“No you don’t.”
He really had to say I love you. It really couldn’t wait.
“I do, though,” he said.
“No. You don’t.” I tried not to laugh uneasily.
“I think that love is when you see someone’s shadow, and you don’t run” I said. “Maybe you’d even see something you never wanted to see. But you decide not to run.”
I can’t say if that’s how others have ever loved me. But that’s how I learned to love. A miracle of some kind. Because nobody in my lineage of relationship train wrecks ever taught me that. But it took too long to learn. My mind wandered to my true love. And what I knew made it true.
“Love is when you meet someone’s shadow, and forgive them for it. You distinguish it from yours, but you decide to embrace it too.”
Unless you don’t know how to do that. Then maybe you love and destroy. Maybe love gives rise to the very impulse to destroy. If you don’t know how to treat it. If you don’t know what you are doing.
Love is an action taken. Love is a decision. There’s no rushing it either. This is just an attraction, nothing more. It has no actual meaning. It is only the beginning of potential meaning. But potential is hollow.
I was looking for a different kind of embrace.
“Do you love me?” he asked.
“Really? You don’t?”
“Not yet.” I tried to put it more gently. But I didn’t. And I wasn’t sure I could.
“I don’t know your shadow,” I said. “And you don’t know mine.”
He got up to use the bathroom.
My eyes filled with tears as he exited the room.