She says I love you.
He says nothing.
It says nothing to him, what she says. It says nothing - no that’s not quite true. It says I want you to say you love me. It says I want to trap you, I want you to commit to me in a way that you will regret and will cause you suffering at some unspecified future date. It says that he would be wise to keep his mouth shut at this point.
She says nothing. It says nothing to her that he says nothing, no that’s not quite true. It says that she is a strong independent woman. It says that she doesn’t need to hear him say he loves her. It says that she is a mistress of self-deception.
She says she loves him again, several days later. She says it and then she immediately turns away on some inconsequential errand. She says it like this to show him, to show him how complete she is in herself, how much she doesn’t need to hear him say it.
She says it whenever she feels like it, which is quite often; she is scrupulous never to say it with any expectation that he will reply in kind.
He says it twice in the ten years they live together. He says it once at the moment of orgasm, she discounts this because their sex life is good so his utterance can reasonably be regarded as an involuntary ejaculation.
It says something that she can never remember what the other occasion was.
It says something that she can never work out what it is that it says.