Miles stared intently at the Sharpie pen clenched so tightly in his grip that his knuckles were blanched white, at the lined notebook opened to a fresh, new page. It was college ruled, perforated, with exactly thirty-three blue lines running horizontally across each page. He’d studied it with such intensity, such scrutiny, noting every detail about it that his vision was beginning to blur.
And he’d yet to write a single word.
Gnawing on his bottom lip, he narrowed his eyes at the still unmarked paper, feeling the tumultuous whirlwind of his turbulent emotions give a vicious undulation. These feelings, so long unexpressed, so long suppressed, needed to be released somehow. What better way than through the written word? God knew he would never be able to voice them aloud.
Miles set his jaw resolutely, the tip of the pen finally touching down on paper. And he began to write.
I’ve asked myself a million and one times how to start this. And a million and one times I’ve been left unanswered, struck with what I believe is Cowardly Lion Syndrome, something inside too scared or insecure or some shit to say what needs to be said.
I can’t be a coward anymore. Maybe I’ve visited Oz and found some courage or maybe I just finally grew a pair. Or maybe I’ve just kept all this shit bottled up for so long that now it needs to be released or else I’ll go insane from the fucking strain.
That rhymed, huh? I’m a poet and didn’t know it… and, of course, this would be the part where you’d say, “I make it rhyme every time.” A stupid thing, dating back to those milk and cookie pre-school days together. It’s funny the memories your own brain dredges up, all in an attempt to sidetrack you from your main objective.
Getting sidetracked can’t happen right now.
Jor, I’ve kept this inside for too long, buried so deep in my subconscious that even I wasn’t aware of it for the longest time. But now I can’t deny the truth, or escape from it or fucking deflect anymore. I need to be honest about this, if only to save myself from the massive coronary this internalized shit is gonna cause me. Or maybe it’s an ulcer. Aneurysm? Whatever the case, I need to preserve what sanity I have left, and to do that I need to practice some honesty here.
The truth, my oldest and most trusted friend, is that I’m… in love with you.
I don’t know how or when it happened, or how and when I actually realized it. The only thing I do know is that it happened and it’s inescapable, staring me in the face every time I glimpse my reflection in the mirror, haunting my dreams, both day and night, and coloring every conversation I have with you. Pretty soon it’s gonna be so obvious that you’ll guess and I’ll be left in the dust, being deprived of even your friendship, ’cause you’re gonna be pissed that I didn’t fess up myself.
Being a lovesick fool, I can handle. Getting you amputated from my life, I can’t.
This is something I’ve tried and tried to tell you. But every time I do my voice box secures itself with a fucking padlock and won’t let anything intelligible scrape past my throat. It got even worse when Rebecca entered the equation. You fell so hard, so fast, and I couldn’t really blame you. I mean, she’s beautiful, generous and has a heart of gold. She’s the perfect woman and I practically gift-wrapped her, placed a bow atop that pretty blonde head of hers, and hand delivered her to you. I’m cursing myself for those introductions I made now. She makes you happy, though, so I can’t regret it too much. My own happiness is overrated.
But that still leaves me with this burning confession, festering inside me and possibly going cancerous. I can’t stop my heart from giving these agonizing wrenches every time I see you kiss Becca, wishing it were my lips yours were coaxing apart. I can’t stop the nauseous plummeting of my stomach every time you hug her, wishing it were me you were embracing in your strong arms. I can’t stop the forceful constriction of my chest every time you two disappear into your room, because I know that you’ll soon be sinking into the warm heat of her body, and I wish it was me. And believe me, Jor, this self-imposed torture of mine is worse than bamboo shards under the fingernails. Way more painful, too.
You’ve been my best friend since we were shittin’ green. Hell, I think we were both chilling in the womb at the same time, our respective conceptions synchronized. While we were growing up, you always had my back, loaning me your couch when the ‘rents were starting World War III in my house, giving me half of your PB&J when my lunchbox proved to be empty because my pickled-brained mother forgot to whip me up something. And in high school, when I was only just starting to realize that I wasn’t ogling the girls but the guys, you boycotted homecomings and proms with me because I was too scared to show up with a guy, but still too proud to show up with a girl, either.
I’ve tried, really tried, to be there as much for you as you have been for me. That’s the honest truth, Jor. But I think I’m gonna have to start separating myself from you two. Because, as much as my heart cries out for you, I’m not bastard enough to compromise what you’ve found with Becca. But seeing you two together is too painful, a piece of me dying each day that I can’t have you for myself.
I guess that’s it. Please know that I love you, Jordan, forever and always. That will never change. Hell, I even love Becca, and know you two will be much happier without me playing the annoying third wheel all the time. But also know that I am unconditionally, unequivocally, forever and truly yours. It’s just becoming too difficult for me, having to pretend that I’m not miserable inside, but I can manage it for you today. I can be the dutiful best friend for one more day—
Clenching his teeth, Miles leaned back in his chair, tossing the pen down before he could go on with the sob fest. This was supposed to have been cathartic, writing down his feelings, a way to release them and absolve himself or something. If anything, it only ripped off the scab, leaving him broken and bleeding.
A brief knock at the door heralded Jordan. He stepped inside the small room Miles had retreated to, his black tux contrasting so nicely with his flaxen hair and light features. His face radiated the happiness Miles had so recently mentioned in his letter, blue eyes sparkling like gemstones.
“Are you ready?” Jordan demanded, his lips spreading into a wide grin.
Shoving down the new wave of turbulent emotions brewing, Miles forced an answering smile, crumpling up the unfinished letter and trashing it in favor of the speech he’d painstakingly written the night before. He smoothed his own tux, tugging at the sleeves to straighten them, all to avoid Jordan’s too perceptive gaze. “Yeah, man,” he said. “Let’s get you hitched.”