“I love you.”
He’s on top of me when the words come tumbling out. And there we are. It has finally happened: for the first time ever, he has told me he loves me.
“I love you, too!” I blurt out perhaps too quickly and perhaps too eagerly. At this 4 am fuck session with his eyes on mine, naked, stripped down. My room is a mess and we’ve been drinking for far too long.
And I can tell by the look on his face that he’s surprised by the response. I’m comfortable with this. I’m okay with being vulnerable. I am well practiced in the art of unreciprocated love, and having been in this exact situation a few months ago, looking at someone I love, and saying it, and not hearing it back – well, I know by now to say it back. Although, only if I mean it.
Being right here, right now with him is now so much more exhilarating than it had been just moments before, because he loves me. I kinda thought that maybe he loved me, but I didn’t feel too pressured by the issue. The exact status of our relationship is complicated and casual over the course of almost two years now. I guess the funny thing is, I knew I loved him a year ago. I had made plans to tell him back in 2015, when things were weird, but then they got weirder, and he fell off the map. I had wanted to tell him first because I know that love is important to him, but I guess after a nine month hiatus I had forgotten about that part. Damn it. I wanted to say it first.
He pulls away a bit and says it again, “No, I really love you.”
“I love you, too,” I repeat with the same level of seriousness and enthusiasm.
And here we are. Almost two years later, and he loves me. I guess part of me isn’t even phased by it because after fucking someone for two years, should I love him? What kind of misery would it be to fuck someone and not love him after two years? I mean, yeah, I’m familiar with that kind of misery, having done it before, but I don’t engage in it anymore.
He kicks back the sheets and comes in closer. He kisses me. He loves me. And I wonder what kind of wildness is this, to be with a man who loves me. I must admit that at times I don’t understand the purity of what love is, or what this means, or who we will be after this. In a few hours he will leave again, just as he always does, with intermittent missives throughout the week, and then I will see him again, and – does this change anything? Are we different now?
Although, really, I should be asking: what does it mean to love a man that I could never be with? I’m starting to think that there might be a hidden amount of pain underneath this new revelation, so I hold onto him the best that I can, and I fuck him the best way that I know. He will be leaving in a few hours to return to a life that I know nothing about, but that doesn’t matter because I love him anyway. So I guess that’s the thing about love: I don’t really understand it, but I love him regardless. I know that this is all we have, and it is the best we have. I love him, and he loves me, but there are no white picket fences in our future. No shiny new homes. No babies and birthday parties. No old age and happy endings. All we have is us, right now, naked and touching, and it’s good enough for love.
And how soon before this love will tear us apart. Tomorrow I will be sitting at a bar with a man who wants to be my boyfriend, and he will resume his conversations with his fiancee across the country. The hardest part about this love we have is knowing that love is the best we can do, but it is also the most painful thing, too. To love someone in the face of knowing that there will be no fairy tale endings for the two of us together. For the two of us maybe with other people, but not with each other. Swallowing the constant departures and pressing circumstances of life in a world where a love like this will only suffer from a social anemia. I love him despite the fact that my friends say I should never see him ever again. I love him even knowing that there is a whole part of his life and who he is that I know nothing about. I take the gamble and love him anyways. I love him because I am afraid of what would happen or who I would be if I were the type of person who couldn’t love. I am afraid of what I would miss or how empty I would be if I didn’t love him right here and right now.
It is hard to love. It would be easy to just fuck him and feel relief when he walks out the door. But it would be stupid to think this love means that he will choose me ever time over anyone else. I would like to be the one, but he is filled with demons, more demons than I know how to handle, so I wonder what kind of destruction awaits me on the other side of love. I am a monster myself, and he is my kingdom of flesh for right now before he leaves and I am left to roam aimlessly, looking for more man to feast on. But I love him, and I wish that our love were enough to solve all of these problems, even though I know it isn’t, but I try nonetheless.
He shakes in the night as he is sleeping and after we are done fucking. The day breaks in, and quietly I watch him toss and turn. I love him, and I wish that everything were right with the world, but it isn’t. But for right now as I’m with him, it is, so I sink in and drown in my memories of him when he is far away, and while he’s here I love him. This is the best that I can do. This is the best that any of us can do.
And he loves me, too.