When I was young, I kept hearing the phrase ‘I love you’ on television and wondering what it meant. When I asked my parents what love was, they tried to explain to me in all sorts of ways so that I could understand. In the end, I concluded that love was the warm fuzzy feeling I get in my heart.
When I was four, I fell in love. It happened when my aunt came to my house for a visit. She smiled at me and told me to recite the alphabets from A-Z . I couldn’t remember all twenty six of them and had to skip a few. Nonetheless, my aunt pressed the stick of pink lollipop into my palm. I remembered staring at it for a long time, admiring the pretty and glossy surface of the pink lollipop. When I finally licked it, a surge of sweetness travelled through the tip of my tongue and filled my body. It was awesome! It made me feel happy throughout the day. I told my older cousin I fell in love with my pink lollipop and she laughed at me for a week. I couldn’t understand why.
When I was eight, I fell in love again. This time, it was a strawberry cheesecake bought from a store. My mother bought it and gave me a small slice to try. The cheesecake melted in my mouth like ice cream on a hot day. Its smooth creamy texture and sweet strawberries gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, so I told my mother I was in love with the strawberry cheesecake. She merely ruffled my hair with a laugh and told me to eat more of it.
When I was twelve, my classmate Seungyeon told me she loved me. I was puzzled because I didn’t get any warm fuzzy feelings when I was with her. Nonetheless, we held hands and ate lunch together in school. One day, while we were eating ice cream in the park, Seungyeon suddenly kissed me on my cheek. I was in shock! She told me she loved me but I told her I didn’t have any warm fuzzy feelings in my heart, so it couldn’t had been love. She got so upset and left, crying buckets of tears as she walked away.
When I was fourteen, I had the biggest crush on my classmate at high school. By now, I understood that love was a type of expression for liking someone. She was so pretty and had long black hair. My heart thumped like crazy whenever I saw her. Sometimes, I felt like the air was sucked out of me whenever she walked past me. Many times I wanted to approach her to confess my feelings for her but I always backed out at the last minute. My hands would shake and my legs would turn into jelly. In the end, I lost my crush to a senior at school. I told myself I wouldn’t make the same mistake again if I met someone I like next time.
When I was eighteen, I drummed up the courage to confess to a girl I liked in college. I was overjoyed when she agreed to be my girlfriend. She was part of the netball team and I was surprised she fell for a plain-looking person like me. After three months, she told me she was sick of me and that I didn’t do enough for her. Then she broke up with me. I remembered crying for days, wondering what I did wrong. I did a lot of things for her; doing her homework, taking lecture notes for her, bringing her dirty sports attire to the laundry for cleaning, washed her car and even bought her meals. Yet she told me I didn’t do enough. I couldn’t understand.
When I was twenty six, life seemed good when I got into my second relationship with a business associate I knew from a company function. She was generous and often showered me with expensive gifts such as watches and bags. Once in a while, she would treat me to expensive dinners at lavish restaurants. What I wanted wasn’t all these gifts and dinners. I wanted her; her mind, body and soul. However, she was hardly around. She was busy chasing the corporate ladder, aiming to climb to the top and neglected me. Even when I broke up with her, she didn’t ask me the reason but merely told me to keep the gifts she gave.
Now at thirty, I am glad to have met you. We met through a mutual friend and there was an instant spark. Though our personalities are different, we are able to connect both emotionally and intellectually. I remember the first time we met, we chatted through the night; both of us unwilling to say goodbye to each other.
The second time we met. It was at an aquarium. It suddenly struck me how beautiful you were when you were illuminated by the glow of the fish tanks as we walked through the tunnel. My heart ruled over my mind and I reached out to hold your hand. I was relieved when you didn’t shake my hand away but instead intertwined your fingers with mine.
You’ve shown me how love is selfless and completely unconditional when you spent days at my bedside when I encountered a traffic accident. You accept my flaws and failures and encourage me to go on. You give me that warm fuzzy feeling I got when I was five (except that it is much better than I had ever imagined).
Tomorrow is the day you put the ring on my finger. I, Kim Taeyeon, can’t wait to tell you that I will love you, in sickness and health, for better and worse, and till the day we die.
I love you, Sooyeon.