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Love's not what it used to mean...
I remember the day as clear as a glass. Ironically, it was foggy, and I was never so confused in my life. Thousands of words just scrambling in my head, rewinding that moment over and over and over again, making sure that what I heard from him was true. My heart was racing in all different directions, making me feel happy, yet disappointed, and ecstatic, but left in disbelief. In my head I was all over the place. I must have had the strangest facial expression he’s ever seen before. While I can’t pin point the appearance of my most likely distorted looking face, I remember that I was as frozen as the ice on the grass.
He asked me if I heard him and I asked him if I heard him correctly, so he repeated his words more slowly. “I love you.” I remember smiling, but I probably still looked strange. About thirty seconds passed and I was till completely silent. I stared at him at first, and then I laughed. I probably seemed like a lunatic to him in his mind, but I didn’t care, I couldn’t help from laughing.
“I’m so sorry. I promise I’m not laughing at you.”
“Oh, yeah, sure, of course you weren’t.” Sarcasm has become such an easy tool for teenagers to use.
“No, really! I wasn’t laughing at you, I was laughing at what you said.” I couldn’t help but smile. He couldn’t help but look baffled.
“Well, I just told you I loved you, and you find that funny?”
“Well… we’re only in the ninth grade, I mean, aren’t we kind of young to be in love.” Suddenly, we switched places and I was the one who looked awfully puzzled while he was the one that laughed so loud, its sound rang in my ears for what seemed like hours.
“Really? Come on, everyone says ‘I love you.’ Have you been living under a rock?” He continued to laugh out loud. I had the urge to respond with “Why yes, yes I have. Haven’t you?” But I thought one sarcastic comment was fine enough. When I didn’t respond, he proceeded to speak. “There are tons of couples out there that always say ‘I love you’ to each other, I just thought we were one of those couples.” He didn’t let go of his smile, not even for a little bit.
“I don’t know. I just… I don’t want to say it when I don’t know if I mean it.” By then, I was looking at my soaking shoes surrounded by a pillow of white snow.
“Okay, I understand, but that won’t stop me from saying it every single second of every single day I’m with you. What I’m feeling is real, I just know it. And I also know that one day, you’ll say it to me too.” As we walked home side by side, he looked straight in front of him with satisfaction written all over his face, and I looked directly at my feet, not really sure what to think about.
I remember this day perfectly well too. It’s as vivid as a red rose in a sea of yellow tulips. This day is also five weeks after he first told me he loved me on that cold, frosted, winter day. We were sitting on a bench just outside of school, it was still cold, but at least the sun was out. He looked right into my eyes then looked back down, staring at his intertwining hands. I knew what he would say, it’s not like it was a big surprise to me. It’s not that I was just dying to have this conversation with him, it’s that I knew it would come eventually and I knew what to expect
He sighed out loud and looked back at me. I never took my eyes off of him. I found it sort of interesting how he wanted to make eye contact but he couldn’t bring himself up to look in them for very long.
“I’m really sorry. It just… didn’t work out.”
“I know. It’s okay, really.” I wasn’t crying, but I wasn’t filled with glee either. He heard that from my tone of voice, which loosened him up a little bit. He nodded his head and then finally found the courage to look up at me for more than five seconds.
“Yeah. I guess I just feel really bad.” I was about to replay with another “No really, it’s okay.” He knew I would have said that so he beat me to it. “I know, I know. I’m just really sorry… I told you… I said… I told you “I love you” and now I just… I guess I just…”
“Don’t worry about it. I know you never did.”
“Now that’s not true.”
“Sure it is… we’re only fifteen, we don’t know love. I knew that the moment you told me you “loved me” that it what you felt wasn’t true, that it wasn’t real.”
“Yeah… but everyone said it and the still says it, I didn’t see anything wrong with saying that.”
“I know. Well, love’s not what it used be. It used to be a line shared between two people that truly cared for each other and didn’t see themselves with anyone else in the universe. And love’s not what it used to mean. It used to mean something special, something true. Now, I’m not too sure.”
“Is that why you never said it to me? You still wanted it special?”
“Yeah, I guess I like what it used to mean.”