This is the first time Samantha and Jessica were going separate since middle school. Jessica had gotten into a college in another city and this was the first time she had been away from home. International relations wasn’t Jessica’s first choice, but it offered her a way out of financial difficulty.
Two weeks after Jessica had moved, she told Samantha that there was a girl she liked and had kissed. “But what about Joel? Did you guys break up?” asked Samantha.
“Yeah, but it was after the kiss.”
There was a pause on the other side. Samantha spoke again, “So you cheated on him?” Jessica could sense the judgment in her voice. “Did you apologize to him?”
“Yeah. I feel so shit.”
“It’s okay. People make mistakes and it’s fine as long as you don’t do it again.”
“I think I’ll go. I have a workshop to attend.”
Two months later, Jessica was visiting the city with her girlfriend and was keen on introducing her to Samantha. After lunch, Jessica asked Samantha, “So, did you like her?”
Samantha replied, “She seems nice. I mean, I don’t know her enough to make a judgment. Does she make you happy?”
“Yes, she does.” Jessica wasn’t as happy as she had imagined.
Samantha got a little pensive and after a while asked, “Jess, how come it took you so long to realize that you were a bisexual? Did you always know or did you realize it only after meeting Rachel?”
“I think I always knew somewhere on the inside. There was a struggle but I didn’t come out, out, you know. It was all very chill, I didn’t announce it to the world and just started dating Rachel. So yeah, I guess I kind of always knew.”
Samantha wanted to ask if Jessica had ever had feelings for her. Samantha was a fairly attractive, intelligent, and nice person. Jessica and Samantha had been best friends since middle school. They grew up together. Samantha wondered why Jessica didn’t come out to her before. Had she been judgmental? They always had open and inclusive discussions about sexuality. But she didn’t want to make this about herself so she started talking to Jessica about Rachel.
A few months later, Jessica was visiting Samantha at her brother’s house in Melbourne. There was a distance between them that didn’t exist before. They still loved each other but since they last met, the calls and texts had lessened. They didn’t meet as much as before whenever Jessica had been in town. It just didn’t feel the same. They had just come back from dinner when they decided to sit out in the garden and have a smoke. Somehow the conversation became about how their relationship felt different now.
Jessica asked Samantha what was different and Samantha replied, “Something has changed, definitely. We have been so close since school, so we’ll always be close friends. I want to grow old with you. But something has changed. My break up with Joel was tough and it felt like you weren’t there. But it’s okay. We’re past it now. I’m just glad you’ve found Rachel, and I really hope that she makes you happy.”
Jessica wanted to say something. She wanted to be honest and tell the truth. Jessica adored her, and it hurt her to hear Samantha talk this way about their friendship. And Samantha was this amazing person that Jessica always held Samantha in such high regard. She knew that there was nothing she could do. She had tried to claim her agency and tell Samantha that sometimes she felt like she was being judged.
Samantha continued, “But it’s okay. People change, things change. We evolve with time, and we still love each other and that is what matters. It’ll hurt less with time. I hope.”
Jessica sighed, “Yeah.”
A year had passed. Jessica and Samantha had barely talked. Angie, a common friend, told Samantha that Jessica had told her, “It really hurt me that I loved Samantha so much while it was so easy for her to disregard my feelings and dispose of our friendship.”
“Anghie, she never texted me once. I have had such a bad depressive episode and I didn’t have a phone for 6 months. Yet, she is the one who is so hurt.” Samantha was furious and hurt. She continued, “Anyway, she thinks I put her down and I haven’t been there for her as a best friend for even two seconds. So, why does she even care.”
“I don’t know, Samantha. I just know that she is hurting a lot and she misses you. Maybe make an effort to reconcile. You guys were so close. I don’t understand how all of that just goes away.”
Samantha was getting impatient, “It doesn’t. I was so hurt when she told me that she thinks I’m mean and haven’t been there for her. If someone who I thought was the closest to me thinks in such a way, can you imagine how that must have impacted my self-esteem?”
Anghie said half-jokingly, “Do you think she was in love with you?”
Anghie could sense that the question had made Samantha somewhat uncomfortable. Samantha felt a mix of anxiety, fear, and joy, “Umm, I don’t think so. The thought did come into my head for like two seconds, but I just discarded it because Jessica and I always talked about how she and I were so different to ever be romantically involved.”
“I don’t know, it’s just the way she was telling me. She sounded so hurt like she was heartbroken”, Anghie replied.
“I don’t think so, Anghie.” They joked about it a little more and changed the topic.
Some time had passed, things were getting back to normal. Jessica and Samantha talked every once in a while. They weren’t as close as before. It was phone calls once in a month or two months, and texts every once in a while.
Samantha was reading when she received a text from Jessica, “Every time I get high, I feel like I was in ‘love’ love with you at some point in time.”
Samantha gasped. She felt a knot in her stomach. A part of her knew this. She was still surprised and didn’t know how to react. She told Jessica that she never meant to hurt her. She told her that she never thought that Jessica could have feelings for her because they were both so different.
Although Samantha was not bisexual, she identified as a pansexual and didn’t believe that gender had much to do with falling in love with someone.
Jessica replied, “I knew you and I were never a possibility and I’m not even sure what kind of love it was. It’s so complicated. I just feel like you’re an open wound that can start hurting anytime. I hoped that we would move past everything but, I understand why you can’t. I hope you’re happy and satisfied like I would for anyone whom I love, romantic or otherwise.”
Samantha was a little reluctant. She didn’t know how there could be any resolution. She didn’t want to change for someone else regardless of how close they were. She didn’t want Jessica to change either. She felt she was getting judged. She knew that she had also judged Jessica. Maybe they weren’t supposed to be best friends. Maybe, they were, in fact, too different to understand each other and process the hurt they had caused each other. Did she have an obligation to be kind just because Jessica had been in love with her? In her head, they had moved past things and this is how it was going to be. Was Jessica forcing something that didn’t exist anymore? She spent the whole day thinking about these things.
Samantha decided she will write a letter for Jessica, “I am not sure if we can move past all the hurt and heal, but I’d like to try…”
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