November 21, 2016

FRIENDS? – by Madison Lawson

(c) 2016

“How are you?” The air pushes at our shoulders, having been growing heavier by the day.

“Okay …” We waited too long to have this conversation.

I shift my weight forward and back before leaning against the couch. “So … are we going to talk?”

“I mean … sure, I guess.” She sits down on the opposite side of the couch, pulling at the frayed ends of a pillow. “About what?”

I roll my eyes at her obviously feigned confusion. I frown as I watch her eyes flick from her feet to the pillow in a nervous tick.

“Us, Madi,” I say.

“What about us?”

“We … I …” The words are harder to form than I was expecting. “Madi … there’s obviously something happening here.”

“What do you mean?”

My chest seizes up and I worry I may strangle her. “Do you … like me?”

“Of course.”

“More than a friend?”

Silence.

“I just think …” I groan. “I think we need to get it all out in the open. No matter what we have to say, we need to talk about it.”

“Okay …”

“I just want to make sure our friendship is okay.”

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

“If we liked each other and that ended badly, it could hurt our friendship.”

“I don’t know …”

“Me either … I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Because I like you but …”

“But?”

“But I’m worried about our friendship. And I just don’t know.”

“How helpful.”

I stand up, frustration pushing at my feet. “Madi, what are you thinking?”

“Nothing!”

“Yes you are! I can see you thinking. You have to talk to me. You promised me you’d talk to me.”

“I know …”

“Then say something!”

Madi’s voice raises to meet my level. “Say what? Of course I like you! Yes I have feelings for you. But I don’t know if I want to go there… with you. I’m scared.”

“Those are my thoughts, too.”

“So you don’t want to … pursue this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Wow.” Tears fill Madi’s eyes, each drop pulling at my heart. “Good to know.” She heads for the door.

“Madi …”

She opens it.

I run to her. “Madi we have to talk.” I reach out for her.

“Don’t touch me.” She walks through the door.

I fall to the ground, unable to keep the sobs at bay.

 

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Madison Lawson is currently an English student at the University of Arkansas. Her work has most recently appeared in Water Soup Magazine and The Traveler Newspaper. In addition she is a queer, woman identified writer and serves as the secretary of her University’s “Students for Gender Equality.”

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