Jordan* and I grew up together. We were in the same enriched gifted classes and spent our childhoods making robots, acting in plays and doing sudokus together. I would come home to an arm full of pen tattoos that my Mom would scrub off - little drawings of birds, Jordan's favourite, or our initials, N&J, scrawled in hearts.
As much as I forget what I ate for breakfast or what I'm doing after work tomorrow, I'll always remember our first kiss. When we were 12, outside on her swing set. It was just so we both could say we did it, nothing more than that. At least not to Jordan. "We're best friends," Jordan she smirked, bumping into my shoulder.
We spent our high school years drinking warm beers on cool nights, biking to each other's houses to watch terrible 80's movies or make pizzas with way too much cheese on them. As the years dripped by, girls came in and out of my life, but no one ever came close to being what Jordan was to me.
None of my friends could understand why I'd spend so much time with a girl I wasn't dating or even fucking. They constantly called her a cock-block, or pussy repellent, saying that not one girl would get close to me while I was Instagramming, Snapchatting, and hanging out with Jordan all the time. People who didn't know us, thought we were together. And honestly, it felt great.
When I went away to college, I felt her absence more than anything. J went to school two hours away from my university - a huge change from our 20-minute commute from each other's houses. Even still, I would FaceTime her every couple of days to rant about family, my school stress, any random girl drama or personal doubts. She was always extremely patient and attentive, even if I was whining, irrational or lonely. I'd visit her every couple of months and she made her way to campus often enough that it didn't feel so distant.
When we were home for the summer, it was like nothing had changed. Jord and I would still make time for each other after work and on the weekends with our friends. The comments started pouring in more than ever - "Nick's dating that Jordan girl right?" "How long have you and Jordan been together?" "Oh, Nick's not your boyfriend, J?"
I didn't know how to handle it. I was definitely in love with her and there were plenty of times that I thought she was in love with me, too. When she missed her sorority's biggest party to come to my sister's dance recital. Buying me a vintage Lebron jersey for my birthday. Cuddling on the dock with me at my family cottage. In my mind, Jordan was the girl I was going to end up with. The girl I could see myself marrying. She was my future, even if she wasn't my present.
There was no reason why Jordan and I didn't start dating. Not a good one, anyways. Whenever she'd hint at making things more serious, I'd shut her down, saying that we were too good friends to fuck up our friendship. I loved her too much to lose her. I was scared. So was she. So we never did anything about it.
As time passed, Jordan started seeing someone seriously and our friendship became more and more painful. I had to watch her fall in love with someone else, knowing I let her slip right through my fingers. Jordan slowly stopped responding as quickly to my texts, snaps, and saw me less and less. We maybe grab drinks every couple of months if I'm lucky, to catch up and reminisce.
I still hope that Jordan and I will figure it out one day. Maybe when she breaks up with her boyfriend, we can finally give things a shot. But for now, she's happy. And I do love her. So I have to respect what she wants to do. I can't say I'm happy with the way that things played out, but that's just how it goes. I should've spoken up. I should've tried harder. I should've told the girl I loved that I loved her, when she loved me too.