There is a progression to the speakings of love. Everyone knows it, feels it. It's this stomach-knotting heart-pounding flush that grows over you, over time. Where being friends just doesn't quite explain how closely you enjoy her sitting next to you at dinner (why would you sit across the table?) and buying plane tickets across the country to see each other for a few weeks at a time seems easily explainable to friends and family. And finally you muster up the courage to call a spade a spade, you say the first of two "L" words after some sputtering on about how much you enjoy her company, how dear she is to you, how you've realized that she might quite possibly be more than a friend: you Like her. And that is enough to hear in return. It's more than you could have hoped for. And for months it sustains you, it defines you, it keeps you civil to the outside world as you do the giddy dance of being in Like. But soon you realize that the dance changes, that you have begun to try and find other words to tell her what she means to you. No, it isn't that the words "I like you" are incorrect, they are merely inaccurate. They are true but are they true enough, are they heavy enough? You begin to tell her how much you adore her, how she is the best of friends, how you are enamored with her, and you begin to realize that, quite unexpectedly, you are doing the delicate dance of avoiding the second "L" word. That all of the words begin to add up and whether or not it is said out loud or merely communicated through the way you look at her, you Love her. And when you speak it, it stops the world from spinning. It is an expected shock, as if naming what is already there and known and felt is somehow revolutionary, or gives light to a stunning discovery that's been hidden in plain sight for so long. The giddiness deepens, it is more certain now. Constant. And yet you still find there are times when you tell her you love her and you have to stop her, facing her squarely, as if to say "no, I don't think you understand...I Love you." If you could turn your words into something tangible you would press it into her hand for her to carry all day long, proof of what you feel. Buying her flowers, taking her on dates, holding her when she's sick, staying up way too late doing nothing and loving it, these things are like photos of what you feel. If only you could find the words to tell it truly, to say what you really mean.
And so you find yourself buying a ring. Awaiting her arrival to where you are living in France. Setting up a surprise picnic in the mountains. Dressing up and climbing the hill and dancing and laughing and crying and shouting when she realizes that it's all for her. And then getting on one knee and asking her to be your wife. Because the only way you can think to tell her what you really feel is to say that you want to take forever trying to explain it.
I do not know what the next step is in this language. But I would like to take forever trying to figure it out with you Marianne. I'm sure it will come.