She was the same height as he was, although he was a few months older. They had grown up in the same neighbourhood and their families had the same circle of friends. There were not too many children of their age at the time so they got really close. They were best friends, playmates and strangers even thought they were siblings. They shared lots of memories. He attended her baptism and she was always there for his birthday parties. The first day of school was not too difficult to bear for them because they went through it together. They walked to school hand in hand without a care in the world and they shared a desk during their early school years. They were envied by their peers and all girls wished they had a friend who cared like he did.

Once in a while he carried her bag on their way to or from school. Sometimes they would exchange bags if his was lighter. Her dress was a size too big and her mom knew she would grow into it eventually but no one would dare tease her in his presence. She always had a handkerchief pinned to the front of her dress so that she did not lose it and no one made fun of this too. He commanded a lot of respect from other kids in school even with his baggy shorts and sweater. He was a good student; they both were since they always studied together. They shared their dreams and hoped to achieve their dreams together. They hoped that their friendship would last a lifetime.


Ten years later and he cannot even look her in the eye. They cannot be seen walking together in public and though they still live in the same estate, they do not visit each other like they used to. She fears him. She misses the days that her mother asked him to take care of her. She missed going to school holding his hand and knowing that she is safe and that other kids cannot tease her. She sits two desks behind him now and that’s the closest she gets to him nowadays.

He misses her too. He wants to talk to her more often but he knows that her mother asked her to take care of herself and to keep away from the boys. He respects her too much to hurt her but he knows better than to disobey a parent’s instruction. Once in a while he catches her staring at him in class and he wishes he had the luxury of staring at her too. They both know that a lot has changed besides time but they cannot really place a finger on what made them drift. They are still friends at heart but it is not like it used to be when they were five. What really changed?