As a kid, I used to think love was when you thought someone was pretty and they let you hold their hand. I would send out the letters to every girl that caught my eye and I would wait anxiously for a reply. I carried that trend into my adult life–pairing myself with any pretty girl that didn’t find me repulsive.
So when you asked me when I knew I loved you. I was tempted to say it was when we held hands for the first time and I felt it in my gut, but it was seven months later, a week after I met your family, that double date with your best friend and her loud boyfriend. During one of his many stories, you reached for my hand under the table and smiled at me because you knew how irritated I was getting. I tried to master a smile back at you but my lips turned to concrete. I felt it like I had never in my life: butterflies.
All my life I’ve been building walls and towers so high you couldn’t see what was behind; my fears and insecurities. Perhaps that’s why I always looked for battles and challenges, even when there wasn’t any. I always looked for ghosts to fight and demons to shoot so I would keep myself busy. Then, you came along and you made it easy for me. You laughed at all my jokes, especially the terrible ones and made me special, safe. I couldn’t fight this and I didn’t want to because it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I knew instantly that you didn’t want to change that part of me which always looked for the hard path but you would encourage it, standing by my side. So that’s what love is, not the absence of a battle, but fighting together.