To my before anyone else.

You were my first kiss, my first everything.

I loved you then, but I was too young, too immature to know what it was, what it meant.

I didn’t even know I was in love with you for a long time. But I can remember the night I realised it.

It was the night I bought my gaming chair, do you remember it?

I had vastly underestimated how big this box would be. Thinking I could wheel it in the buggy to the bus stop. Boy was I wrong. It was huge and wouldn’t fit anyway I tried to balance it. There was no way I could have carried it to the bus stop either. I could barely get my arms to stretch as wide as the box.

So I called you.

You had been working all day, the weather was brutal and the roads slightly iced, snow threatened in the clouds. And yet you came. You came and put the chair in your car and brought me home. Then carried it the two flights, refusing my help, to my room in the attic.

The room needed to be moved around though, so we moved it. Having to literally take apart my bed to put it in the other side of the room, because the chimney and the roof angle wouldn’t allow it any other way. Spending forever setting up what was now my gaming room. To a gamer, it was beautiful.

The snow that had been threatening had started to fall while we were busy and it was quickly decided you were not driving home that night. So you stayed. For the first time since we were kids you had a sleepover with me.

It wasn’t the first time we had been together. But there was something different this time. Something so much more intense than I’ve ever felt before.

Staring into your deep brown eyes after, watching you, watching me. I realised it. It was like a switch went off in my head and someone opened a door to what had been staring me in the face for years. I was in love with you. Plain, simple and true. I was in love with my best friend and I could see how happy we could be. All I had to do was say it out loud…

But I couldn’t. I was terrified. I couldn’t lose you. And by admitting my epiphany to you I would have ran the risk.

I tried to tell you, but each time my brain would stop me and my words would fail me, for the fear that my feelings weren’t reciprocated. And that for you, it was just physical.

We had been pinging of each other for years. Always somehow ending up coming back to the other one.

It wasn’t official though. We weren’t together in the traditional sense of the word. We had a beautiful friendship first and foremost. And I didn’t ever want to lose that. So I kept it quiet, nothing changed, we were still friends. That had never changed once in all the years we had known each other.

I can remember the night I finally got the courage. I was in another friend’s and my mind was plagued with thoughts of you.

My thoughts on a loop, screaming at me to tell you. To take the risk. Before it was too late and you found someone else.

After some amount of time, and some Dutch courage if I’m totally honest. I decided I was going to tell you. But it had to be now. That night. While I had the courage to gamble my heart.

So I made my way to your place.

You were home. No surprise there.

The surprise was the other person in the living room with you.

As soon as I walked into the room, I knew I was too late. She was so pretty, so beautiful. Your face when you looked at her said it all.

You had had girlfriends in the past, I had had boyfriends. But I couldn’t watch it this time. I couldn’t sit back and witness someone else make you smile like that. Make your eyes darken with desire like that.

But I couldn’t just disappear from your life. We had been friends for years, since primary school. We had always been in each other’s lives from the day we met. How could I just not be around anymore and not raise questions.

I wanted you to be happy, even if it meant being happy with someone else. But I couldn’t be around for it.

So I started a fight.

Our very first fight in all our time knowing each other. We had never had a fight before, ever. But I knew it was the only way. For you to not want me around anymore. That was the only way I was going to be able to make myself stay away from you.

It worked.

You didn’t want me around after that. I can’t blame you, I hated me for it too. I’m not one of life’s fighters. It didn’t come naturally.

That was nearly ten years ago now.

And somehow, your back in my life. Living in different countries, our lives having taken us on very different paths.

But the connection is still there. Still as strong. The flame still burns, having only been hidden away, never extinguished.

What I once only cautiously allowed myself to daydream about, has become a possible path in the cross roads of my life.

I wasn’t too late, I was too early.

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