From the day we melt, Keanu and I have been close. Through our nearly two decades of friendship, we've not had a single argument or negative moment. We are nothing less than kind and respectful to one another.
It's an easy thing when you have a friend like him. Keanu treats me like a Princess every chance he gets. He gives me his jacket when he suspects I'm cold, despite his own sensitivity to the chilly weather. He pulls out my chair for me when I go to sit down. He even fills my empty plate with food for me, asks if I'd like seconds when I'm finished, then willingly fills it again. He's written and performed songs just for me. He truly takes care of me. He spoils me, that boy.
And he's had a crush on me since the day we met.
This is why I'm not afraid to say that I'm in love with him, too.
Why wouldn't I be? We've poured our hearts and souls to each other in our hundreds uponI hundreds of private messages.
We've slow danced at prom holding tightly to one another's hands. I'll never forget the moment my teacher, Miss Charles, saw us together. She flashed the biggest smile and gave me two thumbs up. I'll never forget the moment Keanu leaned in and whispered, "This is the best night of my life."
I'll always remember the last day we saw each other.
I remember him looking tired, weighed down, like something was troubling him, yet there he was with a smile on his face and his arms open. I smiled back and hugged him as I always did. Little did he know, I was dealing with some troubles myself. It had been weeks since my last eye surgery. My eyes were still healing at the time my sight had only gotten worse. Despite our troubles, we retreated to the piano. Music has always been central to our friendship.
After playing a few songs, we moved to the couch, where Keanu proceeded to tell me all that had happened to him in the past two years. When it came to the subject of his aunt, his voice broke. She had passed away in her home, and he was the one who found her. I held back my tears as I listened, my eyes flicking to his hand,resting on the cushion. I had never wanted to take his hand in mine so badly, but part of me said, "No. Let him talk. It isn't right to move or say a word."
So, I kept still. I kept my eyes on him as he spoke of the terrifying nightmares that followed the tragedy. He hadn't been eating well either, leaving his dinner plate full more often than not,. I wanted to cry, but stopped myself. Crying in front of him wasn't an option. It would've hurt him more. I had to stay strong.
His younger sisters were playing around us, running with the dog, laughing and squealing. As if they'd flipped a switch in him, Keanu tearfully told me, "I want to be stronger for my sisters. But I don't feel strong. Sometimes, I just feel like I'm nothing."
That was the moment I understood. He was the oldest of six children and the only boy. He already carried a lot of weight. The death of his aunt was his breaking point. I couldn't simply watch anymore. I took him into my arms, pulling him into one of the longest hugs we ever shared. That's when he broke down.
There is nothing more painful than hearing your best friend cry as you hold them in your arms.
He composed himself quickly; his effort, I assumed, to remain strong for me too. I rubbed his back, staying as quiet as I could as he talkied. I focused not on what he said. My desire at the moment wasn't to listen, but to comfort.
I did. I stayed with him until it was time to leave. He touched my face when he kissed my cheek goodbye. Or maybe it was my hair.
We texted for months after that. I took on the job of making sure he was okay, if he was sleeping and eating well. After that day, I realized we were more alike than we thought. We’re both experts at hiding our troubles from those we love most. We do it to protect them. Just like Avan in "Safe Now".
At times, it feels as though we have always been in one another's lives. We both have suffered much of the same childhood trauma, traumas that are far too sensitive and personal to mention here. In a way, that knowledge has only brought us closer.
Keanu, my sweet precious friend. I am so very lucky to have you in my life. I can only hope that our bond, our relationship, grows when we finally see each other again this coming May. I can only imagine your desire to take things slow in regards to dating will be more than worth it in the end.