Why I always realise my feelings too late.

To put things simply, I, dear readers, am a coward. This isn’t where you thought this article was going is it? Let me explain.

I always realise too late that I like people. Actually, one person in particular. He’s my best friend, and has been my best friend for nearly 8 years now, since we were 16 years old. I went to prom with him. We flirted, we’d say we liked each other, but “timing” was always off.

Timing was off? At 16? Really?

There was no such thing as timing. I was just too much of a coward to really admit to myself, and to him, how much I actually liked him. The thought of it overwhelmed me so much that I took the easy route out and dated someone else. I was a coward.

But I think my cowardice also deserves a defence. You see, I have never had body confidence. As a larger girl, I couldn’t possibly understand how a guy could really like me, not at my size. So I dated guys that I didn’t really like that much, because at least if they didn’t fancy me when they saw me undressed, it was an acceptable loss. With my best-friend, I couldn’t stand the idea of him getting that close and then turning away. So it was easier to make excuses than to tell him how I felt.

I grew up a bit, I went off to university, as did he. We dated other people, my relationship didn’t make it out of high school, his continued for a few years. I was jealous, but would never admit this, not to myself nor to him. I was supportive though, I listened to him moan for hours at a time about his long distance relationship. I counselled, consoled and advised. I was his best friend. And then they broke up. And my chance came. And I told him I didn’t want a long distance relationship. I did though, I really did, but I was too scared to tell him this.

And then he came to visit me for a few days in my second year of university. I had a king size bed at uni, so it made sense for us to share the bed. Innocently, for convenience sake.

And then he kissed me. Finally, 6 years later. We had two days of us, in a little bubble. It was almost, almost, like we were together. And then he left and we decided to keep it a secret. And we decided that long distance wouldn’t work. And that neither of us wanted that.

Except for I did, but I couldn’t tell him that. So I convinced myself that soon I’d be graduating and we’d both be back in the same town and then things could happen.

But he didn’t come back from university. He stayed, and then he moved to another city, far away again. I told myself I didn’t fancy him anymore, that I was over that. I was moving to the city and there would be plenty new men there. I’d loved a boy and now I needed to find a man. I went out, I joined dating apps, I flirted with ex’s and new people. I always found a reason why it wouldn’t work.

And then one drunken night we kissed, again. We were sat in a spare bed at our friends house. Innocently, with a few other friends, but one by one they left, and then it was just us again. Me and him. In a bed. Our vice. And he leaned in.

I pushed him away. I speeled off all this rubbish about how it wasn’t right, timing was off, and distance was wrong. (I think all he wanted was a bit of fun to be honest, but I staved him off still, because I couldn’t just have fun without it meaning more to me). That was the last time I saw him. The last time until yesterday.

He looked amazing. I haven’t said this yet, but I love this boy for a lot of reasons, but the way he looks had never really been one of those. He’s not ugly, far from it. He just wasn’t my ‘type’. But his everything else, his personality, his eyes, everything else about him was — is — just perfect to me.

I realised yesterday, whilst sat between him and my ex, that I truly love him. He is my best friend, and the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with. But I let him walk away again. I cannot face the possibility of rejection with him. I cannot let him not be in my life at all because he has been my foundation and I would crumble without him. So I keep him at arms length, my “best” friend.

He left the country today. He’s gone to Europe, and then will be going to the middle east, and he won’t be back for 3 months. It really isn’t too long, I know. But I should have said something. He is going to dangerous places, and he doesn’t know I love him. This isn’t the sort of conversation you can have over WhatsApp either.

I misled you with the title of this article. I don’t realise my feelings too late. I’ve always known I love him.

I just let fear win.

I can’t stand the idea of losing the best person I ever met, so I lie to him, and to me, everyday. I tell myself I don’t really love him, we just get with each other ‘because we can’. This isn’t true. I get with him because I’m drawn to him. Not like an opium, because he is more than that. He isn’t a drug that deceives and dulls your senses. He is sunshine and fresh air and sea breezes and all those other beautiful cliché things you can think of. And I don’t have him.

Maybe when he gets back I will tell him. I will stand face to face with him and tell him that I love him, and have done for a very long time. Maybe we will live happily ever after.

Although that probably won’t happen, because I am a coward, and he is too good to loose.