I always thought that once you told me you loved me I’d feel this weight lift from my shoulders. Not because I was afraid you didn’t, but because I’d no longer be burying it or afraid that one day it would just slip out of my mouth like a grenade and destroy everything.
I thought, ‘I love you’ would save me somehow. Instead I find myself tongue-tied whenever I look into your eyes and feel the words, desperate to escape my lips, but for whatever reason, they can’t. I force them back down and they burn my insides like acid.
I know you love me but I can’t tell you I love you too. I’ve tried to come up with explanations for this, when I repeatedly fail to tell you how I feel. It’s not rejection I fear, but perhaps the vulnerability I’m risking when ‘I love you’ enters the space between you and me. I can’t take it back. I can’t pretend it isn’t true. It’s out there and it’s scary as hell.
It’s like saying, “here’s my heart and soul…. And here’s the blender for you to completely destroy them.” And the thing is, it’s not trusting that you won’t, it’s trusting that if you do, I’ll be able to fit the slightly mangled pieces back together again and form some kind of slightly damaged whole. That’s the terrifying part, what if once you give me those pieces back I’m not me anymore?
So I do love you, I love the way your smile spreads across your face and the softness to your eyes. I love the sound of your voice and the way you know what I’m thinking without me uttering a word. I love all the tiny, insignificant things about you and I guess that’s why I can’t tell you.
“I love you” is a fully-loaded barrel and I’m just not ready to pull the trigger yet.