Absence of “Too”

When you say   
“I love you Quille”   
I feel my heart tingle 
As my mouth refuses to open 
Your mom laughs  
As if she can see the discomfort   
Seeping through my pores 
We were talking about nothing   
Driving to the grocery store   
AC blasting   
When you blurted those words  
It’s standard 
To repeat them 
Followed by a "too"   
As long as the feeling is mutual   
And it is 
But often   
My mind and mouth   
Don’t communicate   
Instead of saying it back  
I say   
You haven’t learned rejection  
My acknowledging you 
Is all you need 
To put a smile on your face  
The sting of not receiving back  
What you've given  
Doesn't hurt you  
At least  
Not today 
It's not easy for me to repeat  
Those words back  
It's not because I don't feel  
I don't know how  
Affection is not my best trait  
Love for me  
Is being active in your life 
Love for me is being here  
Sitting in this car  
With you and your mom  
Always here when you need me 
Rarely saying how much I care 
Love from me  
Is incomplete  
You deserve to hear those words  
And I’m robbing you of that  
I want to tell you  
I love you too  
Instead, I look out the passenger window  
Too afraid to be vulnerable  
Because expressing I care  
Is a language I haven't mastered  
And I don't want you to inherit  
My terminology 
So, I'm working on the courage  
To say I love you too  
Loving you 
Has earned its place 
In my journey 

Shaquille Telford
A millennial trying to understand love.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful poetry as always. You said 2x : I love you too.

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