Four Times I’ve Been Told “I Love You”
- 2006, in the basement of a Crownsville McMansion: I can’t remember if this was before or after we lost our virginities. We sat on a cracked leather couch, and he wrapped his arms around me. I didn’t say anything.
- 2010, in a bathroom in a Bloomingdale rowhouse: We had drank heavily at his sister’s friend’s birthday party, and the beer I shotgunned pushed me over the edge. I threw up when we got out of the cab and again in his bathroom. He leaned in the doorway. I told him he wouldn’t mean it in the morning.
- 2012, at Smoke & Barrel: I had gotten back from Amsterdam and started a new job. My old coworkers took me out for belated farewell drinks. I had a voicemail from him asking not if he could come over after his shift but if I would call him. I did. “I love you, Alex, and I’m not moving to Germany,” he said. I took three shots of Buffalo Trace and cried.
- 2013, at Smoke & Barrel: All I wanted to impress upon him—the only person, insofar, to make me reconsider my relatively ironclad stances on getting married and having kids—was how much it mattered having unfettered access to him, time that wasn’t broken up by our real or perceived obligations; how after five months, I hadn’t had a chance to get sick of being around him. He told me that he was moving to San Francisco, because I wasn’t enough to keep him in D.C., but that he loved me and didn’t want to hurt me. I took my glasses off, pressed my palms into my eyes, and wished I knew how to make love stay.