It’s time for a story. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s sad. So listen up…
There’s this girl I know. We met through a mutual friend of ours, and from the beginning, we hit it off. She’s the most beautiful, intelligent and caring person you’ll ever meet. She’s got that kind of charming quirkiness that I’ve come to love and appreciate. I’ve known her for 8 years now, and she’s my closest friend. My best friend in fact. And I’m in love with her. That’s the problem. For all these years…we’ve never both been single at the same time. The times just didn’t work out. So I was content to remain friends, happy to talk to her when I could, but I always respected the fact that she was taken, and the fact that she was happy where she was. That’s changed. We’re both single now…and now I’m faced with a dilemma. I have strong feelings for her, but I know her. I know she doesn’t feel the same about me. I know that she loves me…but only as a friend. She would tell me how any girl would be lucky to have me, and every time she does..I cringe a little because what she really means is any *other* girl. She means well. I know she does.
Once, I asked her what she was looking for in a boyfriend…and she told me that she was looking for someone who would give her a ring, and mean it. At that very moment, I looked at her, and said nothing. I was just about to tell her… I would. I would give her a ring, and mean it with every fiber of my being. Hell I would give her the world if she asked for it. I would love her, with all my heart. I would hold her, and never let go. I would never see her hurt, in all these years I’ve known her, I would never let her be hurt. Not by me and if I can help it, not by anyone else. The world would be her oyster, and I would do anything just see to see her smile. I wanted to tell her, I wanted to say all this..but I knew I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I care about her too much to ruin our friendship. I know her too well to know that she sees me only as a friend, albeit a very valuable friend. One that she wouldn’t want to risk losing over a relationship. She doesn’t believe that ex’s can remain friends. She doesn’t want me to become that ex. That best friend turned stranger. I know her, and I know she doesn’t want to risk losing this, losing me. I know this, and while it hurts me to say this.. I’m trying my damnedest to respect her wish. Every time I look at her, every time I talk to her, I have to remind myself…she wants you to be there for her, she wants someone to talk to. She wants you to be her best friend..but you can’t be her boyfriend. That’s not what she wants. That’s not what she thinks will make her happy. If you care about her, you won’t ruin this for her.
The thing is…I don’t think I would ever become that ex. If given the chance, I would see her be the happiest girl in the world. I would do anything, and have done everything, just to see her smile. To bring a little joy into her life. To make her…happy. I’ve known her for 8 years, and I care too much about her to ever see her heart broken again. I will always be there for her, no matter what. I promised to her, early on in those first few months when we first started to really talk, that I would always be there for her. I’m a man of principle, and I always keep my word. I remembered that promise years later when she came to me telling me that her asshat of an ex just dumped her. I dropped everything, and drove to Waterloo to try to cheer her up. I never told her this, but I really don’t like driving. But I remember my promises, and I keep them.
She’s my closest friend, and in so many ways she means the world to me. She makes me happy, and I would do anything to keep her happy. Anything. And if that means denying myself every time I see her, then so be it. But the thing is…will I be living a life with no regrets? In 40 years, will I be one of *those* old men…the ones who wish they’d made their move when they had the chance? The answer is…I honestly don’t know. All I know is…that in 40 years, I just want her to be by my side. As my significant other or as my best friend…either would honestly make me happy. But the question that sits in the back of my mind is…do those two things have to be mutually exclusive? Honestly, I don’t know. And I’m too afraid to find out.