I don't know why he stopped being my friend, all I know is that he did.
This man was like my brother. I would've done anything and everything for him if he needed me. I watched him grow from an awkward, adorable boy into this strong, confident man. He saw me at my worst, and still loved me more than anyone else. I never once doubted how he felt for me, because he never gave me any reason to do so.
One time, when we were both in college and messy people, he pulled me aside at a Halloween party. He put his hands on my arms, looked me directly in the eyes, and told me that he loved me, that I was like a sibling to him, and that he hoped we'd grow old together. He made me promise that I would never forget that.
I clung onto those words during my darkest moments. At least, I knew someone, somewhere, loved me. And trust me, I had dark moments. Moments where the end was all I could see.
It was late October when I last saw him, last heard his old man laugh, and last hugged him close. Had I known that day would be filled with lasts, I might have hung on a little tighter. We talked about our futures that day, something I assumed we would be experiencing together. Because I never expected that he would ghost me after all those years of friendship.
It's not like we haven't drifted apart before, but we always managed to find our way back to each other. He never used to ignore my messages. In fact, that's one thing I could always count on: a response. So, when they stopped coming, my heart started breaking.
I reached out to him during one of my darkest times, and we made plans to visit each other after a few years of not seeing one another. I didn't know it then, but I soon learned that those plans to see each other would save my life over and over again. Every time I would feel like letting go, I would remember that I had plans to see him.
When I saw him, after all that time, I felt like our hang out was soul-healing. Because I knew, and I trusted, that no matter what, this man loved me. He loved me like family. He loved me unconditionally.
We ended up back in our hometown around the same time, and it was like I was coming alive again. Slowly, but surely, I was coming out of the dark and into the light. And he was there, waiting, with a hand held out for me to grab.
I came out to him, told him I was nonbinary, and he was so kind. It was, for the longest time, my favourite coming out. Now, it just leaves me with an ache in my chest. How could someone so kind break my heart so fiercely?
Maybe his girlfriend doesn't like me. Maybe he was tired of me. Maybe his phone broke and he assumed we're okay. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I keep coming up with excuses for him, because it's easier than believing that he just doesn't want to be friends with me anymore.
The last time we saw each other, we made plans to hang out in the following month when things weren't so busy for him. He sounded so sincere.
What does it all mean?
I don't know. But I love him. I love, love, love him. I wish he'd come back to me. He's my family, whether he likes it or not.
All I know is that we used to be friends, and now we don't talk anymore.