There’s normally a longer gap between posts but there’s just so much going on in my head at the mo, I need to get it all out.
My last post covered what happened at the conference. This one will cover what happened between me and Best Friend.
I’ve already talked about our odd kind of friendship and the weird tension that came up about a year ago. With sharing an office and planning the conference, we became even closer. We spoke every day, spent long days in each other’s company and began to function as one person.
In the run up to the conference, our nerves were frayed. Best Friend became distracted and agitated, he wasn’t eating well and his behaviour was quite manic. I looked after him. The same way he tries to take care of me when I’m not well.
In the confines of our tiny little office, Best Friend was touchy feely, often giving me hugs and putting his arm around me. Around others, we didn’t physically touch but there was a constant closeness, in our instinctively doing something together or in our bickering like an old, married couple. When I came back from sick leave, he kissed me on the cheek. Something which has never happened before.
I admit that I loved these little signs of affection. I’ve often felt like our friendship meant more to me than to him. He would never say I’m his best friend but everyone knows that I am. The fact that he instigated the little hugs and holding hands, while weird given how socially awkward he is, made my day that he was trying to show me how much he cares.
And so we get to the weekend.
On Friday, he kept disappearing and returning to the office to give me a cuddle. At one point, we were sitting in our chairs and he went to pat my arm, missed and got my boob instead. To my utter bemusement, he then made a joke about it. A few hours later, I had changed into a dress for the wine reception and was worried about how big my chest seemed in it. I kept trying to smooth it down while he talked to me. In the end, I asked him if my bra was visible, which really just gave him an excuse to stare at my chest for a while. Voicing my concerns that I looked trampy, he said ‘the trampier the better’…
I didn’t see him much on Saturday and ended up at the opposite end of the dinner. He had dressed up in a suit and made his speech of thank yous. I already suspected I might cry, it just seemed to be the mood I was in. After his speech, the tears started to prickle. I made it through the keynote address, sniffing silently at the table. When that was over, I noticed BF make his way to my table. I fled.
I stayed in the toilets for fifteen minutes until Caroline came looking for me. Sobbing onto her shoulder, everything came pouring out. I heard myself blurt out the words I didn’t want to say ‘I think I have feelings for him.’
By the time dessert was over, I had pulled myself together and was mingling like a pro. It would’ve been bad if I had ignored BF so I made sure I spoke to him, even posing for photographs. His arm instantly went around me, the first time he’d showed any sign of affection in public. Later on, he walked Caroline and I back to my car and it was my turn to surprise him with a peck on the cheek.
I dreaded coming into the office on Monday. Would things go back to the way they were before? Would the little cuddles disappear now that we had nothing to stress over? How would I act around him?
He demanded we talk about Saturday. He, it transpired, was hurt that I didn’t come and sit beside him at the dinner. Both of us expecting the other to be a mind-reader. In that way he has of thinking everything is his fault, he was convinced he had done something to upset me but couldn’t work out what it was. I tried my best to avoid talking about it, not trusting myself. Eventually, I had to tell him that I had been a little hurt by his generalisation of what I did. It was immediately obvious that he had no idea it would come across that way, he thought he was being nice.
After processing for a while in silence, he took my hand and looked me straight in the eye. He told me that he would never do anything to hurt me, he never wanted to hurt me. We’d never spoken like this before, holding each other’s gazes in the most intense few seconds of my life. Like last year, I briefly wondered if we would kiss. Unlike last year, the thought didn’t terrify me and I didn’t do anything to stop what might happen. We could easily have kissed at that moment. But we didn’t. He put his arm around me, pulling me into him, pushing my head onto his chest. He used his other arm to wrap mine across his stomach and then he just held me there, his head on top of mine, my ear listening to his heartbeat.
Everything has changed.