Jess“So why don’t you leave him?”

“Because I love him!” she wailed, clutching the pillow angrily to her chest. “You wouldn’t understand. You don’t even have a boyfriend. You don’t know what love is…”

Her words echoed painfully in my ears.

“You don’t know what love is…”

I was used to Jess taking her frustration out on me, but that was a low blow even for her. We had known each other since kindergarten and we were more like sisters than friends. But sitting there on my bed, declaring love for some stupid boy who didn’t deserve her, and sniping at me… it was just too much.

“You want to know about love?” I said bitterly, barely able to choke the words out. “Let me tell you what I know… Love’s not hearts and flowers and candy kisses. And it’s not the butterflies in your stomach when he calls your name. Love hurts. It’s an ache inside. It’s a nagging pain that won’t go away. But it’s a pain you cling to because it’s all you know, and you’re frightened to lose it.”

I swallowed hard.

“Love is being your friend because I NEED to be near you, despite knowing that out-of-reach is the closest you will ever be…”

There was a lump in my throat and my voice trailed off into a whisper.

Jess stared at me, pale, expressionless and silent.

The secret I had been too afraid to give voice to was finally out.


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