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The Lover and the Beloved

i. In every friendship, there’s a person who’s the lover, and one who’s the beloved. There isn’t anything bad to say about either of them, nor am I going to stereotype them. All I mean to say is, you know which one you are.

ii. My best friend and I met when we were seven. We had the same names, and we couldn’t think of anything that was funnier than that at the time. We were attached to the hip at school, and drove our mothers crazy at home by never letting go of their phones to talk to each other.

iii. When we were ten, I realised that most of my friends were her friends, but her friends weren’t mine. I realised that in birthday parties, whenever I cut the cake I called her to the front to cut it with me. On her birthdays, she laughed, her skin basking in the glow of compliments and attention, and sliced small pieces, offering it to people near her. I remained in the back, quiet, free of the shoves of children but also the love of my best friend.

iv. People say that no one ever wants to be loved, they want to be in love. I think that after a certain amount of time even loving gets exhausting if you aren’t loved too.

v. By the age of thirteen, everyone was getting crushes or getting crushed upon. One day, our only guy friend pulled me apart from the class, and told me he liked someone. My heart started beating irrhythmically, waiting and already regretting what he was going to say. He asked me whether I would help him get his girl. I urged him to tell me who it was. He blushed, sighed, and said my name.

vi. What I didn’t remember in the loudness of my heartbeats was that it was her name too.

vii. Many boys, since then, have asked me what my best friend’s ideal date and favourite movie is. They are ready to do whatever it takes to get her. I never tell them the truth because none of them deserve being with her.

viii. Maybe, though, it is for another reason also.

ix. Maybe, I am simply scared that when the right person comes along, I will go from being the lover to the bystander. (And she will always be loved.)

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