Is This Love?

by Mackenzie Taylor
Alberta, Canada
genre: General

...He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not...

  He loves me. I know he does. I love him too. At least, I think I do. Is this really what it is to feel love? I’m not really sure what it is to feel love. He holds my hands and kisses me. He calls every night and we talk. We talk for hours and hours. About anything and everything. Sometimes we don’t sleep; but don’t tell anyone. He’s tall and handsome and cute. We’re very different though. He loves hard rock and metal music. I, on the other hand, love musical theatre soundtracks and Disney movies. He’s never even seen Beauty and the Beast. 

  I met him through a friend. They’ve been best friends for years and they lived across the street from each other. We were hanging out once, at the park, and that friend had to go home but we stayed. We walked around the mini forest that overlooks most of our little neighbourhood. We sat under the trees in the shade, hiding from the bright summer sun in July. I’m a few months older than him but it’s not like you could tell. We play “20 questions” and “truth or dare” and “would you rather” until it gets dark. Ha asks me who my crush is. I don’t tell him. I ask him the same. He deflects. We both know the answer the other will give. It’s almost comical our dodging of each other in this partner dance we partook in. I tend to be more on the shy and self-doubtful side but he’s outgoing so there was no telling where this would’ve gone. We ended up admitting to our feelings and kissing each other for the first time. Sitting on a bench next to a skating rink turned basketball court, watching the sunset. It’s almost perfect. 

  We hung out as often as we could. Walking to other parks, hanging out at that friend's house, lying on hills. That friend by the way, he’s technically my uncle. My mom's parents adopted him years after having kids of their own, making him my mom’s brother and my uncle, not that we talk about that because he’s younger than me so we say he’s my cousin. Anyway, we all lived close. We could walk to each other’s houses in 10 minutes or less. My parents actually never met him. I kept it quiet. I even ended up sneaking out once. That was fun. And I’ve never done it again. In general, we were good. We were both each other’s first relationship so we took things slow. For the most part anyway. I was told to be careful. By my parents, by his friend who I’d met once or twice, even by that mutual “friend”. That one was odd but I guess they did know each other well. I probably should’ve listened to them, but I didn’t. I thought I loved him. I’m sure I did. I think I still do. You know, that night at the park, when we had our first kiss, he told me he loved me. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have said it back in the moment because it was practically our first day together. It was the first time we’d hung out, even if we did hang out all day. 

  I did grow to love him. And we said it when we talked on the phone more often than not. Taking things slow was not something he was particularly happy to do if his early saying of “I love you” was any indication. I tend to think the best in people, even after they do bad things. Even after they do bad things to me. He ended up lying a lot. To me, to his parents, to that friend. We stopped hanging out as often though that probably had something to do with him moving. We still talked nightly, about anything and everything. He always said I love you, and not just to say goodbye but during our conversations too. That has to mean something, right? 

  To this day, I’m still not sure if he loved me. I’m still not sure if I loved him. I’ve had other relationships where I felt very different.  A different kind of love. I’m not sure if that means I didn’t love him or if the love that you feel changes shape with each person. He’s always in the back of my mind. We talked about getting married, I planned our wedding. We talked about travelling, I thought about when we could do that. We talked about having kids, I thought of baby names. Like I said, we talked about everything. I’m sure he loved me. I’m sure I loved him. I think.

...He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me...

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