December 23, 2008
By Ruveena Virk, Brooklyn, NY

I can't deny that I love you.
I want to, sometimes. These are the times when you make me angry. My face becomes flushed, my heart races- all the emotions of falling in love, but in reverse. Tears sting at my eyes.
I hate to cry, but you make me cry.
Sometimes I don't know why I cry when we fight. I don't think it is the frustration, but rather the disappointment. I'm not disappointed in you. I become disappointed in myself.
You hold me close and whisper apologizes in my ear, and I merely nod, clinging to you, breathing you in. It's always nothing, you never did do anything significantly horrible. Sometimes it's just the way you look at me wrong, and I can tell your disappointed.
At this moment I feel as if I have disappointed the whole wide world, right there in your soulful eyes.
I want to deny that I love you when you tease, too.
Your lips curl into a smile, your eyes crinkle at the ends. Sometimes the tops of your cheeks become red, but you'd be embarrassed if I told you. You tease me.
I know you love me, you say. Do not, I respond.
It drives me crazy that you don't know how much I really do- drives me crazy that you do. I feel so magnificent and vulnerable at the same time, like an artist waiting for critique.
Sometimes when your serious I can see it in your eyes, the way you kiss me and say nothing. Your measuring all the heights to which I love you, comparing them to your own. I wonder what you really believe- whose heights are greater?
I deny that I love when everyone says I do.
It erks me. Am I really so transparent?
It's as if everyone can look at me, into me, like I'm a glass bird. They can see all the love for you that runs in my veins.
What a beautiful couple, they say.
But most of all, I deny that I love you in private.
You lay next to me, asleep. You really do look heavenly. The way your chest rises and falls, your lips, pulled in a straight line; your eyes, adorned with the heaviest eyelashes. I run my hands through your hair, trying not to move too much. You always almost have me pinned down, as if I'll run away as you dream. I can feel you tremble sometimes, and I kiss your lips until the bad dreams go away.
I cry at these times.
It's really silly, if you think about it. Little tears form and they fall, my heart squeezes tight. Because it knows I love you too much, because losing you would kill me. I feel a few tears even now, as I write.
Something inside me threatens, a dark little thing cornering my heart. It tells me that it could take you away, anything could take you away.
That is the one time that I deny, I deny that I love you- yet I hold on to you like you'll fly away.
I hold and whisper, quietly, so you won't hear me. "I can't live without you."

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