Those Times I Said I Loved You (And the Time I Wished I Had)

Those Times I Said I Loved You (And The Time I Wished I Had)

The first time I said I loved you was a night I’ll never forget. You insisted we drive to a place you passed on your way home that day, and you were so excited I couldn’t possibly say no. It was a cliff edge, of sorts, with a gorgeous view of the entire city. The stars were beautiful, but never as beautiful as you. Your blue eyes twinkled as we sat against the front of your car, you cold arms wrapped securely around my waist and it just slipped out.

“I love you”. You looked at me, a smile playing on your perfect lips that lit up your entire face.

“I love you too” You replied. “Always have, always will”.

Another time I said I loved you was the time you took me ice skating. I protested, of course, being the uncoordinated soul that I am, but you promised to take care of me. It was outside, under the stars, your face tinged pink with the cold and a continuous set of giggles toppling from your mouth as I struggled to stay upright. You spun me around and pulled me close, so swiftly that we almost bumped noses, and your warm breath ghosted over my face.

“I love you” I whispered, brushing a strand of dark hair from your flawless face.

“I love you more” Was your response, spinning me again and giggling when I landed on my ass.

There was the time you came home from work, only to find me sitting in the middle of the floor with tears on my face. My grandmother passed away, I was so close to her, and you scolded me for not calling you sooner. You knelt beside me and pulled me into your chest, arms wrapped securely around me and your lips that were cool from the outside air pressing tiny kisses into my hair.

“Everything is going to be okay” You told me. “I’m here now”. I believed you, of course, because the world was always right with you by my side.

“Thankyou” I mumbled. “I love you”.

There was the time you took me to Paris, for our second anniversary. I had always wanted to go, and you even paid for us to visit the Eiffel tower. Of course, you being who you were, you neglected to tell me you had a fear of heights. I only realised around half way up, but you faced your fear because “I want to see your beautiful face under the stars all the way up there”. The last few floors were a real challenge for you, and though I insisted it didn’t matter you were determined to reach the top.

“You look so beautiful,Vic” You told me, the wind sweeping your hair around your face.

“I’m so proud of you for getting up here” I smiled. “I love you”.

“Yeah, and it’s a good thing I love you, huh?” You replied, that cocky smile playing on your face.

There was the time- one of my most cherished memories- when you proposed. It was so typical of you, too. We met in a record store, when we both wanted to buy the same record. It was Nirvana, In Utero, and you winningly suggested I let you buy it and come over to your house to listen to it with you. I’m so glad I agreed. You took me back to that record store, and I at first thought nothing of it. Not even when you took me down that very same row of discs, where I first laid eyes on you.

“Look at that” You’d said. “It’s our record”. I smiled fondly at that, picking up the record and smoothing my hand over the front.

“I never did get my own copy” I murmured, turning it over to read the back of the sleeve as I had done to your copy so many times. This time, though, there was a slight alteration. Taped to the back was a small silver band, and as I turned to face you you were on one knee with a small crowd beginning to gather.

“Vic, the love of my life, the only thing that matters to me. Will you marry me?”. Tears filled my eyes as I nodded yes, not even having chance to untape the ring as I threw my arms around your neck.

“Of course” I whispered, smiling as you detached the ring and slid it onto my finger. “I love you, so much”.

There was the time we were at a party, and you said I was being hit on. I didn’t think I was, in all honestly, because I was a little drunk and she was a girl. You got a little upset, though, and I noticed you leave so I left her there and followed you. You had a pitiful look in your bright blue eyes, and I shook my head when you explained why you had left. You pouted at me, turning away a little, which was quite frankly adorable.

“Kellin Quinn, you are the only one for me. The fact that she is a girl and I’m so obviously gay should be enough, but I love you so much it hurts and I would never ever replace you”.

You smiled at that, I loved your smile so much, and you wrapped me in your arms and swore you would never let me go.

I told you I loved you a few days before. We were sitting in the garden at my brother Mike’s house, watching him chase around after his little girl. The sun was shining brightly, and I think your pale skin may have even started to burn. You claimed I had ‘flawless Mexican skin’ and that I should stop making fun of you for being pale, but I would tell you I was the opposite of flawless. You frowned at that, folding your arms.

“Excuse me, Victor, you are gorgeous and I will hear no less” You’d said.

“I’m sorry” I laughed. “But I’m afraid that’s you”. You giggled, ducking your head forwards for a kiss.

“Nope. It’s you”. I shook my head at that, grinning.

“I love you” I said, and you replied with another kiss.

That brings me to the time I wish I had. We’d never really argued, you and I. A few minor debates, that were easily forgotten and replaced with cuddles and apologies. I don’t even know why this one started, or how, I just know that we were yelling and we both said such shitty things. We both knew we didn’t mean them, but they were spilled into the air anyway and it ended with you announcing that you’d be back in a few hours before flouncing out and climbing into your car. I knew you often drove around to calm down, or to think, so I shrugged it off and baked you some cookies as a peace offering.

I got the phonecall at 4pm. I slid my phone from my pocket, expecting it to be you and instead I was met with a conversation that no-one ever should have to have, and those five words I wished I never had to hear; “He’s in a critical condition”

You crashed your car, a few blocks away from our house. I’ll never know why, or how. I’m not sure if you were angry with me, or if you were upset with me, or maybe yourself. Of course, I rushed to the hospital as fast as I could but it was in vain. Whilst I was on my way there, you had passed away. I screamed when they told me, yelling at them to do something, fix you, bring you back. I screamed and cried, in the hospital corridor, and nothing would take away that initial pain. They somehow got a hold of Mike, who came and tried to console me. His attempts were wasted. He came with me, to see you and say goodbye. You were so perfect, Kellin. Your eyes were closed and you looked as though you were sleeping. I couldn’t see the bloody mess your poor body was in as you were covered over.

“I’m so sorry” I wept, stroking a few strands of hair from your face like I never would again. “I love you”.

My I love you meant nothing. My last words to you were ‘Fine, see if I care’. Of course I cared. I wished it had been ‘I love you’. It should have been. We should have been going on eighty, graying hair and wrinkled skin and an ‘I love you’ slipping from one of our lips as we passed, the other soon to follow. But no, you were twenty four years old and no matter how many times I tell you I love you it will never be enough.

At your funeral, as I did a short, choked speech and I looked up to the sky and told you I loved you. As I visited, every single day, cross-legged by your gravestone sobbing that I loved you. Every night, before I close my eyes, I glance to the picture of us on my bedside table and tell you I love you. As the months passed, the years, and I still visited your grave at least once a week. To tell you I love you, to tell you how incomplete I am without you by my side. In the pouring rain, when I refuse to leave your side, the shivers that wracked my sobbing body nothing compared to the pain of losing you. As I walk along the street, occasionally getting looks from strangers, I tell myself I love you because they will never look at me the way you did. As the years continued to pass, and my family don’t understand how I never let go.

How can I let go? I don’t know what your last words were, your last thoughts. Did you think of me? Did you hate me? I don’t think you did. Your blue eyes are all I see when I close mine, your beautiful smile haunting me every single day.

I love you, Kellin. As I sit by your grave, describing the world around me and how things have changed. And the strangers, they look at this strange man sitting by the grave and saying his ‘I love you’ with tears pouring down his face. But no matter how many times I tell you I love you, my words are empty. As empty as your spot in the bed, which has remained untouched. As empty as the windowsill you liked to sit at whilst you drew or wrote or looked up at the sky. As empty as your clothes, nobody to wear them as they still hang limply beside mine. And as empty as my heart, without you in my life.

I sit, tracing the familiar worn letters on your grave with my old and wrinkled hands, a small smile gracing my lips for the first time in forever. They said I could bring my letter today, the nurses at the care home that is. I resented them at first, because I wanted you to care for me in my old age and I you, but they bring me here twice a week so I can’t complain. I think they know, that it’s my time. I lived a long life, but it was a hollow and painful one. I know I don’t have long, but I will soon be by your side. I want to see that smile again, those gorgeous eyes and hear your soft voice. But most importantly, I have three words I have to say to you.

“I love you”

Not long now, Kels. See you on the other side, love.