To The One Who Got Away

I’ll be honest: I don’t remember exactly the first time we talked. I just remember how bushy your hair was and how you always seemed to flirt with everybody.

You had this sparkle in your eye, and I know it sounds cliché, but it was there. I know because I’ve looked into those eyes too many times to count, and I swear I could see a star shining in each of them.

Your smile always brightened my days, and you were always making me laugh. In fact, I can remember plenty of times when I was supposed to be quiet in class and you were saying or doing something just to crack me up. Even though you got me in trouble a couple of times, it was always worth it.

You were so giving and selfless. When you were the reason I was late, you’d find someone to take me home. You’d buy me dinner here and there, and you’d also treat me to movies sometimes. It wasn’t because you liked me. No, you were just sweet and liked doing things for the people you cared for.

For most of high school, you were in a relationship, and from afar, I cared deeply for you. The truth is that if you had ever asked me, I would have been yours in an instant. And everyone knew it…except you.

When that relationship ended, you were devastated. You would call me crying sometimes just wanting to talk. You’d text me, and I would know just by your texts that you were upset. Somehow, I would find the right words to say to help you through.

Then one night, I said something that shook your core, that made you realize everything would be alright. That’s when you told me you loved me…like a sister.

And I said I loved you too…but it wasn’t in a platonic way.

I never pushed my feelings on you though. I got very comfortable in the friend zone because I was also afraid of screwing up our friendship. I was afraid that I’d lose you forever, and I couldn’t lose you because you were one of the only people that I felt I could be my true self around.

I could tell you anything, and every single time I needed something or was in a pickle, you were the only person I called. Sometimes, I’d be texting you in the middle of the night crying, and you would offer to come pick me up and take me for a drive. It didn't matter that it was well past midnight and we had school in the morning.

Our friends always said that we would grow up and get married. We even made a pact that we would marry each other if we were both single when we turned 35. Sometimes I still hold on to that, but in truth, I know we are both different people than we were in high school.

We went off to different colleges and in turn, had different experiences. Our lives have led down different roads, and now, when we see each other, it’s awkward. There are strange silences and catching up with you is different than catching up with others.

It’s not picking up where we left off. It’s catching up on the big moments, what leaps and bounds we’ve made since last seeing each other. We carefully pick out the important moments in our minds to share with each other. Often, we’re lucky to have a short half an hour to catch up.

In those times, I can feel it. You’ve moved on to a world that turns at a different pace than mine, and it's bittersweet. I am happy to see you living the life you’ve created for yourself, but I’m sad to see that I’m not really in it. I wish I could have found more of a chance to stay in touch with you so that we could still have our friendship at least.

Maybe these roads we’re on will somehow intersect again, and then we will reintroduce ourselves as the people we’ve become. Maybe we will continue to grow apart, and instead, we will be people who hug at class reunions and talk about the friends we used to be. Until that unforeseen future comes, know that I do miss you. I regret letting our friendship fade.

And, yes, the heart of the girl I used to be is still yours.

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