She would never forget when

they were making love

and he paused

to say, ‘I love you’.

He was holding himself up,

looking down at her,

and breathing hard,

taking a break

from the perfume

of her neck.

Though he had

said it often

before then, it was

as if in that moment,

whilst they were

most connected,

he had realised it

truly for the first time,

and had to say it

out loud, to himself

at least. She had

been touched

by his abruptness,

and the way

he had looked at her –

something plaintive

in his expression that

could not be refused.