"I love you."
This wasn't how I planned it.
I had planned it so that we would be away at the beach for the weekend. It would be our first solo weekend away. And I would take him to the dock at night to look at the stars, and I would turn around and face him and tell him that I love him. He would, of course, tell me he loved me back and we would kiss passionately.
But then I began thinking. Although stargazing is fantastic at the beach house, the reason that it's so great is because it's so dark out. As in, I wouldn't be able to see his face. I could shine a flashlight at him, but, well, that feels like an interrogation.
We had just finished having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants on the water. Abe had burned himself on the jalapeno poppers. We were unwashed for dinner because the electricity was out on the island. Someone reported a tree hit a power line, and we had been without air conditioning and me without a flat iron. So we sat on the dock in our sticky sweat and watched the sun set. The Femme Fatale had barfed about 10 minutes ago. The second time that day.
The sunset was beautiful. Orange and pink had taken over the sky as the sun disappeared behind a neighboring island. It was now dusk. Pinks turned into purples turned into the navy blue of night.
I could do it now, I thought. It's what I came here to do, and I can still see him.
"I love you."
Abraham gasped in surprise. "You said it."
He leaned forward and spoke very clinically, very logically. "What have to have a short chat."
"I've never said those words to a girl. How do you know if you love someone?"
I didn't have an answer. As of the retelling, I have all sorts of funny, quip-py responses, but in the moment I was dumbstruck. I was in an extremely vulnerable place emotionally, and I did not expect to have to explain myself.
"Because I think it to myself about 20 times a day."
"That you love yourself?"
"No, that I love you," I shrugged.
He kissed my forehead in response. The dog howled. "You're ruining our moment," he told her.
"I wish I could explain it better, but it's just something that I know. It's a blind faith."
"Then I probably love you too."
"Have you not thought about it?" I asked.
I looked away in embarrassment. Maybe I made up the Morse code and saw what I wanted in it. Maybe I projected my feelings onto him.
Abraham corrected himself. "No, I knew this was coming."
It took Abraham about three minutes to go through the stages of acceptance.
"If I was a betting man, I would say yes," he added a minute later.
Then he lifted a finger to my cheek and titled my head toward him. "I love you too."
I had been listening to him search himself for the last few minutes. Until the final "I love you too," he had been speaking mostly to himself, or at least as if I hadn't been there.
"You don't have to say it back if you're not ready."
"No, I know you. I know that would kill you."
I looked over his shoulder and gasped. "Abraham, look!"
Behind us shone the lights from the backs of the houses. Power had been restored after a 5-hour blackout.
"I'm going to take that as a sign." He stood up and pulled me with him and kissed me. "You're my first love," he said.
He loves me.
~Tuesday, June 26, 2012
"I love you."