Most of the time when people hear the word “love,” they think of either love between family members or romantic love.
Neither of those is what this post is about.
To me, “love” is a very broad term, and people use it in many different ways. I’ve always considered friendship, particularly close friendship, to be a form of love. I’ve had friends who I’ve loved more deeply than some of my family members.
The type of love one finds in a platonic friendship might not be what most people think of, but it still can run very deep. Friends are the ones we lean on in the rough times of our lives. Some of us have friends we’ve known longer than we’ve known our significant others, and certainly since long before our children, if we have any, were born. With a close friend, months or even years can pass with no contact, but they’re still in our hearts and when we hear from them again, we pick up exactly where we left off, as if no time had gone by at all.
Love definitely exists in families and between significant others or date-mates, but I would say friendship should also be counted when people talk about love.
In my novel Midnight Chat, Mira and Rob aren’t related, and since they’re both homosexual, romantic love isn’t a thing between them and never has been. But they’ve been each other’s primary support for years, and each of them trusts the other more deeply than anyone else. I would say there is definitely love between them, even though they’re platonic friends.
For Mira, that love takes the form of supporting and encouraging Rob through his frequent episodes of depression and the times he’s severely bullied at school. She worries a great deal about Rob but doesn’t know what to do besides simply being there for him. Despite homework and the need for sleep, she makes herself available to Rob at all times of day or night in the hope that having at least one person who cares about him will keep him from doing something harmful.
The love between them is strained by Mira’s first relationship. She’s pretty sure she loves her girlfriend Talia, but Talia doesn’t occupy the same place in Mira’s heart as Rob. Not realizing this, though, Rob believes Mira is abandoning him. He begins to lose trust in her, even as Mira makes more effort to be the support Rob needs.
As Rob’s mental state deteriorates, however, Mira finds it more difficult to be what he needs. Her concern for him leaves her torn between continuing the friendship as it has been or talking to an adult about getting help for Rob. In her desire to keep Rob’s trust, she chooses not to seek help. She believes if she simply continues caring for him and letting him lean on her, he’ll be okay.
When Rob reaches a breaking point, his love for Mira leads him to warn her before he does anything. And that leads Mira to having an even more difficult choice to make. Sometimes love isn’t enough to get someone through the roughest time in their life. And sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is go behind a loved one’s back to get them the help they need—even if you lose their love.