Sometimes, you’ll see me flinch when you say “I love you.” It’s not a bad thing. I’m startled.
I forget you love me a lot.
And the sad thing is, it’s nothing you did. I’m a depressive. That’s my disease. No matter how much adoration has flowed between us, no matter what grand gestures you make to prove your affection to me, I forget. I’m like an emotional amnesiac, my good feelings forever being erased to leave me with shadows of doubt and terror. Sometimes I read old texts of yours to try to remember what it felt like being loved, and all I come away with is cruel reinterpretations of how those kind words didn’t really mean what I thought they did.
I don’t want this. I merely survive with it.
And I know my inability to remember consistently costs me. My past is strewn with exes who exhausted themselves through increasingly grander gestures, convinced that if they kissed me the right way then all this depression would vanish like dew in the summer sun. And when it didn’t, they decided I was being stubborn, and left.
You haven’t. Not yet.
Don’t think I’m not grateful. Don’t think my endless, shivering fear that today you’ve stopped loving me means that I don’t love you – why would I be afraid of you going unless you meant something to me?
And don’t think I’m not trying. Like I said, I reread your old texts, I recall your warm embraces, I recount all the lovely things you’ve done for me, all in an imperfect attempt to transform cold memories into some flickering ember of love to warm myself by. I will flinch sometimes, and be shocked, and yes, sometimes be the pain in the ass who asks “You love me, right?” at the worst times – but I am trying, oh so trying, to retain what emotional memories I can.
Then there are the days when you ask the right question at the right time. A simple text: “Do you know I love you today?”
That “today” makes all the difference.
That “today” lets me know that I might forget tomorrow, and you’ll be here to remind me.
That “today” tells me you understand my illness in all the ways I need you to.
And yes. Yes, I know today. I know today, and it is wonderful because for a brief moment I can feel that love flowing between us like a river, and maybe I’ll forget the warmth of water tomorrow but for right now I know it yes I know it.
I love you.
That’s something I never forget.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.