Best Friends

Joe Lanzon

Anne and William grew up together. Their families were neighbours in a well-knit community in Santa Clara, California. Anne fell in love with William at the age of 5! He would hold her hand as he accompanied her to infant school and carried her satchel. Her crush on him continued through her teens. But she did not tell him that she loved him as she was afraid that her declaration might lose her his friendship. She wanted to remain as close to him as possible.

Then William had to leave town to attend college elsewhere. Anne cried alone in her room. She would not see him for a long time now. And she had not even told him yet that she loved him. How would she bear this separation? On the day of his departure, they met at the train station to say goodbye. “I want to tell you something!” she said. “I also want to tell you something” he replied. She felt terribly excited that William, at last, would be expressing his love for her. “You first”, she said. “No, you first”, he replied. But then neither of them said anything, both thinking that maybe it was not the right time yet. And so they parted and both went their separate ways. Each now had priorities of their own. She thought that love can wait but it would not fade.

Anne, by now a student nurse, had to care for her grandparents who were unwell and needed her. William continued his studies away from his home town where he was following the architectural course at University. Although it pained her, they cut communication with each other.

Anne never dated another boy. None could hold a candle to him. In her mind she was sure that he will, one day, return to her. Time is of no importance, she will wait for him as necessary. As the years rolled by, there were no letters and no phone calls between them. His parents seldom mentioned him to her or in her presence. But she waited and waited. She was steadfast in her belief that one day William will return to her and say the words she wanted so much to hear; the words he nearly told her at the station prior to his departure for College.

One day, out of the blue, she heard the message on her mobile voicemail. “It’s me, William. I‘ll be coming home on Friday. Can I see you at the airport at 6 pm? There’s someone I want you so much to meet .Hope you be there.”
She was crashed. She thought that all that waiting had been in vain; He has found another girl; maybe he has already married her; a girlfriend or a wife. He wanted her to meet her. He had been so far away from her for so long. As she heard again the voice on her mobile phone she cried. That night, in her room, she could not sleep.

On the day of his home-coming, Anne went to the hairdresser, dressed her best, made her face and then went to the airport full of anticipation. It had been years since she last saw him. She now wanted so much to see him. She also wanted to see the new girl in his life. If only things had turned out differently. She wanted them – William and his new girl – to see her at her very best. The plane had landed and she waited anxiously at the arrival lounge. Suddenly a beautiful girl came up to her. “You’re Anne, William’s friend, is that so?” “Yes, yes” she replied. Anne was mesmerized. No wonder that William had forgotten her. She was definitely no match for his new girl.

Then the lovely girl offered her hand. She took it and held hers very tightly. “It’s me, William. I hope you’ll accept me as I am. I tried but did not have the courage to tell you before. I hope however that you remain my best friend!