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The Love of Poetry
I open the box of chocolates my boyfriend, Leo, recently sent me, and pop one happily into my mouth. I smile as the chocolate melts sweetly in my tongue. Is it just me, or does chocolate taste better when someone you love has given you them? I return to scribbling away at my newest story, brimming with inspiration. Something about being with such a kind and funny guy makes the words come more easily than before. I'm writing more romances than usual, as well. I giggle at the realization. You're giggling again? You didn't used to giggle that often. Stop it. I write with a wide grin on my face, counting the minutes before Leo will get my house to hang out with me for a while.
Lost in my writing, the doorbell rings earlier than I thought it would.
"Coming, Leo!" I run energetically down the stairs and to the door. My boyfriend greets me with a big hug.
"I'm so glad to see you again, Fiona. It's only been two days, but still, it felt like a while," he says, releasing me.
"I feel the same way," I reply. I look into his captivating green eyes for a bit too long.
"Oh, come inside!" I say, feeling a bit embarrassed. Leo laughs, and steps into my house.
"Still feeling awkward after nearly a year, huh? I don't mind if you stare at my eyes; I know they're quite stunning." Ah, the arrogant side of Leo. A necessity in his personality.
"Hah, Leo. For the umpteenth time, it's my first relationship. You don't expect me to know how to act all the time," I say, sighing.
"Alright, Fiona. I know." Leo leans forward and kisses me softly on the lips. I smile immediately, speechless.
"I really like you," he says, smiling fondly at me. My heart sinks a bit. I more than like you, I think. Then again, love is a very bold word.
"I like you, too," I answer, still in a daze, like I always was after a kiss.
"So, we've been standing by the door for quite a while. Let's go sit, shall we?" Leo says, gently teasing me.
"Alright, Leo," I say, laughing at the still ever-present awkwardness between Leo and I. The two of us head towards my living room, and plop down on the couch next to each other.
"Thanks for the chocolates, by the way," I say randomly, remembering their delectable taste.
Leo smiles. "You're welcome. I could tell you ate them already when I kissed you. You had a bit on your lips." I laugh once more.
"I did? Oh, I didn't notice!" I say, not knowing how to feel. Leo puts an arm around me.
"Just relax, Fiona. You're often so formal and uptight around me. No need to be so nervous," he says, looking at my expression. Nervous? Too formal? Am I really like that?
"I guess I haven't completely learned how to express my feelings yet," I reply honestly.
"Okay. On a side note, it's our one year anniversary next week," Leo says parting strands of my hair. My nerves tingle, and I can't help but feel a bit nervous.
"A year's passed by very quickly," I remark, thinking back to when we first met.
"True. It's been a wonderful year because of you," he says. How sweet of him! My heart flutters.
"Aww...I think the same way. You know, my writing has gotten better ever since I was with you, Leo," I say in a bout of confidence.
"You're a great writer, Fiona. I love your stories. They're full of creativity," he says, his tone of voice sincere.
I giggle. "When you say it, it means a lot," I say, shuffling closer to Leo.
"It's true. I'm not sugar-coating it like other boyfriends might do to their girlfriends," he says, a hint of proudness in his voice. Here we go with the arrogance again.
"Uh-huh, Leo. Sure," I reply in an exaggerated unimpressed tone.
After several hours of chatting, I check my silver watch.
"And...it's time for you to go if you want to eat dinner before you sleep," I say, standing up and stretching. Leo looks at the darkening sky outside.
"Oh! Yikes, I better get going." He jumps up and I walk over to the door with him. "See you, Fiona," Leo says, planting a small kiss on my cheek.
"See you, Leo," I answer, waving happily at him as he left. I close the door, sighing in both happiness and frustration. What should I get him for our first anniversary? Not a lousy gift-card, of course.
The question still floats around in my head the next morning. I take my usual seat at my desk, deep in thought. Maybe I should write something for him. Something romantic...A light bulb lights up in my head. Oh! Poetry! Maybe I should write a love poem for Leo. Everyone says that works really well. But I'm not a poetry sort of person. I recall poems by Shakespeare, Poe, Emily Dickinson, and other great poets. Poetry is something I like to read, but not write. At least, I haven't tried. I seek advice from the internet, hopping from website to website. It seems like I have to think about my relationship and just write about it. I rub my eyes and yawn. I suppose I'll try it out.
I start out by writing a few sentences about Leo and how we first met. He makes me laugh...He's arrogant, yet kind inside...We met on a blind date...I thought he was a jerk at first...Now, Leo brightens my day no matter how bad it is. I put down my pencil. That's enough. I'll fold the laundry before I think about how to turn those sentences into a poem.
Over the next couple of days, my mood grows noticeably worse. I cross out my most recent attempt at a love poem, sighing. This doesn't work either. Am I doing something wrong? Thinking too much, perhaps? My mind hangs onto my last thought. That's it! Maybe I'm thinking too much. I look at the pile of balled-up papers in front of me. I guess I need to start simple and forget about sounding all poetic and flowery. I sharpen my pencil and close my eyes for a moment to clear my mind. I rummage through my papers and find the sheet with the original sentences I wrote about Leo. Okay. I'll just re-arrange them first.
We met on a blind date.
I thought he was a jerk at first.
He's arrogant, yet kind inside.
He makes me laugh.
Now, Leo brightens my day no matter how bad it is.
That's a good order, I think. Now, for the whole thing to flow. I add a few transition words and modify some of the sentences. Sitting back, I look over the paper. Seems better than my previous attempts already. I should have tried this method earlier. I smile. I'm one step closer to my goal...
On the day of Leo and I's first anniversary, I'm bubbling with nervousness and excitement. I wait at the door, clutching the final draft of my love poem in my sweaty palms. I hope I don't ruin the paper with my sweat. The doorbell still doesn't ring. I pace back and forth and glance at my poem anxiously. It is okay? Will Leo like it? Yes, he will...No, he might think it's unoriginal. As I mentally argue with myself, the doorbell rings loud and clear. My heart jumps in my chest, and I rush over to open the door.
"It's our first anniversary, Fiona!" Leo says enthusiastically, embracing me before I get the chance to close the door. "I got you this necklace." He opens up a blue velvet box and reveals an elegant silver necklace with an eternity symbol in its middle. My eyes widen.
"It's beautiful! Oh, thank you so much, Leo!" I say, feeling happy and surprised.
"The eternity symbol represents our relationship, which, I hope, will last forever until we die," he explains, smiling. Leo picks up the necklace. "Here, I'll put it around your neck for you."
"Aww, you really don't have to do that. I can put on the necklace by myself," I say, giggling a bit.
"Come on, Fiona. Just this once," Leo pleads.
"Fine," I say, taking a step closer and allowing him to put the necklace around my neck. I look down at the symbol, grinning.
"What's that in your hand?" he asks, noticing the piece of paper I'm holding.
"Oh, this is a love poem for you," I reply, giving Leo the poem. "Go ahead and read it."
"A love poem? For me? You're so nice," he says. He begins to read the poem:
We met on a blind date,
And I disliked you at first
You seemed too arrogant,
Not much of a gentleman.
But as I got to know you better,
My opinion of you changed
I realized you had a heart of gold,
And a sweet smile to match.
When you are there,
I giggle and laugh
Not just from being nervous,
But because you are funny.
You opened me up,
And I found myself,
Telling things about myself
Nobody else knew.
You soothed my worries
Of being in my first relationship
You supported me when I needed it,
And my trust in you grew.
Now, you brighten up my day
No matter how bad it is
No words can describe how happy
I am to be with you.
Leo's face breaks into a wide smile as he finishes reading the poem. I look at him in anticipation. Does he like it?
"Wow, Fiona. That was an amazing poem. I'm speechless, to be honest." His smile falters a bit, and nervousness seems to cross his eyes.
"Why the sudden change of emotion, Leo?" I ask, a bit worried. He never looks nervous. Did he not actually like my poem?
"I...I have something to confess to you," Leo starts, fidgeting with his fingers. I grow more anxious as I look at him. This isn't like Leo. Does he not like me anymore? Don't think that, I tell myself.
"What is it? Tell me," I say, clutching his arm.
"I...um..." Leo appears more nervous than ever, "I love you, Fiona. I really do. You see, I've never said those words to anyone before. You're the first, believe it or not."
My mouth hangs slightly agape. Three seconds of silence pass by, and I still can't form words.
"I understand if you don't feel the same way, I mean-"
"Leo," I interrupt him, "I love you, too. I've been waiting for you to say those words, actually." I laugh a bit in relief and happiness.
"You do? Oh, I'm at a loss for words again," Leo says, giving a laugh. He closes the space between us and runs a hand through my hair. Without warning, he kisses me passionately full on the lips. I kiss him back, wrapping my arms around his body. In this moment, nothing matters but us. The nervousness melts away, replaced by pure bliss, and new warmth circulates through my being. We break apart, catching our breaths.
"I never knew you could kiss so fiercely," I comment once I catch my breath. My mind replays that intimate moment.
"I never knew I could either. All my love for you just...exploded. I'm so happy to call you my girlfriend," Leo says, smiling lovingly at me. "I'm surprised you kissed me back just as passionately. You were always so anxious around me."
"I just had it somewhere deep inside me, I guess," I reply, unable to stop grinning. "What made you confess your love to me? I'm just curious."
"The poem. It really was wonderful. As I read it, memories of us entered my mind, and my heart warmed. To know that you appreciate me so much..." Leo trails off. He doesn't need to finish the sentence.
"It took me several tries to get it right. During my last attempt, I realized I was over-thinking it, and was trying too hard to be poetic. So I made the poem simple and heartfelt."
"And I'm glad you did," he replies. I look into his eyes for a while, only this time, I don't feel embarrassed. And they were full of love.