My Best Friend
"God, I'm so late!" I scrambled from room to room, grabbing my bag. "Where are my keys?!" Mike was laying in bed with a smug look hiding behind a book. I turned on him and glared, holding my hand out. "I need my keys."
He shrugged innocently, not looking up from the pages. "I have no idea what you're t--"
I pulled him out of the bed and he fell backwards onto the floor. "Mike! Keys!"
He didn't even blink. He continued to read his book that I knew for a fact he lost his page. He was shirtless wearing a pair of red underwear I bought him as a gag gift last Christmas.
"Give me the damn keys!"
He chuckled. "So violent!" He said handing the keys over.
I stood up with the keys, triumphantly. He put his book down and rolled over onto his back, frowning up at me. "Why go? You're already late. Why not take the day off? Hang with me." He smiled at the last part.
I sighed, looking at my watch. "I can't...." I turned towards the front door, already regretting leaving him.
"You won't even stay with your best friend?" He asked pleadingly.
I groaned, stopping in my tracks. Sighing, I dropped my keys and bag on the table and turned back around to face him. "You know, you're guilt tripping is just cruel."
He grinned, patting the spot next to him. A smile broke out on my face as I laid next to him. "My guilt tripping has worked for me ever since kindergarten."
I rested my arms behind my head, gazing up at the ceiling. Mike was right, he used his guilt trip back then to get crayons or the biggest piece of cake. Now, here we were, 15 years later, sharing an apartment together, going to college. We were best friends, and had been since the first day we met. We'd been through everything together. He was always there for me. When my boyfriend broke up with me, he was there with a tub of ice cream, a box of Kleenex, and a sappy romance. When I was worried about the school test, he was there with flash cards and optimism. When I got fired from my job, he was there a spray paint and toilet paper. We shared everything and I wouldn't have it any other way.
"We should go to the zoo...." He randomly said, still looking at the ceiling. "We haven't done that in a while."
"Mmhmm," I agreed, still lost in thought.
He turned over and propped his head up with his hand, staring at me. "What are you thinking about?"
I mimicked his movement and stared back at him. "Our past. What are you thinking about?"
His eyes turned soft like they did every once in a while. "Our future."
I didn't move, I didn't react. What did he mean by that? "I...have to go," I said, standing up and heading for the door, my mind confused. He didn't try and stop me for which I was grateful. I needed to think.
I took a long walk through the park, thinking about everything. What was he trying to say? I mean, of course we had a future, he was my best friend... but I never thought of THAT future. Every time he'd hug me, did it mean something different to him? Every time he'd tell me I looked beautiful before I left the apartment, did he really mean it? Every time he'd smile, every time he'd laugh, every time he went through the craziest of my ideas knowing it would end badly...
How long has he loved me?
How many times have I hurt him when I stood him up for my most recent boyfriend? How many times have I missed that look in his eyes when he'd smile at me and I didn't know what he was thinking? How many times have I cried to him about not being able to find my true love and he just rubbed my back and listened?
...How long have I loved him back and not realized it?
My future seemed so clear now. I've always loved him too. I just didn't know it myself! Quickly, I ran back to my apartment, as fast as my legs would carry me. The door was locked so I fumbled for my keys and opened the door. My breath was ragged from the running as I looked around the apartment. I didn't have to check the other rooms to know it was empty. I placed my keys down on the table and saw a little note with a blue construction paper and a pink heart holding it all together. It reminded me of kindergarten, sharing crayons and paper...
I picked up the paper, gently unfolding it to read three small simple words.
"I love you."
I heard his voice come from behind me, the front door still open. I turned around and smiled up at him, a new smile, bringing a new feeling I had never experienced before. I dropped the paper as he pulled me in and kissed me.