Dear You,

Just because the summer has driven thousands of miles between us doesn't mean we can't keep in touch. After all, the other day, you told me your greatest fear over a video chat. I felt honored to be trusted with such fragile things, especially since our friendship is fairly new.

You cautioned me by saying it was one of the most embarrassing things a guy can say, but I just nodded and waited patiently. You made me promise not to laugh, so I was surprised with what you said.

You're afraid of getting hurt. Not physically, but . . . you seemed at a loss for words and simply gestured by making a heart with your hands. You went on to explain that when you really like a girl, you practice everything you're going to say in your head and try so hard to win her over. However, there have been times when you've put in so much effort, only to have another guy come in and sweep her off her feet.

You looked away from me and admitted that you haven't been that lucky when it comes to love. Then you shrugged and simply said that was why you're afraid of showing how much you care.

I didn't want to laugh; I wanted to hold you. I wanted you to feel my arms around you and my heart beating in your ear as I pressed your face to my chest. I wanted you to know that you didn't need to be afraid. If only you'd look right in front of you, you'd see someone who would never break your heart. You'd see a person who's only wish is for you to be happy, and for you to know that any girl who rejects you simply doesn't deserve you. You'd see the person who thinks about you every day and wistfully longs for the fall, just so you can be near her again. You'd see a girl who you've swept off her feet like no one else ever has, all without even trying.

But you don't see that. You see a girl that's "too nice and cute" to worry so much. You don't realize that she worries because of you. Just like you rehearse your lines, she spends days thinking of witty things to say just so she can try to make you laugh. She practices how each phrase will come out before she says it, wanting each word to be just right. She doesn't want to be anything less than perfect when she's with you, because just like you, she hasn't been lucky in love, either. The only difference is, you've had a few girlfriends, while she's always been just someone's friend.

So when you explain how you've met an amazing girl, of course I want to be happy for you. When you explain just how romantic you were, I'll always tell you you're the sweetest guy I've ever met. When you then tell me you're afraid to let this girl know just how much you care, all I can think to say is that you're adorable. And when you remind me that I need to find a nice guy for myself, I'll just smile and nod along.

Deep down, I want to tell you that I wish I was that amazing girl, and that all those romantic sweet-nothings had been whispered in my ear. I wish I could say I'll be there in case she doesn't feel the same for you, but just one look in her eyes tells the world that she does. And I wish I could just admit that I don't want to find another nice guy, because the only one I picture myself ever caring about is already in my life.

But I know I can never let you know how I really feel. I've learned that sometimes, the only way to be with the person you love is as a friend. As much as that hurts me, I care about you too much to let my own selfishness ruin our friendship. I cry myself to sleep sometimes thinking about how much I wish it were me, but then I cry myself to sleep again whenever we've been too distant for too long. This constant ache has made me realize that you've had too profound an effect on me already. Ever since I first met you, I've wanted to become close to you. Now, if I'm without you I can't function.

I'm not sure if that feeling will ever go away. Just in case it doesn't, just promise me that when she makes all your dreams come true and pulls you away from me, we'll still find a way to keep in touch. Even if it's over video chat.

With love,

That friend