I do not say “I love you” very often.
1. When I say I love you, I mean that you are literally the primary reason I live and my entire existence consists of trying to thank you. It means you’re the only person I would die for, and that you form the better half of me. It means that no matter how many times, or how deeply, we hurt each other, I will always be there for you. It means I will call you out, and I will encourage you. I will lift you up the best I can even if it means my arms will shatter. It means I value your opinion above anyone else’s. My heart bruises when yours does and my entire body sings when you accomplish what you set out to do. I am constantly torn between wrapping you up in affection and strangling your throat in fury. When I say I love you it means that I can’t even think of not ever being able to hold you either way. I love you because it’s not even about the thickness of blood at this point. Instead it’s about the choices we check each other on. It’s about clasped hands in most absolute senseless situations, and navigating the insanity together. It means I am forever grateful to you for saving my life, even though you never had to do a thing. It means everything I do, I do for you.
2. When I say I love you, I mean that I flourish in your light. It means I will always defend you, even if, and especially if, the assailant is your own self. It means I’ll share anything and everything with you. It means you inspire me to challenge myself and be better. It means I’ll send you dumb questions just to have an excuse to bask in the brilliance of your perspectives and experiences. It means I’m moved by your stories. It means you’re who I trust most in times of crises, and it means you’re who I trust most in times of joy. It means that even if I do not understand what you say, I will wholeheartedly listen. It means I am secure in knowing you would do the same.
3. When I say I love you, it means I will do the little things. I will pick up the details and weave them into the best design of understanding and periodically hold it up to show you. This is because when I love you, I love all of you. I will persist in futile attempts to know you better than you know yourself. It means I thrive on the electricity you trigger in the space behind my eyes. It means I will bloom and bloom for you like a drop of dye in a cup of water. It means I will be the first to offer you water when it’s hot out, and offer water again and again as if I hope to be the source that fills all the empty parts of you. It means I will try to be everything for you: nagging, indulgent, adventurous, trustworthy. It means I feel like the jagged pieces of you fit so nicely into the jagged pieces of me. It means I’ll put your needs before my own, and it means I’ll be the biggest fan of your life.