It’s not because I’m scared. It’s not that I’m unsure. It’s not because I abide by old traditions of the male saying so first. I want to wait to say I love you because I don’t want to do it without you.
I love you because you’re sweet. Genuinely. The type of man who opens a car door for a woman even though I tell you constantly, “I got it.” The type of man who pays for dinner because he can, not to assert his power or suggest I owe you something later. The type of man who has my favorite wine ready at his place because he wants me to feel at home.
I love you because you’re always making plans. You suggest new restaurants to treat me to, where we can share too many plates of food and indulge together over suggestive smiles and playful debates. You make plans for hikes to lakes and overnight trips out of the city. You do these things not just to spend time with me, but because you want me to enjoy myself. You want to be sure I’m having fun with you.
I love you because you look at me. You look at me the way I’ve dreamed of being looked at since I started watching 1980s romance movies where the lead male, without reason, fell in love with a girl from across a crowded room. He’d look at her when he knew she wasn’t paying attention and ask a passerby who she was. He’d look at her wishing someday she’d notice him too. You continue to look at me this way every morning I wake up next to you. You look at me when I’m getting ready and stop in the middle of anything you’re doing and say, “You’re so beautiful.”
I love you because I thought your spooning was a courtesy the first night we slept together, but it’s been an every night occurrence since then. When we’re sleeping and I’m hogging most of the bed, I can make one move and there your arms are, wrapping around me. I love that it’s the first thing you do when my alarm goes off way earlier than it should and I start the snooze war. You pull me right into you and become a proper reason to be late.
I love you because of the way you kiss me. We’ll be walking and all of a sudden you’ll stop, pull me into you, and kiss me, like you had to do it right then. I love that each one feels sincere, like you don’t want to stop, and for the first time in my life, I don’t consider this kind of intimacy a chore.
I love you because when I need you the most, there you are. You were there with flowers, whiskey, and desserts in hand when my grandmother passed. You were there, willing to share your room when I didn’t know where I was living next. You’re there with all the right words and actions even though you know I will never ask for help.
I love you most because you’ve wanted to take this as slow as I have. We take it day by day, and we milk every moment. You have no interest in rushing anything because you instinctively know we have all the time in the world.
I’ve always known I’d want to say I love you, maybe since the day I saw you from across a crowded room and asked someone, “Who is he?” I imagined what it would be like to be yours but never would have expected this. I didn’t know what it meant to be in love, but then I met a handsome small town man who has not, and likely will not, drop my attention, affection, or sexual intrigue.
I can’t wait for the day you say I love you. And when you do, I’ll finally get to say, I love you too.