The word ‘friend’ is a noun, easily searched up in any dictionary, existing effortlessly in mostly everyone’s vocabulary. It is defined as a person whom one knows, likes and is acquainted to, a person who gives assistance and support, a person who is on good terms with another and finally, and perhaps least important of all, a fellow member of the same nation, party, etcetera. Upon further research, the word ‘friend’ yields far more meaning than the dictionary has given it.
Generally, people categorize friends as a person whom one knows, likes and is well acquainted with. I met Darwin at the end of my second year of high school and I would never have said then that she was a friend of mine. An acquaintance, definitely, someone whom I have shared but one very short and inconsequential conversation with; whatever I chose to call her, she wasn’t my friend. Friends talk to each other more than in passing, conversations that consisted of more than just asking for the time or a chaste wave ‘hello’ as our paths crossed.
Friends were people you like. I don’t know when it happened but one day in later March of the next year, I had somehow progressed from just being a mere acquaintance of Darwin’s to being an actual friend of hers. We don’t talk much outside of our group of friends and the one time we were left alone to entertain each other with our own ideas of conversations, it didn’t turn out too well. I had panicked; both of us rejoined the group as soon as was socially acceptable.
I encountered a rather uncomfortable situation in late March, 2010. Falling in love with a friend wasn’t something I had specifically jotted down on my New Year’s Resolution list. It came as more of a shock to me than anything. I wanted to be her friend, sure, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever consider even for a second that I might actually want our friendship to go beyond that. I don’t think I ever started liking her until the end of the year, during the waning stages of my short-lived crush, when she was the pillar that kept me standing while everything around me was a mess. My relationship with my parents, my grades, my other friends; all through everything that went on in my life that year, she kept the ground steady so that I could still walk straight, walk tall.
I fell out of love with her little by little every day we spend together, and fell more and more with her as a friend. That was the point when I realized that, yes, I actually did like her, despite our differences, despite our similarities and despite the fact that I was honest to God in love with her for the first few months of our tentative friendship.
I’ll be forever grateful for that, though – falling for her. Regardless of all the heartbreak I had to endure, it was worth it, because without falling for her, I never would have gotten to know her and without knowing her, I would never have liked her. One of my favorite things about our friendship is the fact that it was one of the most natural friendships I have ever been a part of. There was nothing forced between us, nothing rushed. We set our own pace and even though I considered falling in love a small bump in the road, we came out on the other end of the tunnel as close as two people could be.
I love her. As a friend.
More to come, just you wait.