Due Time
by Greg Soter

     "What do you want to do today?" Matt asked as we walked out of Wilson Middle School into the cool, bright noonday.
     "My mom says that I have to go straight home and watch my little brother," Chelsea said to her boyfriend.  Matt started to ignore her by checking out the girls walking past.  "How about you, Greg?"

     "I can hang out at your house for a little bit," I said coolly as if it was my second choice.

     Matt and Chelsea had been going out for about a month now, and he made it seem to everyone else that they werenít even going out. Chelsea, obviously, didnít like that, and they got into arguments frequently about it. Mattís actions towards Chelsea donít phase my feelings toward him.

     Matt is my best friend. Iíve known him since pre-school, and weíve been best friends ever since. Nothing has broken our friendship except last summer when Chelsea broke up with me, and Matt asked her out the next day. That got me pretty mad, but I eventually got over it and weíre friends now.

     We got to Chelseaís house and not ten minutes after we got there they get into a hot fight about how Matt treats her. This was not a new concept in their relationship.

     "You flirt with everyone while Iím not around and even when I am around, you make it seem like weíre not going out!" screamed Chelsea boiling over with anger.

     "I never flirt with anybody, and I have other friends besides you, you know," said Matt as cool as though he didnít even care how the fight ended. "I canít be holding on to your hand every second of every day."

     "But you could at least acknowledge me in front of your friends, most of them donít even know that weíre going out," pleaded Chelsea as she waved her hands around trying to get her point across.

     "Iím always nice to you though," Matt said because he knew he was losing the argument. "I call you every day, and I come over to talk. What else do you expect?"

     Knowing she had trapped him in a corner Chelsea said slyly, "Youíre only nice to me when your friends arenít around. Youíre only nice to me if you want me to make out with you or something."

     Not wanting to be humiliated in front of me, Matt said, "I gotta go. Iíll talk to you tomorrow, Greg." And without saying a word to Chelsea, off he went, swearing under his breath, down the street and out of sight walking with his toes pointed in like he has since kindergarten.

     Chelsea and I talked for a little bit and she vented about Matt.  I am usually her shoulder to cry on because I want her back. Iím just there to feed on Mattís misfortunes.

     "Well Iím gonna have to get goiní," I said as I stood up. She was standing on the first step of the porch so she was a little taller than me. As we hugged goodbye we looked deeply into each otherís eyes. She looked at me as if we never stopped going out and that she wasnít dating my best friend. As I tilted my head to kiss her she leaned forward and all I could think about was Matt. Ignoring Matt and concentrating on the curve of her moist lips, I leaned in closer. Our lips were all but touching when I whispered, "We better not."

     Embarrassed she said, "Bye," and went into the house leaving me in her driveway to collect my thoughts.

     I knew I did the right thing by not kissing her, and I wasnít about to sink down to Mattís level and kiss her while he was going out with her. It just isnít right to kiss your best friendís girlfriend no matter how bad he treated her. On my way home I started thinking about my friendship with Matt. I thought that I was a better friend to him than he was to me because I thought about his feelings when I was about to kiss the girl I love.

     Chelsea eventually broke up with Matt after many weeks of fighting and mistreatment. I waited a couple of months to ask her out, unlike Matt who destroyed my feelings by asking her out the day after we broke up. Iím happy to report that we have been going out for a year and a half since May 16, 2000. Iíve learned many things from this, but one sentence can sum it all up. All good things happen in due time.