I don’t love you yet. I’m still hesitant when it comes to reaching my hands to touch your cheeks, still nervous to keep eye contact for a minute too long. When I kiss you, I kiss deeply, but then I pull away. I want to make each moment stretch on, beautifully, endlessly. But I’m scared to fall too fast.
I don’t love you yet. I haven’t quite carved a place for you in the entirety of my soul. Your toothbrush sits on my bathroom counter, but I still haven’t made a spot for your shoes by the door. Your side of the bed has been claimed with your favorite pillow, with forever rumpled sheets, but when you’re not next to me, I sleep in the middle, not honoring your place.
I don’t love you yet. My heart skips at the mention of your name, I feel dizzy with joy when you pick me up, and I melt like a puddle in your lap with every kiss. But I’m still taking my time with my emotions. I’m letting your words slide over me, letting your touch carve new memories into my skin.
I’m learning you piece by piece, moment by moment. For once, I’m slowing things down.
I don’t love you yet. When you speak of us, I don’t quite picture years and years down the road. But I want to. In the back of my mind there’s an image of a future life—the two of us tied together, and I can’t say I’d mind that one bit. Our friends, our family, laughing in sync. Our kisses, falling into familiarity. Comfortable. Vibrant.
I don’t love you yet. I haven’t let those three words slip from my lips. I haven’t told you the fullness of my feelings for you. I’ve just let each moment together be what it is—effortless. I haven’t tried to rush, to jump in, to start something without knowing whether I can finish. Instead, I’m just letting us be and become.
Instead, I’ve decided to soak up the now—right here, with you.
I don’t love you yet. When I close my eyes, I imagine your face. When I run my fingers through my hair, I feel the tender way you touch me—as if I’m precious and you’re in awe of my every cell. When I roll over and feel the emptiness of my bedroom, I picture you, your arms draped around my middle, pulling me closer, to the spot where I fit. But I’ve decided to enjoy those things rather than label them.
I know I have the capacity to love you, but for right now, I just want us to feel.
I don’t love you yet. When I paint my nails, I think of the way our hands melt perfectly together, in the silly way the world promises the right person’s fingers will fit. And whether it’s 5AM or 2PM, whether I’m wide awake or halfway in a dream, I can’t help but have thoughts of you, of us, of how you fell into my life with such surprise I’ve had to pinch myself to make sure it was real.
But I’m not quite ready to change where we are.
I don’t love you yet. See, it’s not that I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s the fact that my skin gets goosebumps when you press your lips to my forehead and my heart does somersaults in my chest when you say, “I like you,” and I whisper it back, our own secret code. It’s the fact that who we are together right now is perfect, and I don’t want to force love. I want to fall.
I don’t love you yet. But every time I look at you, I know I could.
I could drift to sleep next to you and wake up by your side every single morning without complaint. I could learn every piece of your past and kiss every scar. I could rewind back through my history and tell you every memory, letting you fully in. I could talk to you for hours without ever running out of things to say and run my hands over the tattoos, the stories on your skin, and never lose interest.
I don’t love you yet. But there’s something about the simplicity of it all—the ease at which we laugh at each other’s jokes, kiss each other’s lips, are suddenly unafraid of the world and what’s to come because we’re here, right now, together.
I don’t love you yet. But maybe that doesn’t matter. Because every time I look into your eyes, I know you’re right where I am—falling fearlessly, one kiss, one laugh, one moment at a time.
And right now, that’s enough.