When I was somewhere around the ripe age of 22, I had been “dating” a guy for about two solid weeks, which translates into about 5 dates. I was dorkily crazy about him, I thought he was cooler than the De La Soul cassette tape I played 47 times a day. I was in art school, and he was about 8 years older, had a real job, a suit, a car without 587 bumper stickers all over it, and fabulous hair. He took me on real dates, like to nice restaurants and opened doors and paid the check without asking me to “kick down towards the tab.” I would order vodka sea breezes until my pants fell off. This was the real deal.
He was driving me back to my place after an evening of playing pony in the stable at his place, and when he leaned over to kiss me goodnight, I said the three biggest little words possible…”I love you.”
And he said, “Thanks.”
My heart dropped into my lower intestine and I thought I might barf and cry at the same time, so with the slightest bit of hesitation, just enough to be awkward, I said, “No! I mean luv’ ya” and punched his shoulder to demonstrate the lightness and said, “like, luv’ ya!” Then I grinned, trying not to vomit my shattered ego as I said goodnight, and got out of the car to go cry in the fetal position for 8 hours.
The damage was done of course. My calls were avoided, and I never heard from him again. This was my first lesson in The Power of The I Love You. I might as well have said “I am going to cut your balls off with a rusty saw!” or “I have genital warts and vaginosis!” Who knew the words I Love You could elicit the same response, certainly not me.
On that particular occasion, I stood staring at my guts all over the floor, exposed and frozen heart shattered into a million pieces, covered in tears as the universe took a hot, arching stream of piss all over my self esteem. But it’s a lesson we all have to learn at one point or another, and it fucking sucks, no bones about it. I will always remember every single detail of that moment, it is burned into my memory bank. When I look back at that young girl, I experience second-hand embarrassment for both her innocence and naivety. But I knew who I was and how I felt, and regardless, I was brave enough to say how I felt, and I have done it again and again.
It was a few years later that I ran into him in a bar one night. On my way out, I walked right up to him, looked him in the eye, punched his shoulder and said, “luv’ ya” as I walked out, laughing my ass off.
Categories: True Stories