The “I Love You”s

In my life up until this point, I’ve only actually fell in love two times: One to my forever crush, and one to my long time partner.

That forever crush was my senior in junior high. I spent two years just adoring him from the window of my classroom, watching him play basketball on our court, and hearing him giving speeches during the students’ meetings. After he graduated, I made a pact with myself that he’s the only one I’d let to be the one that got away because I was too scared to make any move. Since then, if I like someone, I make sure to tell them. He is the reason I never hide my feelings for people anymore.

But even so, I’ve never been the person who said “I love you” first. I always wait until the other person did. It doesn’t mean that I rarely feel it, as I knew I had had feelings for most of my exes during our relationships, I just don’t label it as love until they do. And once they did label it that way, I usually just go along with it. Partly so that they don’t feel hurt if I don’t say it back.

Amongst many, I answered an “I love you” with an “Okay” before. This is actually the story with my long time partner. Upon hearing my response, I saw he’s a little bit stunned, but then he just laughed it off and continued with what he was doing. He said it on two more separate occasions until on the third time I finally said “I love you too.” Fast forward to 5 years later, we’re still saying that to each other on a non-regular basis.

But “I love you“s shouldn’t just be for romantic loves. Starting in early 2016, I signed off every phone call with my Mom with “I love you“, right after the “Assalamualaikum.” I don’t exactly remember what the trigger was, but it has to do with me thinking that it’s unfair that she never heard it from me while I said it to my exes many times before, and that if that’d be the last time she heard from me, at least my final sentence would be “I love you” (I was a uni student away from home who rarely calls home). At first it felt weird as we’re not used to saying it out loud, while now fortunately it has become an automatic reflex. And if there’s at least one thing I do right in my life, I think it would be that.

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