We started out as friends.
We were students working part-time at a cinema, who got to know each other over time. It was a basic job with minimal pay. We served popcorn, scooped ice cream, made coffee and sold tickets. The work was simple, but our social lives thrived.
We met countless co-workers. We made tonnes of friends. We’d all go out to pubs, bars and clubs and enjoy the fruits of our labour. We enjoyed films, friendship, food and alcohol. We enjoyed them all and we enjoyed them together.
Months passed. Then a year. Then two. We grew from friends to best friends. You were the one I texted about my exam results… about my Christmas presents. We talked about everything.
Our friends kept asking what was going on with us. Even our managers at work saw it coming. We insisted we were friends… that it would be weird if we became anything more. And we really believed it too. We were more Mulder & Scully than Ross & Rachel.
But as time flowed by, it got harder to ignore. We were growing closer. I was developing feelings for you. Sometimes I’d look at you when you glanced away and think to myself what if.
What if I asked you out? What would it feel like to kiss you? Would it be weird? Or would we get the same happy ending we saw in all the films we sold tickets for?
I finally decided. I would ask you out. Next Wednesday at that party in Wimbledon. It was a risk, but it was worth it.
Then suddenly… you asked me out. It was in the staff room at work before our shift started. I said yes. And those two days until our first date were genuinely the most nerve-wracking of my life.
Our first date happened. We had fun, but I still felt nervous. Awkward. We strolled along the river and I ran out of things to say to you. My mind was blank. After years of being relaxed around you… after years of being able to talk to you about everything… I suddenly couldn’t talk to you about anything.
What if this date had been a mistake? What if we really were better as friends?
We sat on a bench by the river and looked out at the water. I gave you a small speech I had prepared in my head. It was about how much I cherished our friendship, but that I was willing to see just how far we could take this… whatever it was.
We kissed for the first time on that bench.
And when we went for coffee, something clicked inside me. I suddenly relaxed and found my words again. We were able to talk and smile and laugh as we’d always had.
That’s when I knew. This wasn’t the end of a friendship. It was the beginning of something new. Something wonderful.
Over the next few months, we went on more dates. To museums, to pubs, to restaurants. In those months, I fell in love with my best friend.
I fell in love with you.
Now its 12 years later and we’re married and have a beautiful newborn baby. We are parents. We are a family. We look at the life we’ve made for ourselves. We look at our baby and ask in amusement how he came to be.
I look at how far we’ve come. How much we’ve grown. I think of how much I love you and keep wondering how we got here.
Until finally I remember…
We started out as friends.