My name is Tim, but that's not important. Her name is Sarah, and that is important.
This is the story of how we fell in love. Or really, this is the story of how one of us fell in love with the other. We don't need to concern ourselves with the details of whether or not that love is requited at the current moment. That's not the point.
The point is that Sarah and I have been friends for a long time, and sometimes you know someone so well that you never think about them in a romantic way until one day you become aware that all along you two are perfect for each other but you don't realize this until it's possibly too late. That's what happened with us. We grew up together. I call her my Day One (since we've known each other since day one) and she calls me her FSD (friend since diapers). So yeah, we're pretty cool.
Our moms tell us we had a lot of play dates together when we were little. They say we've been best friends since we were toddlers. I don't remember much of that, but I do remember middle school because it was the first time having the right friends mattered.
In elementary school, everyone is friends with everyone and it's whatever. No one cares. Then, out of nowhere you turn 11 and there's cliques and peer pressure and certain places you can and cannot sit in the cafeteria. It's all absurd of course, but that's how it works. Thankfully, Sarah and I stuck together in middle school. We sat next to each other on the bus, had the same class schedule, and hung out together outside of school. She truly saved me from myself because I'm more awkward than most teenage boys (which is saying a lot), and there's no way I would've been able to manage making new friends.
I guess that's the one difference between Sarah and I. She's not awkward at all. In fact, I've never met anyone who is better at making friends than she is. I don't really know what it is about her that makes people like her right away, but they just do. Obviously, she has a lot of great characteristics. She's nice, funny, smart, sensible blah blah blah, but there's something different about her that people always notice. Everyone in school knows her name, the teachers adore her, and even the janitor stops and talks to her in the hallway. That's how Sarah is. She's the girl who can make friends with the janitor, the principal, the cafeteria ladies, the teachers, the students, and even me.
I think there's a lot to be said about a friend who sticks with you through middle school because everyone knows those three years are usually the worst of your life. I blame puberty. There's just no way to get through it unscathed. Even Sarah went through the ringer with her braces. She had to sleep in headgear. How hilarious is that? I still make fun of her for it. Of course, no one but me knew about the headgear, and I never told anybody about it. Not that it matters though. Everyone likes Sarah so much I doubt they would've made fun of her for it.
If you think about it though, that kinda says a lot about Sarah. I'm the only friend in her life who can make fun of her. It's always been our love language I guess (if two friends can have a love language), but I don't know. It's not like we are mean or anything. We just poke fun at each other. The way only really good friends can. And because we've known each other for so long we know exactly what buttons we can and cannot push. Her dental headgear is fair game, but so is my general awkwardness. It all evens out.
It all changed when we got to high school. That's when I met Eve. She really threw a wrench into everything.
In her defense, Eve is hot. Tall, blonde, legs, eyes, the whole thing. All of it. Either she is an angel, or puberty was so bad for her that God made her look the way she does now as an apology for making middle school miserable. I didn't know her in middle school, but one way or the other she must've come into contact with heaven at some point to look as good as she does. All I know is that I've never been the guy that hot girls talk to, or even notice for that matter. Sarah constantly has guys asking her out though. She always says yes to the first date, but no to the second date. I don't know why, and whenever I ask her she makes up some lame excuse as to why it didn't work out. Too tall, not a good listener, weird ears, tried to kiss her on the first date. Stupid stuff like that. I, on the other hand, have never been on a first date.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. What a loser. First off, no. I hang out with Sarah all the time, so it's not like I'm incapable of talking to females (although if you saw me talk to other girls at school, you might think otherwise). I just don't have a girlfriend. It's not a big deal. Lots of guys my age don't have girlfriends. Now, would I like a girlfriend? I mean, yeah obviously. If the opportunity presented itself I wouldn't turn it down, but I'm not hunting for a girlfriend like all the other guys in school are. I'm not like that. I'm patient...or scared. I don't know. One of those two things. Whatever.
I'm digressing. Here's the other thing you need to know so I can catch you up on this story. In middle school, Sarah and I had all the same classes, but the high school we go to is way bigger and now we only have 1st, 4th, and 6th period together. It's not the same as it used to be, but we still see each other a lot, so neither of us complains. What's happened after sitting next to each other in so many classes over the years is that we've become pretty good at passing notes back and forth. Sarah has about ten million pads of sticky notes, and that's what we use to communicate during class. It's easy because Sarah takes a lot of her actual class notes on sticky notes (to this day, I don't know why), so even when teachers catch us passing notes back and forth they think we're just sharing class notes. It's really brilliant I think, but I came up with the idea, so I'm unavoidably biased.
Anyway, Ms. Adkins, our Lit teacher, is so old that we could write notes on poster boards and pass them back and forth without her noticing. We still use sticky notes though because they're cheaper than poster boards. It was 1st period in her class when this conversation took place on one of Sarah's pink sticky notes.
S: I saw you talking to Eve before class
T: I can confirm that your eyes are working
S: I can't believe I used to think you were funny...soooo what's with Eve?
T: What do you mean? And you still think I'm funny don't lie
S: You have heart eyes for her. I can see it.
T: You can't prove that
S: Yes I can. You're face got red when you read that
T: Do you think it's weird that red and read are pronounced the exact same way?
S: You're dodging. I think it's weirder that read can be pronounced two different ways depending on the tense
T: Same with lead
S: You're not going to answer my question about Eve are you
She crumbled up the note and put it in her backpack after that, and a few minutes later the bell rang. As we walked out of class, I found myself alongside Eve with Sarah a few paces behind us. I started flirting with Eve (if that's what you can call it) because I don't know what else to do around her, and we were only fifteen feet outside of the classroom when Sarah brushed between us and walked quickly down the hallway.
It's interesting. The only difference between girlfriend and girl friend is a little space. I guess that's profound if you think about it. I sure didn't think about it until now, but had I known that one of us was beginning to breach the space between girl and friend, things could've turned out differently. Who knows, maybe they still can.