He was sleeping in the floor of the hotel because there weren’t enough beds.  The sun was flooding in under the blackout curtain, falling on his face.  His hair seemed lighter than usual, almost blonde, despite what hair he has usually being brown.  His face wasn’t tight at all, it seemed relaxed and almost a slight smile on his lips.  He was bundled up because he was in front of the air conditioner, but his toes stuck out the bottom of the covers and fidgeted a little.  I was coming back from the bathroom, trying not to wake anyone up, but I felt a pang in my stomach and almost wanted to touch his peaceful, sleeping face.

It wasn’t a child.  It was The Friend.  And he seemed so peaceful, so happy, so beautiful.  And I wondered how I could ever be mad at such a vulnerable, almost child-like boy.  I felt sorry for him, almost.  Sorry for everything that had happened up until that point and sorry for everything I had done to cause pain in him, ever.  I don’t know why, but it struck me and the words tumbled out of my mouth.  “Everything on you is perfect, from the bottom to the top.” He stirred, but went back to sleep.  I got in my bed and watched him for a while.  Lately he’s moaned a little in his sleep.  My mom noticed too, when he slept over on Christmas.  That day he told me he woke up from a bad dream and was relieved to find that he was at my parents’ house.

But 12 hours later, after a marathon car ride, I was struck for the 100th time of being ignored in lieu of a phone, of seeing his favoriting of some blonde girl’s tweets, of him having 100s of girls like his Facebook statuses.  And I just sank into my seat.  “Maybe I’ll just go home” I told him.  Home home.  Parents home.  My threat when life is too real in our house and I can’t deal anymore.

As per usual, he never fights back.  Never asks me to stay.  Just tells me to quit bullshitting him and go.  This is us.  We teeter between hugging and hitting.  Between cuddling and cussing.  Sometimes, I say, if you were a little nicer..

But the fundamental problem is that he doesn’t think he’s unkind to me.  Doesn’t think I should have a claim on what goes on with him.  Doesn’t think it’s unfair to ask me to be a friend but still kiss me on the cheek and rub the small of my back.

So I opened my mouth and said “What I want in life can’t come to me with you in it.”

I want a companion.  I want children.  I was a life to share.  I want more than just the pain and struggle it is daily to try to figure out what’s going on the the head of The Friend.  But who’s going to date me with a best friend who lays on top of me to ask me how my day was, or who I can’t stand not talking to?  Nobody.  What I want can’t come to me. I can’t look for it fairly.  It’s a huge step for me to even realize that I can’t have that with The Friend. It’s earth shattering and heartbreaking to realize that I can’t have it with him even around.

The trip ended and as usual I waited for one last “please don’t go” plea, but it didn’t come.  And when it didn’t, I opened my mouth and called him a word I’ve never said before.

It was so odd for me to say this slur, that I felt it come out and wondered if I had even said it properly.  But the look on my face told me I had.  I felt my face go numb, my tongue draw up in my mouth.

The details of the ugly fight aren’t that important.  I just know…this is where that chapter ends.

Because of my selfishness.