English Stories


Nearly there is not good enough. This applies to chances you missed, words you left unspoken or actions you failed to take. But still, even long after all is said and done that stupid question keeps creeping back into your consciousness, no matter hard you try to ignore: What if?

Alexander and Catherine have known each other for almost ten years. They met at university and really hit it off right from the start. They just clicked right from the start when they met at a party and the usual small talk actually turned into a conversation about all the things they had in common: The love for Swedish indie rock bands, a taste for coffee with caramel syrup and a lot of other little things. They also discovered they really liked talking about and discussing basically everything – even if they ended up disagreeing.


It could have been the perfect friendship, except for one thing: Alexander never realized that Catherine had this huge crush on him, right from the moment he said: “Hi, I’m Alex”. But she never had the courage to tell him. That first evening, she was too shy and then, well, they became friends. Alexander never gave any indication that he might have similar feelings, so Catherine decided to bury hers and just be his friend. Even though there sometimes were these moments. Like the way his face always lid up when they met or how he looked at her from time to time and so many other little things that were slightly confusing but still not obvious enough. Not enough to talk about it. And then one day Alexander suddenly had a girlfriend.


For a while, Catherine felt like someone shot an arrow straight through her heart. Seeing him was torture but not seeing him hurt even more, so she decided to continue their friendship. They still had their silly arguments and movie nights and somehow along the way, she managed to get past her crush. She closed the door that read “I’m so in love with Alexander” and opened another one with “My best buddy Alexander” written in front. She decided that Alexander didn’t see her that way and all those strange moments they had were just part of his personality. That he had never wanted anything more than friendship. Otherwise he wouldn’t have a girlfriend that wasn’t her.

Over the years, it got easier. Catherine and Alexander stayed friends. A friendship that survived university and various relationships both of them had during the past ten years. It was a great friendship because they still loved to talk about everything and nothing, argue about bands and movies, and kept their weekly cinema date despite jealous partners, and moving to different parts of the town. From time to time, a friend would ask Catherine why she and Alexander never became more. Because obviously there was a connection between them that could be more. Catherine learned to laugh and convince the friend in question, that her and Alexander as a couple was ridiculous.


Still, that tiny annoying question remained: What if. Every time they are both single it keeps creeping back into her consciousness. No matter how hard Catherine tries to ignore it, and sometimes she asks herself if this is healthy. If she really should be friends with someone she just can’t get over. And sometimes it feels like she might not be alone in this. Like he looks at her with the same heartache and the same longing she feels. But then again, those moments are usually fleeting, and Alexander never acted like he might want more from her than friendship. Not even at those times, when one of them was mourning another failed relationship and alcohol was involved.


What if. The question still haunts Catherine from time to time. But there is no use dwelling on what might have been or what could have been. It didn’t happen. It probably will never happen. And ah, there it is again…the what-if’s and the should-have’s, they will eat your brain. If you let them.

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