I am in love with my straight best friend and this is our story.
I identify as a lesbian and growing up, I lived in a modern household where my parents accepted who I was with little issues. Though, living in Taiwan, the perception towards LGBTQ+ individuals is generally more open in comparison to my cousins who are living in other parts of Asia. Nevertheless, I am blessed to have parents who supported me throughout my ups and downs, especially when I struggled with my emotional needs.
Growing up, I never had that one best friend. It was hard for me to make friends as I was always shy to initiate the first hello with others. Being quiet, I always dedicated myself to my studies so I could make my Asian parents proud.
When I transitioned into junior high school, I met Lim. She would be in the same class as me for the next six years. I would describe her as someone who is quiet too. She sits with her clique of friends at the back of the class every year and does not speak much unless necessary. But when she does, she has the most wonderful smile. To catch a glimpse of her, I would always sit two rows in front of her each year.
I remember the first time we ever spoke was when she first came over to me to ask a question about English. I was the top student in my class and naturally she knew that she could rely on me for help. It was a really simple question, but it made my heart flutter. I remember explaining to her for one minute, which felt like it lasted for a lifetime. It was then that I knew I really, really had feelings for her.
Days and months went by and we spoke on multiple occasions as she often comes to me for help. In between, we also started hanging out after classes to go through some general sections in the curriculum for us to rehearse in English. I got to know about her life a bit more and we shared stories together. We found out that we have so many things in common and eventually, we became best friends.
A day after her birthday, I decided to write her a letter about how she made me feel. I never knew that I would feel so genuinely and strongly for someone like Lim. I wrote her a love letter expressing how much I cared for her. I tried to muster all the courage I had to give her the letter.
She read the letter and replied with one of hers. In her letter, she said so many kind words that it brought me to tears. She said that she will always love me as a dear friend and she accepted me for who I am. Even though she could not be with me as a lover and partner, she will always choose to take care of me too. It was a year that I did not want to forget.
Years have passed since then, we went to different universities and have now started working. Our lives evolved differently. We have both gone through multiple heartbreaks since then, yet we kept in touch despite the distance. From being my best friend, she is now a sister that I could rely on even with the pandemic going on and we are a thousand miles apart.
Looking back at my naive and innocent little self 10 years ago, I chuckled a little knowing how big it was to me at that time. The toughest part was moving on from loving her romantically to loving her as a best friend. I remember the lingering romantic feeling that often complicated how we should interact with each other. On top of that, the jealousy and desires were killing me inside. We did make some changes to the way we interacted with each other after that. It took time but I am glad we remain as close as we are now.
Unrequited love is painful and difficult, but I am sure that we are all resilient enough to get through them. We move on and we fight for another love story. In 2021, I hope to get married to the love of my life. That is a story for another day.