You have taken many shapes and forms over my 24 years, and yet I feel like I’ve never gotten the chance to look you squarely in the eye and tell you what I really think about you. I used to be of the opinion that one could be in love or have feelings of love for someone else, despite that other person being unaware of them. Then I switched camps and figured that that is not really being in love. I believed that you had to be in love with someone and have them feel fairly similarly in order for it to count. I put partial blame on Dean Martin’s song “You’re nobody until somebody loves you.” A real depressing thought actually. But, as I’ve attempted to mature I’ve come to view the process of falling in love a little differently. When you know someone you can feel that you love them simply because you appreciate them, you share experiences with them, or respect them for being themselves. But then sometimes, you start to see someone differently, maybe they let you in through a secret door, or communicate with you in a unique way. You consider them differently than you do other people, weird feelings of awkwardness arise when you’re with them, or you pine when you are not with them. Maybe you continue to communicate uniquely with them as you develop these feelings, and although your natural reaction may be that you want to tell them how you are feeling about them, for some reason you put it aside as something inadvisable. After all, they might not feel the same way. And we might already know what that feels like. Actually it’s very freeing, to tell the truth, to be rejected after such honesty–and bravery. But, you continue to hope that what you are building with this person is something they realize is being constructed, that you aren’t just reading all these blueprints wrong, or they aren’t imaginary. That image of building certainly makes “falling in love” seem like too easy a term and idea when one considers all that goes in to the process.
So I think I’ve said it, its a process, or you’re a process, love. You aren’t withholding to anyone who valiantly makes the attempt to create you, or even invite you. Your best friend has got to be communication, since you thrive on that. I only wish you enabled it and not it you, as it sometimes seems. Then it would be so natural and so easy, very nearly, to say “I love you,” instead of sending cryptic texts and trying to smile with your eyes and touch someone’s leg because that’s how you “send the message” that you like them. Rules, unfortunately, govern too many of our interactions, some for the better, others for the worse. But interestingly enough, love always respects the written words, the letters, the notes, the pens, the paper. The time and thought that goes into such a thing is something love really appreciates. It’s one of her best expressions. Because it’s evidence, hard evidence of a moment in time when someone sat down, and took the time to write to you, to think about you, to ask about you, and then lick a somewhat acidic envelope and have that strange taste in their mouth to seal those words and trust in a postal service to deliver it to you. Preserving one of the last forms of literal human to human communication. Love really loves that. So do I.