The first time you told me you loved me, Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” serenaded us through tangled headphones.
“Look for the girl with the broken smile,
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile,
And she will be loved.”
We were on a crowded bus coming back from a championship high school football game.
How cliché, I thought.
I looked around to see if my friends had heard your whispers,
wondering if they’d be staring back at me with wide-eyed smiles.
Instead, their heads were slumped onto one another’s shoulders,
sleeping off the excitement from the game.
I was taken back—I whispered, “What?” in return, pretending not to hear you.
Or maybe I wanted to see if you’d confess again,
just to be sure you meant it.
“I love you, Caisse.”
This time it resonated with me.
I said it back with hesitation;
I must’ve stuttered, too.
I’m sure it didn’t sound sincere in the slightest,
even though my entire body was shaking with butterflies.
Those damn butterflies,
I can still feel them today.
I felt like the poster child for a first love.
All I could think was, how could this beautiful boy I met a mere two months ago already love me?
But you did, I’m sure of it.
And if it were now…
Well, now I would scream it back from the rooftops.
I’d cry, “I love you, too” until my throat burned red
and there was no more voice left in me
if it meant that you’d say it all over again.
I wouldn’t whisper,
I wouldn’t hesitate,
I wouldn’t doubt.
But there are always those would’ve,