Empty Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 2, 2011
There I was, being the complete opposite of myself, but for so long the pain was so much and my tears were like a never-ending waterfall. Things changed. I learned to cope, at least on the outside. But inside was a different story. Inside I was lonely, hurt and depressed. I was hiding it all with a smile and letting it show with fits of insanity. When I met someone with similar interests, I clung to him out of loneliness.

I, the girl who speaks only her truest emotions, was speaking a lie. I was saying "I love you," and in the process, making myself a hypocrite. It always upset me how people carelessly threw around the words "I love you," making them lose meaning. I knew I didn't mean it, but out of loneliness I tried to make myself believe that I did.

The whole time I was hiding the truth. Because the truth was that I was in love, but not with him. And against all my beliefs, I never told the one I loved.

It was my good friend Jerry whom I loved so deeply. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was so afraid that telling him would make me lose him. Two months passed and I still felt alone, but I was still saying those empty "I love you's," hoping I could learn to love him. The thought never crossed my mind that Jerry felt the same.

Then one night we were sharing poems and song lyrics we had written. He flipped through my poems and randomly selected one. It just happened to be one that was obviously about him. He asked to read it and I objected so strongly that, being the kind of person he is, he wanted to read it even more.

After 20 minutes of arguing and mauling my notebook, I gave up, thinking, What do I have to lose? Then he started reading and my fears flooded over me. I left the room, unable even to look at him. Later I came back in, hoping I had worried for nothing. He asked me what it meant. I couldn't tell him how I felt at that moment, so I answered, "It's self-explanatory." But that wasn't good enough for him.

He wanted to hear me say it. So finally I did. It was a bland choice of words, but it made him smile, hearing me say, "I have liked you since the moment I first sat and talked to you, and every time we've talked since, I have become more attracted to you." His response? A mild, "I think we can work things out."

I ended my relationship with the empty "I love you's" and became myself again with Jerry. We would sit up late on the couch, Led Zeppelin playing on the stereo, while the whole house slept. But we would not let exhaustion win until the next day. Two souls let go on those nights to explore the depths of our minds. Nothing mattered but us being close and lost in conversation.

We have been together for three months now. I know it doesn't seem like much, but with him I've finally lost the loneliness, and for the first time experienced happiness. I know in my heart that we're in love and will always be together. I have never felt so wonderful, and the "I love you's" have more meaning than a thousand words. So with my whole heart and soul, I would like to say, "I love you, Jerry."

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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