Sometimes I would look at you and everything just felt... right. You were with me, and I was with you, and we didn't have a definition or a plan or anything like that; we had no idea what was coming. We just knew that what we were doing, what we had, was good.
It wasn't like all of my troubles and worries melted away, vanished, poof. But being with you, gaining insight into your perspective and knowing that you were there for me, made everything seem like less of a task. They were no longer a matter of "If I can" but "How I am going to." You pushed me to realize my own strength without ever even realizing it yourself.
There was no single, defining moment for me like there was for you. It was a collection of hurried hugs and staccato kisses, of pieces of your laughter and the way your eyes lit up for the perfect pun. It was bits of the way you talked, and the warmth of your body close to mine on nights we spent together. It was how you peered through the patch of defrosted glass on your windshield, just above your dash, with the bass pounding as you drove me home various times throughout the winter when my car wouldn't start.
My feelings for you were growing stronger with every day that passed, and I told myself and told myself over again that I just needed a deep breath. I was too young to know what I really felt, too young to want anything serious. I had college to think about, and a whole world spread out before me, and to get too entangled with one person so soon was foolish. But still, the moments I spent away from you ached in my body for days, and missing you made me such a sullen, ornery little witch. My friends at school didn't know what to think, and how could I possibly tell them that every nerve in my body was fire and ice all at once? I was ashamed to admit how much pull you had over me, like the moon gently tugging the waves on every shore.
I had words and words clawing their way out of my throat, words that scared me, fighting for the chance to rip themselves past my teeth and my lips, to finally be voiced. The battle was won by a swollen tongue after being held down by my teeth. A victory short-lived, to be brutally repeated whenever we were close.
So it was in mid January that you told me that an old, long-time crush of yours was back in town, trying to reconnect with you, and finally telling you what you had wanted to hear all that time ago. I knew her, had spent time with her and you together. She was wild, an adventure of her own, attractive and thrilling, and how could you possibly want anything less? The way you were around her riddled me with envy. To have such a close history between you was something I could only dream of.
I had thought about it a bunch of times, of how it would be to finally tell you, when I was ready. I had practiced what I wanted to say, and tried to picture how you would react. I knew there wasn't a chance of you saying it back, not right away at least. I won't deny, though, that I had hoped for it even in spite of all I knew about you. I don't really remember exactly how it happened. We were talking, and I felt sick, and I was scared I was going to lose you. All of my practicing, the painstaking precision with which I had chosen my words, was weeks of my time wasted. I had no control, the battle was lost.
I love you.