What I Mean When I Say, ‘I Love You’

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Christian Acosta

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that every time I look into your eyes I find myself wondering how, and why, and shaking my head in sheer disbelief that things could feel this good. Nothing lasts, and yet here we are. And maybe the truths I held onto before, about the temporary nature of things were really just fear. Because looking in your eyes, I’m not afraid.

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that the feeling in my chest is beyond words. Is that sometimes I can’t speak because I’m silently thanking the universe for the way we bumped into one another that silly little night under the stars. And how was it that all this time before we were stumbling along our own paths, never knowing what we were missing? Then suddenly feeling all our pieces come together by some unconscious, magnetic force—it’s unexplainable, and yet it simply is. You and me and the way our lives have intertwined without us even trying to. Nothing less than an answered prayer.

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that there aren’t enough letters in the English language to construct sentences that explain the magnitude of passion I have for you. That to say, ‘forever,’ or ‘infinity,’ or ‘to the moon,’ simply does not match the wildness in my chest, or the soft comfort in my soul knowing I’m yours. To express my heart any different would be to cheapen the emotions, to try to define something truly undefinable. So I do the only thing that comes close, and whisper those words into the skin of your collarbone, the curve of your spine, the edge of your shoulder blade. Not simply for you to hear, but to feel.

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that I cannot imagine a life that exists without your arms interlocked with mine, or my lips kissing a mouth that is not yours. Is that sometimes I’ll be going through my day, and my mind wanders to you, to us, and how even the little things have magnitude—ordering take out, sitting on the pier, walking the dog around the block, sitting in traffic—and if I could explain the way the mundane takes on new meaning when I’m with you, I would. But there is no way to articulate the simple beauty of knowing I’m sharing my life with someone—the good, the bad, the ugly, the boring. So I simply say those three words, praying they’re enough.

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that I’ve waited so damn long to speak my desires to life. That I’ve felt those feelings long before I let them slip past my lips. That when you drunkenly reached for my hand, or laughed and your eyes lingered in mine a moment too long, or you kissed my forehead without speaking at all—I was already imagining how it would feel to truly hold your heart in my hands. There was nothing else in the world I wanted more than that simple, beautiful thing. And now I finally have the words to capture that feeling as best I can.

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that I am simply ready. To experience the world with you. To fight fiercely with you. To close my eyes and lean back and take whatever comes on this journey together. To live with our demons and learn how to make them balance and play nice. To willingly give all that I am to you, without a moment of doubt. To choose you, forever.

What I mean when I say, ‘I love you.’ Is that I’m here to stay. TC mark

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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