When Life Gives You Lemons
“I just need to tell you that I’m totally, hopelessly in love with you.”
Such a simple statement, really-just a few average words strung together to form an idea. Yet given the intensity of this particular thought-the years of suppressed desires, the hiding, and the artificial posturing-the statement was monumental. The words were actually held together by a courageous glue born of desperation. The need to speak or burst or was high; pressures cookers left on for ten or so years tend to malfunction.
If only I could muster up enough bravery to say those few yet magnificent words to my best friend. I’m thinking, that it’s about time I tell him, however, I suspect, that I’ll somehow, as usual, analyze this whole thing to death and end up telling him what I tell him every time: Be a good boy when I‘m not around. And he’ll smile that dimpled smile of his, kiss me on the cheek, and walk away chuckling to himself.
Kevin is similar to me in many ways- we’re the same age, we live in the same neighborhood, and we have similar interests and backgrounds. We both have brown hair and blue eyes and we both love chocolate chip ice cream. That’s where our similarities end.
Sometimes we would sit for hours, conversing about the immorality of politics or the intricacies of international espionage. Usually, when I started arguing with him, (at times I think he lets me win) he would sit there and pretend to roll his eyes at my perspective and just start biting into his bottom lip.
At this point, I would be so attracted and annoyed by him that I would just stop speaking altogether. When he at last noticed that I’d stopped talking, he would look up and wink in false submission. This would go on for about 4 consecutive hours (or until we started physically fighting). We were on the same track one afternoon when he said something that shocked me so much that my heart broke into a million pieces the second the words left his lips. Until now, a terminal case of shyness and poor self-esteem has always stopped me from telling Kevin how I felt about him. But good fortune struck me a couple of months ago: I almost got hit by a speeding bus.
Brushes with mortality put life into new perspectives; love and affection suddenly seem paramount, and attempts to squelch such desires seem counter to living. My new goal in life is to come out and live like I haven’t done before. But I had an extra obstacle thrown at me, impeding progress in the romance department: my sister’s best friend Monica.
“So your friend Monica asked me out,” he said so casually that I wanted to vomit. My head started spinning. I must have choked on the sandwich that I was eating because next thing I knew he was patting me gently on the back and whispering in my ear.
“Amaya, you ok? Talk to me.”
“I’m...what was your answer?”
I started coughing again.
“Oh...I said I’d think about it. What’s with you?”
“I just need to tell you that I’m totally, hopelessly in love with you.” I said numbly.
I couldn’t read the expression on his face because my eyes were closed. His grip on my shoulder was so tight, though, that I screamed out in pain.
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly.
I figured I had to open up my eyes sometime, but when I opened them, he had walked all the way across my bedroom. I was suddenly acutely aware of how small my room was.
“So what do you plan to do with that?” he asked.
“Not a damn thing.”
“Were you serious?”
“I was as serious as a heart attack,” I said.
“Amaya, will you do me a favor?”
“Pretend you never said anything.”
Damn. This is not what I wanted to hear. For once in my life, I kept pushing with Kevin although I knew I had lost.
“Why should I?”
He stared at me intently and for three minutes neither one of us spoke. The tension in the room was palpable. Then he finally walked to the window, looked at the curtains, obviously thought about drawing them, and then decided against it, before he spoke. “Because I think I want to take Monica up on her offer.”
“So then do it,” I said indignantly.
“Not at your expense.”
“It’s not,” I said just as a tear escaped down the side of my face.
“Just say the word and I won’t do it.”
“Alright, then, don’t do it.”
“Come on, don’t ask me not to do this.”
I only wish that I had some of the courage and bravery leftover to ask him not to do it, again. If I asked him enough times, he would do as I wanted. He is one of the most compassionate people I know; whatever reason he has for wanting to be with Monica, it must be important for he knows how much it will hurt me: yet he’s still willing to go through with it. Although I’m not sure at this point where this leaves us as friends, I am sure of one thing. I’m not going to stand in the way of what he wants. I want to see him happy even if it’s not with me. I know how cliche that may sound, but it’s the truth. I was sobbing uncontrollably by now.
“Amaya...I’m sorry...don’t cry...but I have to do this.”
I wanted him to leave. I thought about making a scene for one second and immediately dismissed the idea; he wouldn’t leave me alone in a hysterical condition. He’d probably stay longer. Don’t get me wrong; when you love someone proximity is a good thing. But my mind can’t function correctly when he’s around. Instead of asking him to leave, I turned my back to him and faced the CD player which was playing ironically playing Xscape’s “Run to the Arms of the One Who Loves You.” We must have stayed in that position for ten minutes: me crying while lying down on my bed facing my CD player, him standing by the window looking outside at my driveway which was badly in need of paint. I was the one who finally broke the silence.
“You know how people always say that teenagers get their heart broken a million times before they actually find the right person for them?”
“Yes, I do. What about it?” he asked, confused.
“I think my heart just broke one million times into one million pieces.”
“Why did your heart break?”
“Because what?” I asked impatiently.
“Because yours did.”
“You won’t lessen my heartbreak by sharing it.”
“Granted, but I can’t help it.”
I realized then that I could never give up on him. No matter how many times he rejected me, no matter how many Monicas he dated, I would always be there for him, romantically or non. I have a feeling, however, that he won’t realize this fact until the end. By then, it’ll be too late.