When I told you I loved you, I meant it. I did. But not the way you told me that you loved me. It didn’t match the intensity, not so quite. My love was something lighter, softer to the touch. A bit loftier and hazy. It floated in the wind and danced in the air. It was the rain that tickled your noise, the first shower of September. Your love was stoic and full. It fell down like thunder, powerful and alarming as it woke up entire streets with its ferocity. It left people vulnerable with awe and terror. It lumbered with the sheer weight of its meaning.
I never thought I would write about you.
When I told you I liked you that night, the trees towered like giants. The air was still and the moon hid behind purple clouds. There were people, I remember, but suddenly we were sucked into a vacuum where we could only hear ourselves. I was scared and excited. I thought my heart was racing from the immensity of my confession but in reality it was only the adrenaline running through my veins. I fooled myself into thinking that rejection was a painful possibility. I mean that’s how it happens in the movies, right? But there wasn’t really any other outcome because you had said it first. In fact, you wrote it first.
When I told you I loved you underneath the dim lights, the room collapsed on us. The air was stale and there were no windows for us to see the sun. There were people, I remember, but we didn’t know any of them. We were strangers in a familiar place, faceless and wanton. I felt paralyzed and weak. My tongue caught in my throat. Your black eyes bore into my soul and my heart was racing because I thought you would finally see the truth. You grasped my arm. When I looked back at your earnest face and your confident smile that tapered to uncertainty at the ends, I knew I couldn’t do it. But there wasn’t really any other choice because you had said it first.
I never thought I would write about you because I was terrified of what I would discover. Thinking about it made me feel out of place. I didn’t want to go back. All this time I’ve been telling myself, “it’s done, it’s finished, there’s nothing left.”
When I told you I didn’t love you, the steel spoon rattled on the marble floor. The air was fragrant from the baking bread a few tables away from us. The sun shone brightly through the windows that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. There were people, I remember, but none of them mattered. It was after you gave me my birthday gift. My heart was racing from the courage it took to say those words. You allowed your face to crumple for a few seconds then rebuilt it again. You tried to smile, but only managed to stifle a tear. I didn’t expect to feel hollow but I did. I tried to find something to say but I couldn’t. There wasn’t anything left.
When you told me you didn’t love me on that day of March, the bell was pealing to signal the end of classes. The air was dry from the emerging summer heat and the clouds hid the furious sun. I don’t remember if there were any people because you were standing right in front of me. The words fell on top of one another on the ground. I hesitantly picked them up and you were still there. My heart was racing from uncertainty. You looked at me directly and I felt naked, exposed and vulnerable. There were so many things I wanted to say, so many loose ends I needed to tie. But none of them escaped my choked throat. I wanted to take everything back but that would be a lie. This was the inevitable truth. There wasn’t really any other way because this time I had said it first.
I never thought I would write about you because I couldn’t believe someone would love me the way you thunderously did.