When Harry Met Sally – Best Friends and Broken Hearts Part IV

When S* told me that he might have met the person that he was supposed to be with, I was happy for him of course. As one of his closest friends, how could I not be? At the time, I was living 3000 miles in Los Angeles and working in entertainment, while also fostering my own long-term relationship. And even though we did have time to check in periodically, we were essentially living our own lives.

But is this really the true story of S* and I? Were we really as platonic as the picture I’ve painted over the last three entries? Was our 14-year old relationship the beautiful product of an uncomplicated, brother/sister bond that was the void of any real attraction between us?

Were we on Team Sally without even realizing it?

We all know that moment in Nora Ephron’s, “When Harry Met Sally,” when Sally insisted that it is in fact possible for men and women to be friends, despite Harry arguing that no matter what, at some point physical attraction will get in the middle of them.

Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sally: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all want to have sex with you.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

The truth is, while S* and I were friends in every sense of the word, what we didn’t have was that familial bond, that let’s say for the sake of argument, can exist, or at the very least, the illusion that such a relationship can happen between two friends of the opposite sex. No romance…no physicality….no crossing the line over one to many drinks….just a regular, everyday friendship that we all have as people. But we didn’t have that and I knew it.

We were 17 and in the beginning stages of what would be S* and Jen, where on a cool, summer night, while curled up like lovers, S* kissed me. My friend, my confident, one of the most important people in my life kissed me. I was caught of guard, nervous and a bit angry at my naive self for not seeing what must have been right in front of me. Yes, we were close. Yes, I described us as curled up like lovers, but that was normal for us. That is what we did. And yet, I had a hard time going to that place with him, even though I badly wanted to be there. I thought about him, us, the times we had, and how great we would be together, but for whatever reason, I didn’t feel that spark that comes when kissing someone for the first time. It wasn’t there for me. Yet, what was there was a traumatizing fear that the course of our friendship had changed forever and that I was going to lose him.

They say history repeats itself, and unfortunately in this case, it did nearly a decade later.

However, the fundamental difference between this situation and what would be our future turned out to be the greatest gift that S* had ever given me. That gift was the realization that there is, and was, a fundamental difference between us. That difference turned out to be my most favorite thing about me and something that would turn out to be one of my most defining traits.

It was a difference between how I cared for him at the young age of 17, versus how he cared for me as an adult. It has to do with respect, accountability, courage and love. However, I’m not there yet. I’m still stuck in 1999. I’m in this difficult place where I had to break it to my best friend that he was MY FRIEND.

….To Be Continued….

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J is a happily single 30-something currently documenting her stories of love and loss. Her blog, “I Quit Dating” features excerpts of her journey as she reflects on the lessons learned from the men she loved. A complete collection of essays detailing her walk away from finding Mr. Right in order to pursue a more fulfilled life will be self-published next year. She recently moved from Los Angeles to New York. Contact: iquitdating (@) gmail.com

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