Before continuing, note that there is a long version of this story and a short version. The long version is first. Scroll down to find the shorter version.
This isnít a short story. It spans over 5 years of my life, and I want it to contain enough information to give you an accurate picture of my scenario. That being said, I will do my best to cut out anything that isnít pertinent to this story. Letís begin.
It all started my freshman year in high school. I had just come from a small private school, and didnít know a single person there. On the very first day of school, there were two classes in particular that I remember. One was math.
At the time, I didnít know anyone in my math class. There were, however, at least two people that I would later become good friends with, one of which was Aurora, but more on that later. The other class that I remember was humanities. I remember it, because itís when I first saw Caitlin. Caitlin was quite obviously a nerd. You could tell by the way she wore her Naruto headband and cat ears to class. In any case, I was big into Naruto at the time and had never seen someone wearing Naruto apparel. She caught my eye.
Later that day at lunch, I continued to explore my new school. I bought lunch from the cafeteria, and promptly proceeded to march up and down the room, looking for a place to sit. I had never had to make friends before, since I had grown up with my previous class mates, and I was more than a little lost in the crowd of strangers eating their lunches. Then, much to my surprise, Aurora from my math class invited me over to eat with her friends, and with great relief, I accepted.
I have since identified that single gesture as one of my most life changing moments. Had I not sat for lunch with this group of people, I may well have become quite a different person. You see, many of the members of this group later became one of my closest circles of friends, and it was through this circle that I rooted my social life. But there was another reason that this moment, this gesture of kindness from Aurora was so impacting. Among this group eating lunch, was also Caitlin.
The year slowly passed and over its course, my friendships grew. I had more classes with Caitlin, and our original lunch group had boiled down to just 6 including me. We were all very good friends. Caitlin was my best friend. But something was stirring inside of me. Emotions that I was just beginning to understand at the age of 14 for Caitlin were forming.
The rest of freshman year passed as well as the summer. Back to school. Caitlin and I still had a few classes together, and we were all still very good friends. Much to my surprise, about halfway through the year, Caitlin ended a short relationship (with a girl) that I hadnít even known sheíd had. I was surprised still, to find myself ever so slightly joyous that she was available.
I missed my chance again. A few months later she was dating Tommy (a boy) who is now, one of my best friends. This relationship, as with all of Tommyís relationships was fairly serious. Time continued to pass and Caitlin remained my best friend.
Another school year and summer gone, junior year began. Tommy and Caitlin were still dating and now Caitlin and I were both in the running start program together (this is a program in which you attend both community college and high school during the same quarter). Perhaps it is a good time now to go into some details of my friendships/the ďgroupĒ dynamics.
Here is how most days functioned. People would show up to school and go to class. The ďgroupĒ would then meet during lunch and discuss life/plans for afterschool. The plan would almost always consist of everyone going to an individualís house, usually Caitlinís, although junior year saw a lot of Auroraís. We would finish lunch, have a good laugh, go back to class, and then hang out after school like we had planned.
Something happened junior year though, that, like much of life, could not have been planned for. Shortly after Tommy and Caitlin broke up nearly halfway through the year, our group followed suit. It was a schism between Joe and Caitlin that eventually, drove the group into two factions. I did not land on the same side as Caitlin. Joe and Sofie were on one side, with Caitlin, Allicia, and Aurora on the other. I had more in common with Joe and Sofie than with Aurora and Allicia, and for other reasons I donít fully understand, I abandoned the other half of the group, well most of them at least.
Caitlin and I were still doing running start together. In the morning I would pick her up on my way to college, and we would meet again after our morning classes for a breakfast/lunch break. I would then drop her off and go to high school. This continued through junior year and the first half of senior year. We even took a college level Spanish class together. After all this time and even through the schism, Caitlin was still my best friend.
Junior year ended and senior year began. Now I had my smaller group of Joe and Sofie which was slowly growing to include Sofieís boyfriend. After the first quarter of senior year, Caitlinís classes no longer lined up with mine and so I stopped seeing her mostly, although I would give her a ride every now and then. In March I began dating Radhika (this is the girl that Caitlin had dated freshman year). She enveloped my life. I devoted much of my time and attention to her and lost touch with Caitlin (and the rest of the world). We dated about a year and a half (during which time she attended WWU and I attended UW). Eventually I could handle the distance no longer and broke up with her.
This pretty much brings us to the current time. I am still good friends with Joe and Sofie(they go to WWU, I see them during break and sometimes during the weekends), and recently, I have been getting back in touch with Caitlin. We have been hanging out a good amount during winter break and I am beginning to realize that I have romantic feelings for Caitlin. It was also brought to my attention by Sofie during senior year that at the beginning of freshman year, when Caitlin caught my eye, I caught hers as well. Apparently she had liked me, at least for some time, at the beginning of freshman year.
So basically, Caitlin was my best friend in high school. Our friendship has been tested by time and hardship, and yet, it has survived. We grew fairly distant when college first started. I would chalk this up to my relationship I had during the first year of college. Caitlin also goes to Evergreen in Olympia, while I go to UW, it is very out of the way and the only reason I would ever visit would be to see her.
I have been hanging out with her this break and we have rekindled some of our friendship.
I am now a second year at UW and Caitlin still attends Evergreen. She wants to transfer to UW and I think she could make it. I still consider her to be my best friend, but I also have romantic feelings for her. I do not know if she shares these sentiments. What do I do? Please help.