‘The thing is…’ I said, ‘I love you as a friend but…’
His words thundered through me like bullets. Tears exploded. All around us, diners were craning to look, as they gradually dissolved behind their coffee cups.
‘I’m so so sorry,’ I sobbed. ‘You’re my best fucking friend in the whole fucking fucked up shitty world, and I don’t want to lose you.’
‘You won’t.’ he said, quietly. Then: ‘I’ve known for ages.’
He shrugged and gave me a tired smile.
Maybe it was because I’d only given him one blowjob in the history of our almost-year-long relationship. Or maybe it was because I preferred him using his fingers to his cock. Or maybe it was because I froze totally corpse-like that time he was fucking me in my parents’ house, when he told me mid-shafting that he was in love with me.
It could have been any number of things. It could have been something to do with that redhead girl that I couldn’t stop staring at in the bookshop that time (but I was sure he hadn’t noticed).
‘I don’t even know what I am,’ I said. ‘I just know that me and you… we’re not… I mean… I just don’t feel like that…’
I saw his mouth twitch. I thought for a second he was going to cry, but he didn’t.
Somehow his hands found mine across the table, and I didn’t flinch when he touched me.
‘We should probably get out of here.’
‘Yeah,’ I nodded.
We were half-way to the train station before I realised we were still clinging to each other.
An earlier version of this piece was previously published by Stewed Rhubarb in the anthology ‘Naked Among Thistles’.
Ely Percy’s first publication was in Big! magazine in 1994. Since then, they’ve released a memoir (Cracked, 2002), graduated with distinction from Glasgow University’s MPhil in Creative Writing (2004) and contributed over fifty short stories to literary journals. Their debut novel ‘Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz’ was published in March 2019. Find them at www.elypercy.com, on Instagram @ely_percy, and twitter @decenthumanbean.