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As I lie in the grass and recall the events of the last few days, I wonder if I should have even gone over to James’s house that day. James is my best friend. We’ve known each other since grade school, and now we’re going to separate in a few weeks to go to different colleges. Ever since I met James I knew I’ve been in love with him, but I never told him, until a few days ago that it.
I always tried to tell myself I didn’t love him, but I always knew it was true. I remember the first day I met him. It was the middle of fourth grade. I sat at the lunch table, surrounded by a group of people who barely knew me. That’s when I saw him. Back then, he was just the dorky new kid. He sat alone at a broken and dirty lunch table. My eyes went around the table I was at. I realized that these people, they weren’t my friends. You should’ve seen James’s face light up when I sat with him. I never looked back.
From then on we were inseparable. We had the same classes, we always sat together at lunch, and went to the same high school. Of course we had our little arguments, but we always found our way back to each other. I remember our first serious fight, back in eighth grade. James got his first girlfriend that year. I was a wreck. We rarely got to hang out, and I was consumed with jealousy for his girlfriend, always wishing I was the one dating James. But they broke up, and everything was great again. We made up, but I still never told him I wanted to be more than friends. I was waiting for the perfect moment.
About four years later, that moment came. A walk to James’s house usually took me about ten minutes. This time it took me thirty. Every few minutes I would lose my nerve, and turn around. By the time I arrived at James’s house, I was shaking. My trembling hand knocked on the door. Lucky for me, James answered the door, and not his mother. I opened my mouth to say hi, and my feelings that I’ve kept bottled up over the past eight years came pouring out. All my thoughts, my hopes, and my dreams, were now out in the open, for anyone to hear. I felt exposed and bare. James stared at me in silence with his mouth hanging open, and I feared what he would say next.
“I don’t think about you that way, Val,” he finally managed. My heart sank, and I averted my eyes to the porch. This wasn’t the first time I’d been rejected, but this was the time that hurt the most. James tried to talk.
“Uh, do you want to come in?” he asked.
“I have to go,” I said. I rushed off toward my house, crying the whole way. I made it home in five minutes, a new record. Nobody seemed to notice when I dashed up stairs.
It was only three in the afternoon, but I cried myself to sleep right there. The ringing of the phone woke me up. My mom answered it. She called up to me, telling me it was James.
“Take a message!” I yelled back. Faintly, I could hear my mom jotting down a message from him. Then she came into my bedroom.
“Valerie, what’s going on?” she asked. I sat up and recounted the story tearfully to her. She hands a piece of paper to me. “He wants to talk to you.”
I read the message over until I could repeat it by heart. James says call him ASAP, it says. Everything around me faded away when I thought of James. As I turned my head to say something to my mom, I realized she was gone. I took my journal out from under my bed. Sometimes my journal is the one thing I can rely on. With my favorite pen in hand, I began to write.
Today went awful. I poured my heart out to James and he rejected me. I still want to savor our friendship, but I think it may be too late. It’s just I’ve loved him for so long, I can’t…
A realization struck me. I shouldn’t be writing this in my journal, I should be writing to James. I ripped a page out of one of my notebooks and began writing. It took me three tries to get everything just right, but after an hour I finally got it. I stuck the folded letter in my pocket. Casually, I walked to James house. My heart was beating out my chest the whole way. This time I never turned back. I stuck the note in the door and rang the bell. This time I wasn’t crying as I ran toward my house.
Now it is days later and I’m laying in the grass where James and I have hung out so many times before. I haven’t heard from him since. My hope for even friendship is gone. While deep in thought someone lays beside me.
“James!” I say as I see him.
“Hey,” he says. We both look at the clouds for a few minutes. James grabs my hand and my heart skips a beat.
“I have a confession to make,” he says. Neither of us make eye contact.
“You’re really going to clown college?” I ask bringing up an old inside joke we shared in sixth grade. He laughs the laugh I’ve grown to fall in love with over the years. It’s the kind of laugh that makes you laugh along.
“No,” he says. He has become serious again.
“Well what?” I ask.
“Remember when I said I didn’t like you like that?” he asks, but he doesn’t wait for a reply. “Well that was a lie. I really do like you Val, a lot.” Now we look at each other. In blue eyes I can see he really means it. He squeezes my hand a little tighter, and I squeeze back. We turn back and stare at the clouds. I hope he never lets go.