The moment friends speak of romance between them, the friendship changes. Men and women can't be friends, people will say. It's a matter of time before someone starts to see things differently. I'm beginning to believe that now, although I never used to.
After sharing old feelings with a friend of mine, he has needed space to adjust. I grant him that, but it's not easy halting our friendship. It's sad to know that he can no longer speak freely to me, without worrying about me getting the wrong message (which I wouldn't, by the way).
So since I can't speak to him now without feeling like I'm pressuring him or hinting at something else, I'll write an open letter instead.
My dear friend,
Perhaps the hardest part of the situation we're in now is how powerless I feel. I'll be living my life when suddenly and all at once, I'll miss you. But I can't tell you. If I do, you'll be sure to misinterpret it.
I wish words could just be words sometimes, you know? Why must they carry so much baggage? Why must we inject meaning where it doesn't belong? I only wish we could just read some things without reading into them.
Frankly, the hardest part is that I've lost a friend. I've lost my voice in our friendship and I can't hear yours. I know you need space and so I give it to you, respectfully. But at the same time, I wish you knew that I just miss us being us.
Maybe all I intended by speaking of romance was a hope of rekindling the closeness we once shared. The only thing I ever feared was you slipping away. And I saw it happening too. I felt it in how our conversations became sparser and dialogue trickled away.
Yet all I could do was stand by and watch it happen. I had to allow it, because what else was I to do? Move back? Turn back time? One solution is more improbable than the next.
You don't know this, but every time a conversation between us died, so did I a little, on the inside. It served as another reminder of our something special being withered by the hand of time. The distance between us started to feel so vast that I could no longer say I know you.
I remembered you as you once were and I loved you like that. But what about the new you -- did I love him too? It killed me to admit but I knew I could no longer claim to know you. You had changed, as had I, as we all had.
The problem was that I didn't want you to change without me being there. I wanted to witness you grow. I wanted to see you smile every time you saw me. I longed for new memories -- laughter, disclosure, bonding. I knew I couldn't be there, but I hoped frequent conversation would compensate for my absence.
The problem is that our special connection -- the one we're so fond of -- doesn't work via social media. It needs to be felt and exchanged in touch and looks. It can't be transmitted in radio waves. And neither can my feelings.
I want to tell you I miss you, but a text message will only taint the sentiment. Flat words on a screen cannot convey how I mean them. I would need to look you in the eyes, feel your loving gaze (as you've always looked at me) and then tell you. I would tilt my head and squeeze your arm and say, “I've missed you.” Then you'd say something sappy as you always do and lift me into a tight hug.
See what the problem is? I miss you but I cannot tell you. Because even if I did, the words would be lost in interpretation and analysis. By the time the words left my end and traveled across the ocean to you, they will have been granted another meaning and imbued with a heaviness I did not intend.
So I hold my tongue and I give you time, knowing that you'll never know that at this very moment I just miss being your friend.