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dimension of love

The different faces of love

Wedding preparations were well underway. In the next few days, I was to marry the man who loved me. Any bride in my place would be glowing with happiness. But here I was feigning excitement in front of friends and family. For some reason, I was having second thoughts about the huge step I was about to take.

It’s just cold feet. Brian and I are extremely compatible. My heart is safe with him. But have I really given my heart to him?... Thoughts ran wild in my mind. I went up to my room and closed the door behind me. Just then, a boyish image of Alvin flashed into my mind. I was surprised that I even remembered him—it had been 10 long years since we last saw each other. He was my first love, but whenever I thought of Alvin, it was never a sudden recollection. It was a gentle reassurance that I never allowed myself to forget him in the first place.

I was a 19-year-old when I first met Alvin online in a chat room. His messages were coated with wit, sarcasm and flirtatiousness that I was instantly fascinated by him. Days grew longer as I impatiently longed to chat with him. Months later, Alvin timidly asked for my number, and called me within hours of it. The sound of his voice felt like music to my ears.

After months of calling and texting, we decided to meet in person. The first time I saw Alvin, my heart was pounding. When our eyes met, I felt instantly drawn toward him. In that moment, I knew I was in love. There I was, free falling, hoping against hope that he would be there to catch me. However, not everything we wish for comes true. Over the course of time, Alvin made it clear he did not feel the same way about me, and I spent the following months battling pain and heartache. It was then that I swore to keep my heart guarded.

Years later, when Brian came along, it was a role-reversal. It was he who fell head over heels in love with me, whereas I remained stoic. Even when he popped the question one fine morning, I weighed the pros and cons of marrying him. I took my time to say yes.

Suddenly, I was snapped out of my reverie. “Anna, I just came by to say I love you,” Brian was standing behind me. In that moment, I realised something profound: A part of me will always love Alvin. Through him, I experienced love with all its highs and lows, racing heartbeats and butterflies in the stomach. Even though we weren’t meant to be, I’ll cherish our memories and wish him well. But what about Brian? Do I love him? I asked myself again. I instantly realised, that my relationship with Brian had elements of mutual trust and warmth. Through him, I was experiencing a different facet of love—a love built on a strong bond of friendship.

I took my fiancé’s hands in mine. “I love you too, Brian O’Neil,” I replied, with my heart finally at ease.

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