“I…I have something I need to tell,” her voice quivered as she spoke. It seemed like an odd departure from the relaxed mood of our Valentine’s weekend getaway. We’d been seeing each other for a few months and decided to stay at a nice hotel. We had enjoyed the excellent room service and were rolling around playfully in bed.
“Go ahead, what is it?” I coaxed.
“I just need you to know…I love you.”
My heart must have skipped a beat as I stared into her deep brown eyes. I wasn’t entirely sure how to react. When my college girlfriend told me that she loved me, I insisted that she didn’t really love me. When my last girlfriend said she loved me, I gushed because I was so in love with her that I was dizzy. And now this girl.
I searched for the answers in her eyes. I wasn’t even really sure why she was still with me. I don’t think I treated her particularly well and yet she stuck by me. Sometimes I even felt that I was going through the motions. But why was I going through the motions? What made me feel like I had to?
She had always been so good to me. I wasn’t all that lovable of a character back then. I was slightly overweight with a receding hairline, a large list of dietary restrictions, and an anxiety disorder that got the better of me more frequently than not. Yet there was something she saw in me, something even I didn’t know existed.
Slowly reality started to seep into my head and my heart. How could I have been so blind? Of course she loves me, it’s obvious to anyone who saw us together. The way she looked at me. The way she guided me when I got worked up. And then there was the way she made me feel. I felt like twice the man when I was around her. I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do with her by my side. No matter what bad thing happened during the day, I could look forward to seeing her and know that I would feel better.
The last time I was in love, it was frantic. We could barely be in the same room without tearing each other’s clothes off. We read love sonnets to each other and giggled at how silly we were. There was electricity in the air from day one and a sort of buzz that was intoxicated. But with this girl, I never felt that. What I did feel was calm, and for once in my life, content. Was it possible that this was love, as well? Maybe love didn’t have to feel so frantic and hurried, maybe love could be peaceful, gentle, and soothing. Maybe that’s the feeling of being with someone who truly accepts you for who are yet somehow makes you want to be more. In the very moment she expressed her love for me, an entirely new world of discernment appeared for my eyes. And I knew.
“It’s okay,” she said after a minute of silence, “it’s okay if you don’t feel the same way. I just needed to tell you.”
“No, no,” I injected, holding her close and looking into her eyes, “I love you too.”