“I don’t understand.” I say softly, staring at the picture on my phone. “I have known Aaron for eleven years and I never once saw him as more than a friend. Why now?”
Shay giggles. I snap my head in her direction. She’s grinning like a maniac. I narrow my eyes at her. Her hands fly up in defence.
“Hey calm your tits babe.” Shaking her head, she blows a bubble with her gum til it pops. I flinch.
“Alright look, we fall in love with the person we least expect, a person we may have dismissed before, a person we loved but didn’t understand that love and sometimes we don’t realise the depth of that love until it’s too late to confess how we truly feel.”
Sighing I look back at my phone, willing for it to light up with a message from him but it doesn’t. She’s right, of course she’s right but that doesn’t mean I understand it any better.
Shay clicks her fingers together in front of my face. “Hey I’m not finished.”
I look at her and laugh. “Go on then.”
Shay rubs her hands together excitedly, “sometimes we aren’t brave enough to love the person we love because we feel that they deserve better. In a way babe, hiding those real feelings could be seen as a selfless act but who are you really protecting? Yourself or the person that you’re currently claiming to love? Have you even told him how you felt?”
I shake my head. I can’t tell him, telling him could ruin our friendship and I wasn’t prepared to lose him. If I had to choose between our friendship and risking it to love him? I will always choose our friendship.
“He’s my best friend, we’re there for each other through thick and thin.” I finally say. “Through every happy times and through all the heartbreak.”
“Liz, you and Aaron have barely been able to keep a relationship with anyone since you first met. Have you noticed that?” she asks and again I shake my head.
I never noticed. I just always thought that the breakups were because of incompatibility. Thinking back now, most of my boyfriends were jealous of Aaron and vice versa. I furrow my brows.
“By hiding the love you feel for him, you’re only breaking your own heart and robbing yourself of happiness that may or may not last a lifetime.
I stare at her, confused. I tilt my head to the right. “I never said anything about love…”
Shay smiles again, girl you didn’t have to, it’s written all over your face.”
Shaking my head in disbelief, I stare at my phone again. He still hasn’t messaged me but I know better than to expect him to, at least I think I know better.
“Look, what I’m trying to say is, love is a risk worth taking, have the courage to take it with both hands. Take it from someone who knows.” She looks down at her engagement ring and smiles.
Her fiancé is my big brother, we all grew up together. Shay lived next door to us all our lives, one day she tells me that she had feelings for him and I encouraged her to run like the wind. She didn’t listen to me and good thing she didn’t because a year later he had gotten down on one knee and proposed to his own surprise birthday party. The family and I couldn’t have been happier with the woman he had finally chosen to spend the rest of his life with.
Shay grabs my hand and squeezes it tightly. I smile in return.
“Life’s too short for ‘what ifs’.”