I met my best friend Andy in our first semester in college. It wasn't exactly like at first sight. We were groupmates in Biology class for our laboratory experiments. Oftentimes, we fought about how we should go about our lessons and how our post-lab reports should be. But I can clearly remember when we exactly started getting along.
It was during a big experiment the class had, and we didn't have a choice but to stay up late preparing and cooperating with each other. Since we were the ones who had free hours to spend in the lab, we were together reviewing the results and the experiments together. While waiting, we found ourselves talking and talking and talking about anything and everything—music, movies, TV series, football (which I really didn't like), and France (both our dream destination).
We got closer even if that semester was over. He was always there whenever I felt like dying adjusting to college. I was also there whenever he needed someone to accompany him to coffee shops to finish his papers and his readings. Then one day, it just happened.
I got so scared when I realized that things have changed. I didn't know what to do and how to process everything. My heart beat fast whenever we crossed the road and he held my wrist or wrapped his arm around my shoulder. But above all, I was scared. I was scared because I didn't know if he felt that way, too. I started to spend less time with him, started to drift away just to keep myself safe.
After a few weeks, he noticed and I ran out of excuses. We talked about the distance between us at our favorite coffee shop. I didn't exactly tell him how I felt; he just knew. He knew me too well he was able to figure it out on his own. The thing is, instead of talking about how he felt, he said he'll try to figure things out first. He tried to figure out how he felt about me exactly for more than a year—while he acted sweeter and sweeter, more than my best friend, which got me really confused and hurt and angry at him.
But they say you can't pick who you love. Things just happen. One moment, he's your best friend and the next, he's the love of your life.
The first person who said that must have been in love with her own best friend or something. I got tired of waiting for him to figure things out eventually. A few days before confronting him about our situation, I found out he got himself a new girlfriend—and he didn't even tell me. You could just imagine the horror and the heartbreak.
I stopped talking to him the moment I found out. I didn't give him an explanation because it looked like he didn't need one. He was too happy. I took a different route to and from school. I made sure I didn't pass by his college or took classes at odd hours just so I won't see his face. A lot of adjustments had to be made so I can get on with my life without ruining my studies. My other friends helped me cope, brought me out a lot, made sure I did my homework and projects, and checked on me every now and then.
Just a few months before graduation, he reached out and talked to me after a long time. I was scared at first because I might break down the moment I see him again. I was scared that my feelings for him would come back.
When he rejected me, I didn't only lose the love of my life; I also lost my best friend.
But the moment I saw him, I knew it was going to be okay. I realized that our friendship outweighs whatever it was I had with him. He apologized for breaking my heart and leading me on. I apologized for even thinking we could end up together. We spent a few more hours catching up, and we even messaged each other once we arrived home.
Today, a few years after the incident, we're still good friends. He's had a few girlfriends since and I had a few heartbreaks, too. We still go out on friendly dates, but we now know our boundaries—and we stay off each other's love lives as much as possible, unless it's really necessary. We know we're better off as best friends than anything more than that.
The thing is, even when your attempt at love with your best friend fails, your friendship with them will survive and will live through. You've seen them at their best and at their worst, and you wouldn't want to cause them pain. You will always want the best for them, nothing less, even if it's just as a best friend.
This story originally appeared on Candymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.