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My Best Friend.
I know that you’re not supposed to be crying when you get off the phone with your best friend, but there I was, crying into my boyfriend’s chest.
After we both said good-bye to Melissa and told her we loved her, I pressed the little red ‘end’ button on the phone and stood, staring at the cement floor of my basement. I could feel the moisture building up behind my eyelids, and tried hard to not blink so it wouldn’t escape. Soon enough though, that turned out to just be another failed attempt, just like my attempt to console my hysterical best friend. I was wiping my eyes and hiding my quivering lip from Jason, who was standing next to me.
“Hey,” he says in that stupidly comforting voice of his. ”What’s wrong?”
I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t tell him that he was the reason behind my tears, the cause of my seemingly relentless pain. It would kill him. And if he changed, which he would for me, it would kill Melissa. She needs him. More than she needs me, anyway.
I just turned my body into his, my now drenched eyes and cheeks pressed below his collarbone. I could feel his hand moving slowly up and down my back, trying to sooth me.
He’s just too good at this.
“Come on babe, what’s wrong?” I finally look up at him. Although I’m still not ready to answer, I do my best anyway.
“I just hate how… how… She needs you more than she needs me. I can’t be there for her like you can. She’s my best friend, so I should be there for her, but I’m not. I hate it!”
This is the first time I’ve ever shared this with Jason. He looks really surprised and, just like I thought, really hurt. Not because I hurt him in any way, but because somehow he hurt me.
“That’s not true…” he tried to convince me.
“Yes. It is.” I argue back.
“If that was true, then why did she call your house?”
“Because she knew you were here! You heard her ask to talk to you. If I could have said what you said, she wouldn’t have needed you. But no, I didn’t say what you said. I just can’t help her the same way you can.”
“That’s not true.” he tries to say again, but can’t come up with a reason to support it. I start crying again at this point, and throw my arms around him. He hugs me back, kisses my head, and tries to calm me down again.
I look up at him again now. My voice is calmer and quieter, more ready to talk. I position myself in front of him, next to the dryer for a better effect.
“I don’t know why I’m upset. It’s for the best. You’re just so perfect and she really needs you. She deserves someone like you. I just wish that someone could be me sometimes.” A familiar looks spreads across his face. A look I usually get when I say things like ‘I’m not pretty’ or ‘These pants look so bad on me.’ A look that kind of means he thinks I’m crazy. Or stupid.
“I’m not anywhere near close to as perfect as you.” He says. I give him the look I give that means I don’t believe something like ‘Are you kidding, you’re gorgeous!’ or ‘I love those pants.’
“I’m serious. You’re a way better person than me.” I’m sure that if I could blush, I would have right here. “You would do anything for anyone.”
“Yeah… So would you.” My voice was so quiet, it was almost a squeak.
“No, I wouldn’t. Maybe for my friends, but not for anyone.” He would. Maybe he doesn’t know it, but I do. He would.
I figure out what he’s doing. Distracting me. I have to admit it is an easy thing to do, but doesn’t help much when I remember again.
“That doesn’t matter though. Melissa is the only one who matters. And I’m not good enough for her. She needs you, not me.” My voice starts to crack on the last sentence. The tears that had been trying so hard to stay back came flowing out all at once down my face.
With nothing else to say, Jason pulls me into his arms. I feel so good there. Like everything will sort itself out, and I will never be alone.
He says something again about it not being true, although the words are lost somewhere between his lips, my hair, and my ears. I pull out of the warm, safe place he has created for me and look up at him. I started to speak, hoping I wouldn’t be interrupted by my own sobs.
“She told me you’re her best friend. She tells me all the time and it hurts like crazy every time. I’m just there for when she wants to talk about clothes or make-up. She even comes to you for guy advice.”
“That’s because I’m a guy….” He says defeated. I ignore this.
“She doesn’t need me.”
I pull into him again. I think of Melissa. I think of her outgoingness. Her ability to take everyone by surprise. Her pretty spiky hair. Her amazing singing voice. Her beautiful eyes. Her forgiveness. Her model body. Her athletic talents. Her charisma. Her trusting nature. Everything.
Everything that I’m jealous of. Everything that makes her Melissa. I think, and I think hard, but I can’t find one thing I don’t love about her. She’s amazing and she really does deserve a best friend like Jason.
What I say next is something I had though long and hard about. I had spent many sleepless nights deciding that it had to be said. I had wanted to say it for a while, but hadn’t yet. Had I had a chance to? No. Was I scared to? Yep.
“Jason,” His beautiful green eyes almost shine at me. “No matter what, put Melissa first.” I was surprised at how steady my voice sounded. Jason, of course, was shocked. Guess I was just full of surprises that day.
“No. Babe, you know you come first. I love you and I will always do what you want first.” His voice sounded confidant, but his eyes were pleading.
“And no matter what, I want you to put her first. If it ever comes down to me or her, pick her. It’s what I want.” It was enough. He gave in.
“If that’s what you want.”
“It is what I want. I love her and that means I only want the best for her. If I can’t be there for her, you will be. Promise?” He nodded, completely aware of how serious I was.
With my tears all gone, I smiled up at him.
“Thank you.” I tell him. I don’t remember ever meaning a thank-you more than this one because to me, this is the best thing he will ever do for me. Better than watching chick flicks with me, better than taking care of my cat for a week, and better than buying me concert tickets for my birthday. This is better than all of that. All of that combined, even. Because no matter what, Melissa will be okay. She will have someone amazing to get her through everything she will have to face, with or without me.
She’s an amazing girl. She’s my best friend.