The "L word" got dropped. But let me start at the beginning....
After this exchange, Gardner and I had a conversation. Try to imagine a conversation between a man and a woman about what they wanted and expected from a relationship; a conversation where they were both honest and upfront; one where the guy asked the woman how she was feeling, and said he was happy they were talking.
And you thought this wasn't a science fiction blog...
Anywho - the conversation went really well, and it seemed like we were both on the same page. So, we kept seeing each other, and over the course of several more dates, started to get really comfortable with one another.
Then it happened. Late one night, he said he hoped it would be OK if he said he loved me.
No. Nope. It's not OK. It just isn't at all.
Why? Because love puts so much pressure on what I thought would just be a nice, casual, fun relationship. It rushes things, instead of letting them develop naturally. It places expectations where they don't belong.
I was telling a friend of mine what Gardner said, and he told me that he hates being the first to say the word. So much so that now, he says, "I think I'm falling for you."
I like that. "I love you" sounds like minivans and balancing the checkbook and arguing over where to eat Thanksgiving dinner. "I'm falling for you" sounds like a walk in the park, romantic meals and flowers for no reason.
In case you're wondering, I didn't respond to Gardner. I let it slide, hoping that maybe he was just caught up in the moment, and he'd forget about it.
How sophisticated and mature of me, no?