Prompt: Does your best friend know you?
sometimes i think i’m desensitized to us. to all our hangouts—how i laugh whenever you laugh, laugh when you don’t laugh, laugh laugh laugh like this is the best time i’ve ever had, and sometimes i believe in it. i believe in me, that if i smile so much, we must be best buddies and i must love you and all the toxic things you do that make me die with that’s so funny. sometimes i wonder, what would happen if you realized the resentment, the sadness i feel when we part? it’s like using ecstasy and then realizing all your serotonin’s depleted after the high and you have nothing left but a shallow basin of disgust. it’s like drinking honey-wine that flavors my lips and remembering how much nonsense i hear from yours but drinking more and more anyway to drown it all out. i see the best friends online, poetic in their closeness, ruby-red smiles and inside jokes saying look, we love each other. i think i might love the idea of you, of a best friend who i can flock to, who will sit next to me on two-seater rollercoasters and match coquette outfits. but after a while i realized we don’t really slot together, that i maybe don’t like you more than i like anyone else, that if i didn’t know you for so long i might like you worse. i wish i weren’t so scared of you and what you say. i wish i didn’t grow bitter like grapefruit in the time we’re gone, think of all the things i would say to you—you’re toxic, you’re shallow, you’re silly—and rehearse them in the mirror on a bathroom break before returning to the movie theater and sliding back into loving you again. i can’t hurt you because i’m not that brave. i can’t hurt you because maybe it’s not your fault, it’s mine that i can’t love you for your mean parts like other people can, that i can’t forgive the sins that everyone makes, that i call things sins when maybe they are just the fun petty parts of being a teenager. i can’t hurt you because then i would lose the image of you, the polished girl best friend i’ve known since elementary school whose mom knows my mom and shares a starbucks order with me every week. i’m sure you’ve grown bored of me, realizing the words flow less and less, that we only hang out when other people are around. and if i act this way with my amazing and snarky girl best friend, how boring am i? without you to make me interesting, who am i? do i have any merit other than that i can lend a page of homework answers? i’m so afraid. of me, of you, of how we never change. flies caught in amber, immortalized for so long that our panic is the new normal. i say things i don’t mean, that i wish i had more classes with you even though you take all my work and call it your own in the name of friendship, that you should come over to my house because you begged even though having visitors over makes me sick with anxiety, that lunchtimes are fun even as i measure every one of our seconds with the density of conversation and how much i’m losing you. i’m sure you don’t want to be here either, that you lie through your pretty teeth. laugh when you don’t want to laugh. eye other people and other girl best friends as we sit in our tight-knit two-seater formation. i’m sickening, we’re sickening, we both know it, but words that truly mean something never make it out of our honey-wine mouths.