The words came out as easily and as casually as if I were replying to a stranger who had just asked for the time. Oh yeah — it’s about 8:30.
Nope. I had just told Jake that I loved him.
To me, that’s what his old work place of two years will always be. It will be the place where I left Jake with tears in my eyes because I was so scared I had ruined something that was so far so good. It will be the place where I, for some reason, ended up being in one of the most vulnerable positions of my life, and ended up crying on a bus home.
Jake just finished his last day working there recently. And while it’s sad to say goodbye to a place that holds such a memory, it’s good because it’s a step in the right direction. A step to greater financial freedom, a step toward a new career, and a step to a better life.
The day I told Jake I loved him was first time I visited him during his lunch break. We had recently become official after being friends for two years. We held hands as we walked to his car and drove over to Pancakes & Waffles (a decent place I should do a review on — expect one).
Once lunch was over, we drove back and he and I stood outside his store, knowing it was time to say goodbye. I remember him kissing me and feeling like I was in middle school. Then he said bye, and I said it too, followed by the L-word.
…which in turn was followed by my own out-loud exclamation of holy shit!
He was smiling. And laughing. Despite these two emotions that would signal a normal person to feel accepted, I still felt the deep pain of vulnerability and worry of nonreciprocal feelings.
He simply said Love you, too. Now get out of here.
There wasn’t enough time for me to process what he had just said and the quick peck on the lips he gave me after because I was already gone. Mentally and physically, I darted. I had never said that to anyone before.
I still remember getting that call after his shift was done. I could hear him smiling on the other end, and I finally had confirmation that everything was okay. So…what did you say to me earlier today?
He wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a reflex. And it wasn’t. It took me two years to realize I had fallen in love with my best friend — and I just didn’t need to wait anymore to tell him.