i drew this entire thing twice.


It’s the most ironic thing. Before I even got to know you better, before we even became more comfortable around each other, I already knew so much about you. Things you probably wouldn’t have told me if we had met in other circumstances. But that’s the beautiful thing about online friendships—we could probe into each other’s minds without the slightest hesitation. After all, we were still practically strangers, weren’t we?

Early on, I discovered how similar you are to me. About how you had also left people before, people who could have been something more, just because you fell out of love. All of a sudden, without warning, the spark was gone. And somehow, much to your horror, you weren’t much bothered by the entire affair. Were you starting to be callous? Admitting something like this made you a bit nervous, until you learned that I had done exactly the same thing twice. We drew comfort from the parallelism. I thought that I could easily be one of those girls, but the very possibility made me laugh. That was the best thing about our friendship—there was no hinting at romance at all. There was no veering into dangerous territory. We were just two lonely people who wanted to talk to someone, anyone. If you had been another guy, perhaps I might have been terrified. What if I fell for you, what if you inevitably left me?

But you weren’t like that. That’s what made our companionship so safe and free. Because, at the very beginning, I had already dismissed the possibility of romance.

And so we could talk without reserve. I learned about how much you detested confessing to girls. About how much you preferred to do it indirectly, like inviting her to movies. After all, if you felt the same way, there wouldn’t be any need for words, would there? There would be a comprehension that was beyond words. I told you it made sense. But deep down, I thought how much precarious the situation would be for the girl. What if she was an over-thinker, what if she never knew where to draw the fine line between assuming and something that was actually there? Of course, once more, I waved aside these concerns. They weren’t my problems.

And then we got closer. In fact, we weren’t just friends floating in the cyberspace anymore—we already mustered the courage to meet each other. But hardly anything had changed. I know we could still talk about stuff like this so casually. After all, we were still in our safe zone. But somehow, I could sense something brewing in the undercurrents of our friendship. Or perhaps it was just me.

And then, for me, at least, things started taking on a different turn. Your messages, no matter how random or nonsensical, kept on bringing a smile to my face. Somehow I always felt so giddy when I was talking to you. I kept on checking my phone, wondering if you had already replied. Somehow, talking to you everyday had become a necessity, and it terrified me. It didn’t help that I started over-thinking—I was worried that your sudden silence meant I had offended you, that I had annoyed you, or that you were already starting to get tired of me. These moments killed me. It drove me crazy just thinking about them. This had already transformed into some kind of guessing game. I was aghast.

And then, one day, you offhandedly invited me to a movie. A part of me wanted to believe that this was just you being extremely nice, that this was nothing but a definite sign of our friendship. But another part of me kept on hoping that this was something more.

And I know that I have no choice but to keep on wondering. That I have to torture myself into formulating an answer to the question I know I can never ask.