This Is How I Know I’ll Always Love You

I want you to know that I will always love you.

It’s not the kind of love that fades. Not the cheap kind that arrives quickly and dissipates before you even realize it’s gone. This kind of love is the kind that stays in your bones, deep down in the places nobody sees and the kind that lingers in all of your dark corners to protect you from the scary things.

It’s impossible to imagine my life before you were in it. When I try, it feels like I’ve spent all day at the beach, letting the waves smack me in the face over and over. It feels like heat stroke — hazy, and a bit tiring, and weird, bordering on uncomfortable.

It’s not often you come across someone who can make you laugh until Gatorade comes out of your nose. It’s uncommon to find someone to be comfortable around in a way you never were before, like you can’t possibly be hurt or broken again because you have the best shield. It’s lucky to connect with someone who understands you at the most basic level, who knows not to tell you to “calm down” when you feel anxious, or how to make you laugh when you feel like throwing every fragile item you own against the wall.

I realized it in an instant — not in the slow, hazy way you can fall in love with another person, but in a passing moment when you look around and realize that, hey, you’re entirely and sublimely happy. You continue to recognize the depth of your love in a series of snapshots — sitting on the roof on July 4th drinking lukewarm beer and singing “Proud to be an American” entirely un-ironically… driving across state lines whenever I need you or you need me…. Going to a café and ordering 12 teas, 5 coffees, and 10 waters just because… Making playlists filled with the worst/best 90s music and dancing around the kitchen table…
I remember I love you whenever I can’t remember to love myself.

I will always love you because I don’t have a choice. When you wait your entire life for something, and that thing finally happens to you, you don’t just give it up. If you do, you’re a fool. You’re a waster. You’re the saddest type of person because you don’t realize that what you need is staring you in the face. To recognize love and to hold onto it is the most important thing in this world.

“It will get better,” my mom used to tell me, “You’ll see.” I never believed her. When you’re a teenager, or even a middle-schooler, it is never going to get better. You’ll be stuck that way forever — in braces, eating your lunch in the bathroom or trying not to fall down the stairs and drop your books. But, as usual, my mom was right. It did get better. I found you. I recognized you. And I love you.

This is a love letter to you. A love letter to my friends.

I love you, you bunch of basket cases. You save me every day, and I hope this did you justice. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Lookcatalog

About the author

Jillian Harding

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