It takes me the first three decades of my life to become the woman who can write this.
There are two kinds of love. Love. ( The tin-can heart crunching, dream sharpening variety.) And love, actually.
I want to write poetry about love, actually- but let’s face it. My knees are still too scraped, my knuckles too bruised, my eyes a little too achy.
So, I’ll just talk to you about love, actually. The most important part about love, actually- is that it is unromanticized love. It doesn’t begin with a boy meets girl story, though a few times, it has. It doesn’t belong in a meet cute, although my best friend will tell our meet-uncute story like it is one.
It is the way she calls me nearly every evening, because she senses I need it. It is the way he always buys me postcards whenever he travels, writes them, puts them in an envelope and mails me a bunch, every few months or so- just because. It is the way he does this without asking me to return the favor. It is the strings of origami stars around my house that someone else’s hands made, without wanting me to give them a sky. It is the perfect set of white curtains that my friend chose for my room when I couldn’t go shopping with her, because she knows me. It is the way someone rode a train to come and see me a day after an accident. It is unconditional cupcake supply love. It is the fact that someone will always tease me to make me laugh on days when I’m cracking grim jokes. It is my sister sending me voice notes at multiple times through the day. It is my best friend, holding my hand, telling me I’m home, she’s right here. It is Unicorn’s voice on the phone, grainy honey and kindness- telling me it is alright to be myself. It is my father calling me to check I drove home safe. It is my mother’s awkward arms around me, her insistence that breakages will always heal. It is the message my friend sends me the day I think of her, even though we haven’t spoken in months. It is another friend choosing music for a road trip, and packing me breakfast, and feeding me when I drive. It is the way our laughter spills over one of the bluest mornings together. It is the way she listens so hard to me that I stop talking about life and am able to talk about death, before I go back to talking about life. It is someone telling his sister that I’m his best friend. It is a gift, offered without thought of return, a joke that wraps its arms around me and won’t stop tickling, it is the spontaneous hug she gave me when I accidentally talked about the other love and kind of had to stop.
There’s the kind of love that shoots your heart to stars, and scorches it into fragments. There’s the kind of love that makes you feel emptied, restless, heartsick in it’s absence.
There’s the kind of love as simple as the unconditional ground beneath your feet, the infinite bounce of air in your lungs. The love that has no name, no glitter, no billboard. The love that will not simply end if you make a mistake, say the wrong set of sentences, collide too hard in misunderstanding. The love that will wait. The love which continues to walk with you no matter how confused, complicated, broken and ashamed you are. The love that continues to look at your face without judgement, only tenderness. The love that steadies your spine, tells you that no matter how lost you are- it trusts your heart is in the right place. The love that says, I see you, I only seek to love you, and I will not forsake you. The love that does not choose if you are worthy of loving or leaving, but stays just because. The love that exists because you helped bring it into existence, as well. I asked her why she hadn’t left yet. ” Sweetheart, I learned to stay from you.” The love that we teach each other, through simply paying attention and showing up.
There is the love that turns you to ash in it’s wake.
And there is the love that refuses to judge you, walks with you, each achy step of the way, picks up your 6am phone call, books a cab and shows up because it does not exist to forsake you. It exists to love you, actually.