After all, you’ve only known each other for three weeks.
And three weeks is a really silly amount of time to think you love someone, isn’t it? Maybe you can have a crush on them. Maybe you can be infatuated. But love? The stories we were told about idealistic love made us believe it could happen in three weeks, a day, an hour, a second, a glance. But we grew up, and we realized that such is not the case. That love at first sight doesn’t exist. Or does it?
So maybe you refuse to say it’s love, and settle for just being really attracted to them. Maybe they give some unidentifiable spark that needs time to grow. You’re not sure. But what you are sure of is that they are everywhere. In your heart, in your mind, in the faces of the strangers you pass walking down the street, in the cup of coffee that reminds you of the first time you met, and in the shirt that still smells like them from the second you wrapped your arms around them and took them into you.
You can’t stop talking about them to anyone who will listen, and even if they’re not listening, even if they stopped listening a while ago, it doesn’t matter. Because just talking about them gives you an unprecedented high. You don’t need anyone else to lift you. Because what you are, if not in love, is in hope.
Three weeks isn’t long enough to have met someone’s parents, to have seen the bad habits and weathered the kinds of fights that really mean something. Three weeks, in the scope of things, is nothing. Three weeks is a blink and you’ll miss it sort of thing. They could stop calling tomorrow, and three weeks will be a fling. And you tell yourself all of this, and you try to manage your expectations, and you try to not get too excited that this could be the real thing.
But still, there’s a feeling. And there’s a way that your heart aches to the bursting every time you see them. There’s a complexity about something as simple as seeing their name on your phone, something electric in the way you touch. You’re young, but that doesn’t discount your ability to recognize what can’t be seen but is so clearly tangible. Maybe you don’t understand it. But who does? We accept love in the symbols and ideas we’ve attached it to. To the songs, stories, fairytales. And we emulate them. We try. We go through the motions, hoping that if we pretend like we know what we’ll doing, we’ll get there. We’ll fall in love.
It’s just that nobody can actually prepare you for when it actually happens, or when it is actually supposed to happen.
And when it does, we fight with the words that come scratching up at our throats, and force them back down. We pause. We wait. We try to figure out when the right moment to say something is — if there is even a right moment at all. We hold back. We close ourselves off. We shut down from the possibility that maybe, the spark you felt wasn’t a one-sided thing. Maybe they feel the same way. Maybe they’re fighting with the words, too. Maybe they’re afraid that they’d come on too strong too soon, that they’d scare you off. And maybe they don’t want to frighten you away, because this could be something real and something good and you’re both just nervous because we all spook easy in love. It’s easy to run away these days, to delete their number, to never text them again.
So we hold back, and we don’t text, and we take hours to reply to a single message, and we play a game in which we try to find meaning in every last second of interaction that happened between us. We analyze, we rationalize, we freeze. We worry so much about not scaring somebody off that we forget how to be honest with ourselves.
But we don’t stop talking about them. And we don’t stop feeling. And we don’t stop hoping.
You might not love someone three weeks in, or you might not know that what you feel is love, but you still should be honest with the fact that you’re feeling something. That maybe, just maybe, you’re falling. You should acknowledge it and admit it and take the risk and try to offer them your heart. Even if they fumble it, because then you can pick it back up and mend its bruised ego and try again.
But you have to try. All love begins with being in hope.