When you told me you loved me for the first time, I didn’t know what to say. I just simply sat there, in your arms, hands in my pockets, staring at you with a startled look. When you said it the second, the third, the fourth time, it hurt that I couldn’t reciprocate those loving words. I didn’t feel it strongly enough to say the word love. The fifth, the sixth, the seventh and later times, I started doubting, doubting your sincerity, doubting your distinction between true love and mere desire.
Sometimes I doubt too much I think I am incapable of love. No, I don’t love you. Definitely not. Not yet. But I know I am capable of loving, other things.
1. I love how you took my hands and crossed the rushing stream, because I wanted to but I was scared, because you wanted to do it yourself. I love that, your naughty, childish side.
2. I love when you told me you liked Fade Into You, when you lost yourself to the mellow melodic songs at The Sonata. That was when I realized your romantic inner self beneath the heartless, carefree mask outside.
3. I love your mean, offensively hilarious comments that show the wit, the humor, the slightly cynical nature that I have always always found irresistibly attractive. You made me laugh, made me irritated, made me think, and made me feel with those comments.
4. I love how you rubbed my scar, licked my dry lips, kissed my acnes, and accepted amorously all my other physical imperfections. I didn’t need you before to feel confident about my look, but those loving gestures warm my heart.
5. I love how you asked me to lick my teeth again and again, how you played along and told me to use my nail to pick out the piece of meat in between my teeth. Your cute goofy side.
6. I love how you lay on me and stroked my lips, my eyes, my ears, how you put on clothes for me when we were done, or more exactly, when we had to stop because it was too painful for me to continue. It made everything feel less like a sinful act of promiscuity.
7. I love how you took a xe om from District 4 to my house, a good 10 km, at 10:30 pm, just to see me and to say you loved me (though like I said, it made me more dumbfounded than happy). But god knows I love that, your crazy, spontaneous side. I have always always always wanted someone like that in my life who makes me feel free, young, and alive with his whim.
8. I love how you make plans with me, plans that include me despite all your spontaneity. When you said you wanted to do something with me this year, to go on a vacation, to hold a party and invite our friends, it melted something I’d never thought I had, a heart.
9. I love how you talked so fondly of your sister. I hope, and I believe, whoever loves his sister that much will love his girlfriend just the same.
10. And believe it or not, I love your accent, the central Vietnamese accent that I could understand only 80% but one day if I could no longer hear it, I would have missed it like crazy, like I do now.