I sat on his lap, bear breasted and barefooted, and told him I loved him. It wasn’t an easy feat. Two weeks of sitting on feelings of love and the concern they will not be reciprocated never is. But on that Sunday morning, I was bold…somewhat.
I faced the mirror, my back toward him, before turning around to face him. My lips parted but I remained tight-lipped. He caressed my ass and the small of my back and I went in for a peck on the lips. Once our lips met and then separated I turned back to face the mirror. My mind raced. Heart pumped faster than normal. Say you love him, I pled with my reflection. But I didn’t. Instead, my eyes escaped his gaze and met with the wooden tiles that lay beneath me. I remained silent.
Still naked, he and I began speaking of mundane things. With my ass in his crotch and his hands on my hips, I felt safe and protected. It was enough for me, and so I returned to the mirror to admire the hue and curves of our bodies.
“You know what?” I questioned, still hesitant. “Te quiero mucho…”
“You finally said it…” He responded. I turned my neck and watched as he smiled. I nodded slowly, feeling a bit unsatisfied. That is not what I wanted to say. Unlike he, who had declared “te quiero mucho” multiple times over the past month, I had never reciprocated due to the questionable translation. Does it mean I like you a lot? Does it mean I love you? And what about the time he said he was deeply in love with me? Is it the same? My mind churned. This time it was up to me to define.
“You know, I don’t know what that really means. That’s why I’ve never said it…” I paused, took a breathe, and continued slowly. “To me, it means more than ‘I like you.’”
His hands tightened their grip on my hips. “It does mean more than I like you,” he agreed.
“But it’s not ‘I am in love with you.’ That’s ‘Te amo,’” I reasoned. Logic was the only way to express those three-letter-words and not panic.
“So it’s not ‘I like you a lot’ and it’s not ‘I am in love with you.’ So it means ‘I love you.’” I quickly twisted my back to face him. We locked eyes. “I love you…” I finally declared. I leaned in and planted my lips onto his. I waited for what felt like an eternity. He said nothing and I turned back around.
Seconds later, I stood up from the comfort of his lap. My breasts no longer faced the mirror. My pepa™ stood inches from his face. I began to dress, covering up my nakedness. And then he returned me to safety.
“I love you too,” he professed. “That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Te quiero mucho.’”
I watched as he extended his arm to reach my hand. I moved forward, closer to his nakedness, and felt raw. He pulled me close. Our faces inches apart. And I said it again. I said, “I love you” without fear or pretenses. We said “I love you” softly…honestly…boldly.