I must have told the boy I loved him one thousand times. But what pathetic “I love you’s” they were. Not all of them, but a majority.
Most of the time, I wanted something in return: approval, attention, for him to notice how clever and wonderful I was. It isn’t as though I set out to manipulate him in to loving me, but inevitably, that scary loneliness would creep back up, and that is exactly what it would turn in to. I could never simply give for giving’s sake; no, I had to peek over my shoulder to make sure he was still interested, and to convince myself that whatever kindness I had shown him had really mattered. As if it were any of my business! As if it had been a kindness at all!
I realized months ago that this guy is not the guy I had always imagined him to be. I saw that this person was a reflection of my thoughts and fears, and nothing more. I never gave him the chance to show me who he really was, because I would never mentally shut up and let him. I superimposed my thoughts of how things should be, how he should act and feel – and then I’d resent him like hell when he’d not live up to my expectations. In a sad and perfect little way, it’s kind of funny how tyrannical the mind can be – but only once you stand back from it and question. Only after you see the illusions for what they are.
We didn’t talk much once I realized these things. He was living his life and I went living mine. Since he’s returned home from living abroad, we’ve started chatting again. I see him in a completely different way. I see him and listen to him the way I did when we first met, when I was first getting to know him. I no longer assume or take for granted. I allow him to be who he is. I let HIM show me who he is, not the other way around. Now that I see my concepts of him as just thoughts and not truth, as I learn about him, I realize how special getting to know someone really is. I want to be this way with all the people I love. I want to love who is actually in front of me – not who they have been or who I think they should be. Just them. Perfect them.
He sent me an e-mail earlier, and he shared something with me about his past. I replied to it how I was inspired to reply – and then I let it go. No thoughts lingered of how he’d react. It was simply my heart written down and that was good enough for me. His reaction and his heart are his. I finally felt what it means to be his friend and that’s where the tears came from.
I can say, “I love you” now and mean it.