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

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     I am one of those people who says “I love you” all the time. Today, the love list has included the daily brew at Tealuxe, driving around with my dad listening to (and mourning) Janis Joplin, and eating Pillsbury chocolate frosting out of the container. It changes every day. This is not to say that I equate a pineapple smoothie with the way he said my name the day we met, but it is much easier for me to verbalize the effect of the smoothie.

From a mathematical point of view, the use of the phrase “I love you” is inversely proportional to the degree of the sentiment the orator truly feels. Last night, I said I loved artichoke hearts no less than five times, but the last time I saw my grandfather I only talked to him about the Patriots and the “horrendous” pairing of his pink polo shirt and olive green pants. Love went unmentioned. Today, I am sick of artichoke hearts yet think 16 years was much too short a time to get to know a man as incredible as my grandfather.

There is so much pressure to say “I love you,” or not to say it. I am never criticized for talking about how I love John Lennon, a man I never met, yet when I talk about how enamored I was with my “first love” I am met with eye rolls. Although I am touched by the music of John Lennon (and I wish all the men in the world could be a little bit more like him), it is nothing like the way I felt when my “love” held me close the night before boarding our separate planes to return home. Love is possibly the only time when the innocent bystander can’t claim to be an objective observer.

For the first 15 years of my life, the phrase was restricted to occasional (and possibly unconscious) murmurs from family members. Something in my mind clicked when I went to France two summers ago. Something made it okay to utter the taboo phrase to people I felt strongly about. Here, when I am talking to friends, they usually truncate the phrase to the horrible “luv ya,” but there is something liberating about saying “I love you” and not pretending.

I wish I hadn’t been too shy to say I loved how he protected me from my nightmares. I wish I could have told him how much I loved how he helped me do dishes that night, or how much I loved it when he sang, just looking at me, for two hours. I wish I could have told him how much I loved it when he coached me through my attempts to speak German or how he would secretly grab my hand while we sat through tedious meals.

Although it is fun to declare my undying love for Camper shoes, the E! True Hollywood Story of Mary Kay Letourneau and General Tso’s tofu, a part of me grieves the lost opportunity to share my love for something much

deeper.

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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