Where in the Hell did you come from?

So often, I pause and think how in the hell did this happen to me? And you’re going to think it’s me complaining, being a hot head, or venting about something that frustrates me with you. And that would all be fair. I am a hot head and I do get really, really, really frustrated with you. It bears repeating. You really, really, really get under my skin. More than I think I ever have with anybody who I actually liked as a human being.

But nope. You’re wrong. It’s in those simple, quiet moments that you don’t think matter, that you don’t expect joy to creep up on you, that I just have to take a step back because what I have is imperfect, yes, and really challenging but it is all of the best things that I thought were unrealistic in a relationship. A relationship has never stayed this new for me. There are some things that get really old really fast and I think they just make me realize that they get old because they are the same issues manifesting themselves when we don’t address them. But I have the best of both worlds right now in that I look at a picture of you or a text you send me and my heart just feels like it pops, and yet I have that comfort and intimate friendship that takes longer to develop.

You are a challenge for me. On the daily. I didn’t like you when we first met, as you know, and it was a challenge to learn to like you. Then I learned to respect you and like you as an individual. Over time you became a friend, then a best friend, and way further into knowing you than you would ever expect, it finally dawned on me what was there. It’s like it just pulled up matter-of-factly in a cab one day, got out with its suitcase, walked into my life and unpacked like it had been there all along. I’d been so incredibly proud of how platonic and balanced our friendship was, that we were the example of a man and woman being friends with absolutely no doubt or romantic interest. Our chemistry was what I thought was the best kind to have, buddies who could work together on projects, balance one another, argue and push one another, but absolutely just kill it. My greatest fear in our friendship was that it would change, not in the way that it has but that it would drift away. So when this happened, when one day in the middle of a joke I suddenly sensed a question mark somewhere in my mind, it was really disorienting. It was the first time in my life that the expression I had to stop and put my head between my knees or I was going to vomit was actually physically and concretely true. I didn’t care how it looked. I suddenly got that random, off-balance feeling you get when turn in too many circles way too fast and stopping realize you’re going to fall over and crack your head open if you don’t sit down. It wasn’t a cliche emotional epiphany punctuating this culturally overrated storybook formula. If anything, the small part of my mind that could think outside of focusing on keeping my feet rooted to the floor and my head above my feet, took it as a sense of foreboding that moment was anything but idyllic and something had been so permanently changed I would find it had been lost rather than another thing gained.

But now, regardless of anything, as a best friend alone I don’t think I could love you more. And in spite of all of that, you are a challenge for me almost every moment of every day. Sometimes it’s a frustrating challenge, a decent amount of the time. Others, it’s the same way you challenged me as a friend, pushing me to be a better version of myself every time I get somewhere I think I have it figured out. Now it is where I could be a better partner. And as frustrating as that is–and as much as I will be willing to vehemently swear you’re wrong to my last breath–I become a better friend, person and version of myself every day you are in my life.

You are one of the most ideal things that has ever happened to me without the disgusting cliche of being perfect. I guess that’s probably one of my secret reasons for complaining sometimes; because perfect is so artificial and gross to me, I feel better when remembering it is flawed but genuine. Somehow in so many ways you’re everything I didn’t have in my mind for this formulaic, color-in-the-numbers life but you’re also everything that, if I had believed I could have it, I would have wanted in somebody I could be with. And I would have never guessed, even in all the years I knew you before this, that it would have been you. Truth be told, I’d have bet on the majority of people before you and somehow that longtime platonic buffer built the sort of bond strong enough it didn’t need more than friendship and is more durable because of it. In spite of all of the frustration and as much as I dug my feet in and refused to humor this question I suddenly felt compelled to ask myself, you’ve made what it means to have a “person” come to life and take meaning for me.

I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I am a hothead–sorry to say, we’re both probably stuck with that. I definitely have my protective shell. My bark is louder than my bite. All of those things. But I’m really fortunate you’ve been patient enough to give me the room to grow into some of the challenges of our friendship and subsequent something else because for the first time ever, I feel as if something really extraordinary and powerful could happen in my life. Just like I hate admitting you’re funny, I’ve never liked admitting to people that I like you. Although it was clear we were good friends, the warmest acknowledge of that anybody would see was that I was willing to tolerate you for an indefinite amount of time. Ever since that I’m gonna pass out or puke moment, it has become annoyingly clear I like you so much that, if I had to choose between you and a glass (actual glass) of iced, cold fountain Coke, I would almost stop to think about picking you.

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