I love you

These are nice words, don’t you agree?

Do you crave hearing them?

Do you feel compelled to say them?

I have puzzled over love my whole life. Perhaps this is a mystery we all share.

Recently, I met a woman. Well, it’s more like I re-met her after having not seen or heard from her in over a decade. In the few weeks since, I’ve experienced a familiar symptom: a ticklish pressure building up inside my chest and a compulsion to say (or write) those words. Should I say it? I love you?

I’ve given this a lot of thought and have decided against telling her how I feel. I mean, not like that, anyway—not a weak and worn, ‘I love you.’ I asked myself, is ‘I love you’ what I hoped to hear in reply? I love you? Yes, I wanted that, while at the same time I didn’t, I don’t.

I think I’ve had more than my fair share of romance. I’ve said ‘I love you’ a million times over—always ‘in love’ with someone. I would say it as though it might possibly convey the excitement, uncertainty, and anticipation crackling like thunder inside of me, like ‘I love you’ might transfer some of that energy to the person I loved and ease the crazy pressure. I’d say it as though I’d never said it before, like it was something unique and special—like a first kiss.

Say it again? Why? It’s just three words. Anyone can say I love you. Saying it would inevitably become a habit or even an addiction, and the words would in time lose their meaning. They’d become a substitute for the real thing. These three words are so often said out of a sense of obligation. That, to me, is sad. They’re often expected, craved—and sometimes requested, or even demanded. Everyone says I love you. It can mean a lot and it can mean nothing at all. Three words.

How much effort goes into writing three short words? None. They total eight letters for crying out loud!. Peck, peck, peck, peck … peck, peck, peck, peck … done. That’s how I feel? That, My Dear, is the laziest way of expressing admiration and respect and interest and joy and… No! I am not going to convey the baffling complexities of how I feel, and then hope to satisfy your curiosity with a cop-out eight letters!

No, I will push it to twelve.

I like you a lot.

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