A Love Letter To The One Who Taught Me To Stay

Olly Joy

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the notion of true love. I recall spending countless hours listening to Taylor Swift and daydreaming of the day my prince charming would come. However, as I grew older and the reality of love and all it entails became blurrier; I stopped believing in the four letter word that far too many take for granted. As a child of divorce and the witness to many relationships ending in flames; I wondered how one can love if it only causes them pain. So when I reached the age that everyone else around me was in romantic or platonic love I was pushing those I cared about away. I figured, that eventually everyone leaves anyway so why not leave them first? I bailed on friendships, relationships that had potential, and family. I lost many of my best friends that way.

It was not until I turned twenty, that I became serious about trying to believe in love again. I started through platonic relationships with good friends and eventually moved on to experimenting in the field of dating. I started using apps such as Tinder to meet individuals in an innocent fashion. One experience, resulted in me seeing the guy for the length of my internship I had at the same company as him; and the other guy I met had me instantly deleting the app out of fear and disgust. It should be noted that the second individual also worked at the large company and with a friend of mine.

So while neither of those potential relationships lasted, they taught me what I wanted and didn’t want. After my internship ended, I moved back to college and started going on dates with guys I met through friends and online. It was through an online website that I met my current boyfriend when I was also talking to another guy. I recall almost not replying to my then not-boyfriend due to him giving off a tool like vibe. Since I was about to delete my profile anyway though, I figured there would be no emotional harm for either of us if I replied. As it turned out, you can’t always judge a book by its cover or summary. I ended up talking to him for hours and eventually asking for his number. After a couple of weeks of talking, but not meeting due to fear on my part and also him living forty-five minutes away; he decided to ask me to meet him on Thanksgiving day. My boyfriend whom, I will call Mike for this article was, was in town visiting his mom and while I wasn’t willing to meet him on Thanksgiving we did decide to meet the day after. I recall our first meeting was at a little coffee shop down the road from my house and I was so nervous that I ended up arriving far too early. After waiting for what seemed like a million years in my car, I stepped out of the car and basically power-walked into the building. It’s funny because Mike, saw me from his car and mistook it for me being this female with so much confidence and found it attractive. I was mentally shaking inside like a nervous Chihuahua about to pee itself. My first words to him were, “I don’t drink coffee, I drink tea.” Somehow though, he found that charming and we talked over coffee and tea for a while before he walked me to my car and we hugged goodbye.

From that day on we tried to see each other at least once a week, and every moment with him I was giving more to him and myself than I had ever given before. At age twenty-one he was my first in the physical-sense and it felt right. I had been in positions where I could have lost it sooner, but never wanted to with any of the guys in my life. He was and still is a gentle and protective person. After the honeymoon phase ended, I began to have my doubts in our relationship. I was in a bad place mentally and he had his issues at home too. Instead of turning to him, I went into shutdown mode and it led to the terrible mistake of us breaking up for two weeks. Those two weeks, we promised we would remain friends and maybe work out in the future. I cried on my bathroom floor; I cried driving past places that reminded me of him; and I knew I couldn’t let him go.

So once again we met at the coffee place that we met the first time. It was the day before the St. Patrick’s day parade and I wasn’t able to express how I was feeling. Somehow though after that meeting and texting we decided to try again. I am grateful we did because for once in my life I could feel the hurt of losing someone I deeply cared for. I knew that I loved him, and it was on his birthday I finally was fearless enough to tell him. When I use the term fearless I mean it in the way that Taylor Swift described it, “Being FEARLESS isn’t being 100% Not FEARFUL, it’s being terrified but you jump anyway…” So all day walking with him my stomach was knotted up over how he would react.

I almost didn’t tell him until we were in his car about to part ways for the day and I decided to take the leap and tell a guy I loved him for the first time. I told him, “I know you may not feel this way, and I don’t expect you to say this back. However, I’ve been scared to say this all day, but I know I need to or I never will. I think I might love you.” He looked at me with his little twinkle in his eye and replied, “ You might or you do?” The look he gave me and all the memories we had told me the answer plain as can be was; “I love you.” He smiled his sweet smile and replied, “I love you too, but I’ve been waiting for you to say it first!” The wave that came over me was just that of pure bliss. I suppose it all made sense now considering we had both been throwing hints at each other. I had sent him the song ‘Say Love’, by JoJo to listen to the week before and he had been saying how he loved different things about him without saying the actual phrase.

Since that day, I have grown to love his family and him. Likewise, he has grown to respect my mother and to show his unwavering love. Yesterday after a terrible tragedy happened in my family, he held me tight and let me cry into his chest. He’s been there through my mood swings, my mother’s medical issues, and has never tried to change me. The only thing he would change is my ability to remember not to lose my keys or lock them in my car. He told me if we ever did get married he would have a key holder for me the second I stepped in our house. I told him perhaps he should put a tracker on my keys instead. So all I can say to this wonderful man is thank you for teaching me to love. I hope to be with you the rest of my life, but also know I can’t control the future. All I can do is fight for us and know to never give up on the love we share. Thank you, and I love you more than words can describe. TC mark

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