She was perfect.

She had always been perfect.

As far as he knows she still is. He still remembers her that way...

He thinks of her often and really he'd be a fool not to. They grew up together, they have history. The kind you can't fake or buy. She had cried on his shoulder and he had broken on her like the waves on the cliffs. Still to this day one of the only people he's ever broken like that in front of. Bonds like that, once forged, can't be taken, but they can be lost.

Now, sometimes, when he thinks of her that's how he does, his lost best friend from years past. The first girl he ever loved, the first real friend he was stupid enough to let leave his life without a fight. If he's honest with himself then he must admit that he all but pushed her away.

We were goofy kids together. I met her in Middle School and was almost instantly smitten. She said no and I didn't care we became friends instead, fast friends.

She'd come over to visit and we'd work on projects for school together. I laugh now to think how accident prone we both were. I actually had a helmet set aside for her visits because she hit her head sooooo many times. If you ever read this I know you'll laugh right now because you'll remember, but because I let you walk away and only said goodbye you may never see this.

But now is the time for looking back...

We'd go out to see movies or wrestle around my room and try and kill each other. She was always such a tomboy and from what I've seen she has grown to be an exceptionally tough woman. Most importantly to me I loved her with every bit I had to love someone at that age. She dated a couple of my friends and she was never my girl, but she was always 'my girl'. For a long time I convinced myself I was just biding my time, waiting for the right moment.

She and I would go to the movies and run all over town in the dark. We pissed her dad off something fierce and I don't think that he ever really forgave me. We looked all night for a moon that was never coming and doing these crazy things with you only made me feel closer to her. I knew I couldn't have her, but I told myself it just didn't matter, that didn't mean that I couldn't love her.

You'd smile now, probably think I was a little crazy to be interested in you back then but really I had no defense against you at all. If you had been at all weak like me and stayed in our hometown, and I hadn't gotten married to the love of my life, I might still be head over heels for you kiddo, but you were always too strong for that. I always knew you'd go somewhere and so you have...

He thinks back, not quite so far this time, high school, freshman year maybe? He remembers that the time was making her even more beautiful and that it was giving him more restraint. The way he remembers it she probably didn't even realize he still felt a great affection for her, that might not be the way it went down, but that's his story and he's sticking to it. He remembers she inadvertently started a game between me and him that would spend the next six years playing itself out, and he wonders if she even realized what she was starting. Probably not, he certainly didn't realize it..

She'd still work with me and we still had a great time together. We had a couple classes together but my eyes had started to wander. I knew that she was the perfect woman, she just always seemed to think she was perfect for somebody else. I decided that it was OK. I had so many things going on that year I can hardly even remember it. Besides she and I were still together most days, I still got to keep her and what I had discovered about her was that I had a place in her life that had lasted longer than any boyfriends. I was her brother and in that role I was unique. In some ways I don't think anybody ever got closer and in some ways I know that there's no one I've ever been as close to.

Then life turned upside down. The band broke up, and suddenly I lost my other friends. I seem to remember shutting you out the rest of the year and that summer, it wasn't fair, after all it wasn't your fault, you'd done nothing wrong, but it's a long-held tradition of mine to take out my frustration on the people I love.

Another few months of silence ticked by and then the next year started and he saw something he'd never seen before. She was more beautiful than anything, the trouble was 'she' was another she entirely and he was utterly taken at first glance.

Of course in sophomore year there came the ultimate three year distraction that took my attention away from her for all that time, yet oddly enough it would be the ending of this massive distraction that would bring us back together.

The time passes and the distraction ends, in fact the distraction decides to leave me for him, him that you'd left your mark on so many years prior. Everybody knew I was your friend, and that he was off limits. Still, Red was silly enough to think that she could get away with switching up. Red always did focus too much on what she wanted and not what was feasible.

You came to me when I needed you and I broke all over you. It just so happened that we had had a fairly largish argument just prior to your coming over and I think the look on your face when you saw me said everything. I knew I could trust you with the secret and so I broke, I broke in a way that I'd only ever done alone, with you as the sole witness and so moved were you by my confessions that you began to tell secrets of your own.

I told you that you were beautiful, that I loved you still and always would. You told me that I was a good guy and that I shouldn't let people hurt me like I always do. I told you that I didn't want to be the 'good guy' anymore and after eight years (on and off) of chasing, you looked at me and told me that just this once, I could catch you.

I tried to catch you, too, I really did. Something about that moment though phased me and for some reason I found myself unable to do anything besides touch you, tell you how much I loved and wanted you, and take you home. I'd like to say that it was respect that kept me from doing anything more but in all reality it was probably far more disrespectful for me to start something that I couldn't finish. I'd like to be able to claim nobility kept me from desecrating our friendship by letting things get physical, but I destroyed any claim to that the moment I kissed you.

It was just fear. More than anything that day I was vulnerable, more exposed than I had ever let myself be in front of anyone and in the end I was afraid that you would accept my love today and reject it tomorrow. I was a fool...

You had already seen me stripped bare of all pretense, pride, and dignity. You'd looked and in your way told me that you didn't care, that I was still, even in my pain and pathetic state, in your heart. I can only hope that you forgave me for refusing the gift offered.

Every so often he remembers the stolen kisses and remembers that after they touched things were just a little different. Not worse, just that there was the distance of almost knowing between him and her. He's very sure that even just the kiss probably didn't mean the same thing to her as it did to him but they never really speak of it. Words prove useless and over time they slowly but surely begin to drift apart. She joins the Army and he gets married. She goes to Texas then halfway round the world. Neither ever come home for long.

Emails and messages are no substitute for a full hug and reminding someone face-to-face that you love them. She came to his wedding and he really, really enjoyed that. It meant the world to him that she was there to watch him make his vow. He loved her for flying halfway around the country to see him, but he even botches trying to tell her how much he does by making it into a joke. In the end he's never grown out of being clumsy.

Today he wonders if the way he remembers it is even how it happened. He wonders if the things that he thinks are responsible for their drifting apart are even important to her. Maybe she just got bored with his constant complaining, Lord knows he does enough of that. He remembers her wrestling around the house with him and hitting her head three times in the same visit. He remembers how kissing her made her untouchable.

He remembers that one day he touched her once and she turned into a golden creature. He never touched her again.

I wrote you a letter tonight to ask your permission to write this, then I proceeded to sit down and write it anyway. I had to write it. I wanted you to know that I still care about you so much, and that I am sorry (so very sorry), if it was only my clumsy hands that let our friendship fall away to distance, time, and just being 'too busy'.

You deserved better than that...

You've always deserved better than that...

You still deserve better than that

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