Dear girl I was probably in love with before I realized I was gay:

Okay, you got me. I probably was in love with you. In my defense, I had convinced myself that thinking about you all the time and wanting to spend every day with you and trying to find excuses to talk to you and memorizing the contours of your face, your voice, your smile when you looked at me were all just things that good buddies did. I felt that my greatest purpose was making you laugh until your eyes welled up with tears, and I also thought that most besties thought that about their gal pals.

When the prickling feeling that it may have been romantic love tugged at my heart, I would simply pick a random female classmate and imagine myself kissing her, and the lack of desire I would feel at that fantasy convinced me that I cared not for you to any sapphic degree. That was my bad, sorry if I ever made it awkward.

The fact that I wanted to lie with you on top of a mountain with nobody around while we traced the stars with our eyes and made plans for our shared future genuinely did not strike me as anything but platonic at the time. The fact that I envisioned us as two confirmed bachelorettes living in the city together in a tiny apartment—so small we could only fit one bed—did not clue me in to my own sexuality. I imagined I could not be a lesbian; I had never owned a flannel shirt, and I never wished to procure an undershave.

I further reasoned that, if ever you were to come out as gay or bi or pansexual, I would happily fit the mold of the endlessly supportive straight best friend. Naturally, people would occasionally—or frequently—mistake us for a couple, but that would just be a testament to how well gays and straights can get along. Our inter-sexuality friendship, therefore, would serve to break down barriers and perhaps someday contribute to the collapse of homophobia. We would be real casual about it, though.

My future heterosexual male partner and love of my life would understand completely that, despite our uniquely close friendship, he had nothing to worry about because I was 100 percent completely straight. All about the peen. You would sigh and shrug and say, Perhaps in a different life, and I would agree and say, How easy it would be for us to spend our lives together in a small cottage on a private island with only each other for company, but it’s okay because that’s how in love we are, and we only ever need each other. Ah, but alas, curse my overt heterosexuality!

I would write theses about how our profound connection was confirmation, finally, that soulmates are not necessarily found in our romantic partners. After all, look at us: we’re soulmates—everyone’s saying it—and we’ve never so much as scissored. I mean, we got close that one night when the heat went out and we had to huddle together in our bed, buried under so many blankets that we felt completely removed from the real world, from obligations, from consequences… but in the end, we had just laughed jovially at our silliness and spooned the whole night through. Like two best friends for life sometimes do.

I must also apologize for privately wondering whether you were testing me when you gushed about your crush on that boy in fifth period. It was wrong of me to create a convoluted hypothetical scenario in my head in which you were analyzing my microexpressions and body language to gauge whether I felt jealousy or regret at the thought of you having a boyfriend. Honestly, I probably should’ve been more focused on academics and less on whether you were secretly in love with me but too scared to confess because you were afraid it might ruin a beautiful friendship.

In conclusion, I am way less likely to fall for my best friend nowadays, even though she is objectively hot. I think you would be proud of how I’ve matured. I credit this evolution to college, where I realized that straight people are a dying breed and growing into my sexuality in New York City was way less scary than doing it in Orange County, California. Also, I did S-E-X with a superb young woman, and this experience sort of hammered home my lesbianic proclivities. So, yeah, I’m doing just fine.

If you want to speak further, I welcome your correspondence, and I hope you trust that my undying love for you has faded into a memory that only serves to elicit from me a reaction of how the fuck didn’t I realize sooner? Finally, if, dear friend from high school, you’re wondering whether this letter is about you—it probably is.

All my (platonic!) love,