To Seven People Who Told Me "I love you"


I. You’ve always had this skewed, romanticized view of me.

It’s been that way since we were fourteen.

You adored my knobby knees and loud mouth.

You liked that my lipstick stained the filters of my cigarettes

and you thought my weird quirks with food made me unique.

Back then, I appreciated that you didn’t question any of my habits.

If you had asked, the illusion of me would have shattered.

I mistook your desire to maintain my ideal image in your mind for love.

I think you did, too.


II. We sat on the curb at four am,

still drunk from the previous night, on more than one occasion.

You cried when you told me about the time you cut too deep

and I cried when I told you I couldn’t eat more than 200 calories a day.

We found solace in each other’s dysfunction.

You told me you loved me for the first time

the night I lost my virginity to someone else.

The next morning, I learned the man’s name who deflowered me

when you screamed at me for cheating on you, with a man no less.

It didn’t occur to you that you left me alone with a man eight years my senior

when I was fourteen

and blackout drunk

and passed out on a couch.

I was just the bitch you could no longer love

because someone else had sex with me.


III. I couldn’t remember your name even if I tried.

We met at a bonfire when I was sixteen and you were twenty five.

My ID said I was twenty two and you didn’t question it.

We talked for a few hours on the beach before we drunkingly "made love"

in the passenger seat of your car.

You told me you were in love

and I told you that you were killing my buzz and ruining the moment.


IV. We dated for a year and a half.

You were four years older but you said you never noticed.

One night you found me manically writing in your apartment,

in the same place where you left me six hours earlier.

A spilled bottle and a line of crushed pills sat next to me.

You reminded me how much you loved me

and begged for me to let you help.

When I refused, we ended.

You were the only one I really loved.


V. You used to climb into my bedroom on the second story of my parents home,

through my window at two am.

You’d jump on my bed until I woke up,

kiss me and say

“If you love me as much as I love you,

you’ll get your ass out of bed and go skinny dipping in Haleiwa with me,

right now."

I never could resist your long hair and giant brown eyes.

Girl, you always knew how to play me.


VI. We talked endlessly and hung out for six months.

We never kissed.

We never had sex.

Hell, we never touched aside from hugs or when I’d jokingly hit you.

The night you told me you thought you might love me,

you called me wasted.

“I think I might love you,

but I can’t sleep with you.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to sleep with any girl again”.

You always were full of shit.

I still couldn’t tell you what we were

or how I feel about you.


VII. The first time I told myself 
"I love you,"
I didn't quite believe the words.
I repeated them over and over again,
until finally they started sounded true.
-I love you
I love you
I love you
I love ME.
I told myself I disliked the people who told me they loved me
as a way of getting what they wanted.
I'm just as bad as them, I suppose.



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