The three words that mean the most aren’t “I love you”, with its history of being an accomplice to lies, with its bad reputation as a myth. What is “I love you” but the easy way out, the secret weapon revealed at the ends of long-drawn battles between desperation and despair? “I love you” is what you say when you run out of valid arguments but decide to keep fighting anyway. “I love you” is what you use when you want to appear to be someone you’re not. These are powerful words, powerful in the way that politicians and generals are nowadays, worth their weight in gold. “I love you” has been the pillar of empires and friendships, and their causes for downfall. “I love you” is where you build the tower of your trust, only to see it crumble down when these words are said to someone else. “I love you” is what you use when you want to be unfair, when you want to deliberately hurt. “I love you” throws the whole equation in chaos, unbalances the seesaw. It implies the loss of reason and pride, but is used to manipulate, to blackmail, leaving behind disillusionment and disappointment.
The three words that mean the most aren’t “I want you”, with its raw, blatant inconsideration, its implications of a primal need that is best released orgasmically. “I want you” is what spoiled brats say, it’s what selfish bitches say, it’s what horny boys say. “I want you” is harsh, said through clenched teeth, said with wild eyes. “I want you” is a physical sentence, the amalgamation of skin against a number of factors: skin on skin, fingernail on skin, teeth on skin. It is violent and rapid, a whirlwind of emotion, an explosion of saliva and other bodily fluids. These are words that have no origin, they emerge from the basest of instincts, they are triggered by smell, by touch, by the look of rawness in another person’s eyes. These are words that signal the coming of a storm, and like most storms, they wreak havoc and then depart, leaving behind ruin and wounds.
The three words that mean the most aren’t “I need you”, with its childish, clingy implications, its sad, pathetic grievances. “I need you” leaves you open, blinding you to yourself, eradicating all traces of self-respect. “I need you” is the dying breath of a failed relationship. It is the battlecry of an overpowered suitor. These words signal the clinging to memories that are either long gone, or never were. These words bypass true necessity to make fools out of the sayers. These are not words to be used by all; it takes the strongest persons to relay this message correctly. Otherwise all is naught, you only reveal yourself as an empty shell craving for something, anything, to fill it. But then, the strongest persons never have the need to say these words. It’s the irony of life. These words are like taking a knife to your throat and piercing your skin gently, leaving behind a trail of blood too thin for anyone to see, but painful enough for you to feel.
The three words that mean the most, I think, the ones that really hit the mark, and often in the most unexpected of ways, are “I miss you”. This is the sentence that sends the message right home. Because what other message is there? Nothing else, except exactly just that, “I miss you”, and everything else is pulled along into it, like a chain reaction. Unlike “I love you” and the lies that go along with it, “I miss you” is honest and sincere, you only say it when you mean it, and you don’t have to mean it in a big way to really mean it. Unlike “I want you” and its expectations, “I miss you” offers all it has, and waits for nothing in return. Unlike “I need you” and its desperate whines, “I miss you” stands on its own, a whole entity in just three words, devoid of arms that cling to you for life.
“I miss you” means everything and nothing, it is unflinching and honest. It is upbeat and simple, with wisps of longing and clouds of hope. You miss people you used to love, people you used to want, people you used to need. But most of the time the missing is all that’s left, and that’s OK, there’s nothing else you’d change. The missing implies a past that remains in its rightful place. Or it implies the reality and possibilities of the present. It is hope and love and lust and peace all at the same time. Some people say that when they met that person, it was akin to “coming home”. And missing is this manifestation of home-sickness, the way people return to their homelands to die, the way all the comfort the world has to offer is nothing compared to the feeling of being in someone’s arms.
And that’s why I miss you, because you’re not here, and because every time I think about you, that’s all that I think. I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, and the world turns for both of us, and I can’t wait until you come home.
Credits from Caravaggio of Peyups