The most read story on the New York Times Modern Love section right now is called “Friends without benefits“. It tells the story of a woman who becomes the good friend of a man but lusts secretly after him. Their friendship depletes as they begin to become more than friends, but their relationship ends because he never reciprocates the love she had for him.
I have a good friend of mine I wish he was more than friend to me too. But I never had the chance to tell him I loved him. And we have a complicated friendship now.
It started in high school. I didn’t notice him right away. It took us two years to get to know each other. We ended up sitting next to each other in fifth grade, because our head teacher decided to put her students randomly in the class, rather than letting them sit next to their friends. I wasn’t seduced by him right away. But he enjoyed my company and often invited me to come with his friends to the cinema, to bars and concerts.
My feelings for him grew over time. I only realized I was in love with him the day he introduced his girlfriend to his friends, including me. I hated her right away. Their relationship went belly up after a month, and he dated other girls. All my friends told me to tell him how I felt. But I didn’t have the courage to do so.
I ended up dating his best friend, and our road separated when high school was over. He went to study in a different town than I. Two months later, his best friend left me, and I left the group of friends we had in common because I couldn’t stomach seeing my ex again.
I failed my first year in College, and decided to change my studies. I had to move to a town where I knew nobody for that. None of his group of friends tried to stay in touch with me.
Years passed, and I had no news from him. Until 2008, when I decided to register to Facebook. He found me and left me a message. He said he was separated, living in London, and asked if we could see each other again. But I wasn’t single at the time, and I told him right away about it. Three months after, I went to London, and he came to pick me at the place where I had my interview. He hasn’t changed much since High School, apart from his hair which are gone now. While we were having lunch, he said I was the only one he still had contact with from High School. But he told me he got back with his girlfriend. He met her while he was studying architecture in Milan, and she followed him when he decided to move to London.
Every time I went to London, I went to have lunch with him. Until one day, where he said he was only available for the evening. So, we went to have dinner, and we ended in a bar, where we didn’t drink (he was trying to stop drinking). He asked if he could enter with me to my hotel. But even if I was single at the time, I knew he was in a relationship, so I kissed him goodbye and got back to my room alone. He stopped contacting me after that.
Six months later, I saw his picture with a baby on Facebook. I called him to congratulate him, but he never replied. He eventually reacted six months later. He introduced me to his son, and told him to behave well otherwise I won’t come back and see them, while looking at me with a big smile. But his little boy was running everywhere and interrupted many times our conversation. When I left, he said nothing. And now, I’m the one who don’t want to contact him.