead. His skin brushes mine, and I get this overwhelming feeling that I need to hold him and never let him go. Everything I thought I would never have (because I’m emotionally distant, stunted, and a commitment-phobe), I have with him.

So when I texted you “happy 4th” and you responded with “just don’t” – I get it. You felt all those things for me; I never even knew those were possible. You see me with him, and it is your living nightmare (because now I know what mine could look like). And I’m sorry. I want to be friends with you so desperately, because you were my closest friend. But I understand. We can’t be friends.

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