There are clichés I didn't want to start with, but I find myself doing so. Had I ever looked at you like that? I don't think that I had. Had there ever been a drunken kiss? Not once. You were always on my side, laughing at my jokes and you were there year after year. You were never the entitled nice guy and you were never the one who got away. You were my friend and for that I was glad. I may have defended your overlooked traits to the people who hung out with us, perhaps with passion I didn't understand at the time, but no, we were friends.
I can honestly say that it wasn't the advent of good advice or a clear moment that made me fall in love with you. I never looked at you over lunch and wondered how you'd fit into a template of happily ever after. After all, you were so good to me but we were friends, so goodness was part of the deal, surely? You just became my favourite person to speak to somehow. it lacked urgency or lust but something crackled that was never underneath the time we had spent together before. It crackled with possibility that got sweeter for delay.
So I had no idea what the first kiss was going to feel like. Some kisses can be orchestrated and afterwards I might catch myself thinking how smooth their execution was. But this was unexpected and awkward when it arrived. When it happened it was exactly as it should have been. Your mouth felt new but it felt totally natural upon mine and it had an assurance about it that made me recognize that I ought to have kissed you long before now. I had never so much as held your hand before, our hands had made breakfast together, raised toasts to our partners and scanned train tickets to each other's respective cities but now your hands were in my hair, softly. It felt very, very right.
I had said to you that I wanted to be something different now, which you found odd because you said I should never be anyone else. I thought there was a self that other people had missed and trampled over in the bid to be with me and it was that self I wanted to step into. I had always had a fella but I insisted to you how unseen I had been for so long. I couldn't keep getting my heart broken, I told you. You nodded and put me back on a train and wished me good luck with my plans.
But you knew that there was nothing different about me. You had seen the 'me' I was searching for, not in some special way that you expected to be rewarded for. This woman I insisted I was underneath everything else; I was her when we hung out, though I didn't know it. I had failed to figure this out all along. You were graceful enough not to point that out. You just kept making plans with me until the point that I had figured it out and we were in the same room.
I'm not a woman who has sex with her friends. It feels funny. It feels like naughtiness at school, or a farce on stage. As if, this is funny because this is silly and wrong. It's turning up in the wrong outfit or on the wrong night and shrugging well naturedly as if this incongruity does not matter when we know that it does. So when we took of our clothes I thought that I would feel ill at ease. In the past, I have felt like animal lust held so much more reassurance in it. So did you want me or did you like me?
That you wanted me and liked me felt like a whole other kind of sex. That day I talked enthusiastically about something really every day and you watched my face while I spoke. You were listening but you were enjoying hearing me say it, we had gone beyond just conversation. I was desired for more than my flirtation, I was hot when I was ordinary. I've never been hot in an ordinary sense. So while I can't put my finger on when you became hot, you were now and my fingers were everywhere I had to courage to put them. Your body had never been mine, it had been other peoples and I had never so much as seen you in your pants before. It was like being a teenager again and seeing a naked man in the flesh for the first time. All the jaded cynicism was swept away, all my wild experience was gone and it was you and I together. You, my most platonic of friends, had swept away a decade of ex lovers with one drop of your jeans. I always did think you were clever.
So who was I really? I was your friend, yes. I was shameless flirt and a heartbreaker but all my best moves dissolved in your bed. There was no need for bullshit and a push up bra. This was making love, clever confident love with someone who has told their best jokes and yet can still surprise. That I was capable of a blush or the glimmer of a tear was news to me, but not you because you've known me such a long time. That you could be firm and so uninhibited thrilled me because yes, of course. I had always suspected you were a bad man really. It was the smuggest, most utterly satisfying orgasm ever. Yes, that was it, with my legs around your shoulders and that big grin on your face. Finally. You always did fancy me a little. Yeah right.
Afterwards then, we could relax into each other. We said ridiculous things; I didn't know you had that mole, I can crack my ankle joints, our bodies now belonged to each other. Your sex face was hilarious and I could imitate it and we could laugh. There was no embarrassment or asking what this meant for us. We're friends, after all. So what I had longed to say all along is, it is your turn to make the tea. I did it last time.