By Elizabeth Oxendine
He claims he loves her on a Thursday. Six months into their relationship, he thinks that what he feels for her is love. He dreams of her curves and her body. The way his testosterone levels spike the moment he sees the lacy strap of her bra is “what love is supposed to feel like,” right?
He can say the words “I love you” with his tongue but not with his heart. There are too many things he doesn’t know about love. He doesn’t know that loving a person isn’t merely primal attraction, but attraction to the person as a whole being. It’s their soul, the light they bring to you. Love is cherishing her laughter above her breasts.
He doesn’t know love is equality. Yin and Yang. Peanut butter and jelly. Knowing that he is not the keeper and she is not the zoo animal. Love is being different heights but seeing the other’s eyes at the same level. He doesn’t know love is an ache for a home that isn’t a house but a person. He doesn’t know love is loving someone at their best and worst, on the most beautiful of spring days and during the harshest winter. Love prevails in the face of cold nights. He doesn’t know love requires fighting, when you both want to scream until your ears bleed but at the same time want nothing but to kiss the other. He doesn’t know love is letting go of locker room talk. Sexual assault and rape will make you feel nauseous in horror because something as intimate as the love you make with your partner should never happen without consent and safety. But most of all, he doesn’t know that love requires loving himself. Giving and growing with another person means you have to know what kind of person you are. If you give them an illusion of who you are, the love you are trying to build will disappear quicker than hesitant words written on a foggy mirror.
He says “I love you” and doesn’t mean it.
She hears the words and wants to believe them.
Two people sitting at a table. He zones out as she talks about her day. She continues on, even though she knows he isn’t listening.
This isn’t love.
This isn’t life.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
He doesn’t know. She doesn’t know better.