July 2, 2017

We Still Say I Love You.

“I don’t think love ever goes anywhere,” I said.

Relationships change, shift, transform—and sure, so does love—but in my experience, love stays.

I was reminded that I’m only 25.

Okay, yes, I speak only from my brief experience of being in this body, this life, this world. But, if time is truly a phenomenon of our own making—if, as so many mystical traditions maintain, all that we are, all that we have been, and all that we will be exist simultaneously—then how could any love offered, received, or shared ever disappear?

How could love do anything but exist now—and in existing now, exist always?

That is not to say that we don’t sometimes, even often, grow apart from the ones we love. We do. That’s not to say we don’t consciously choose to put some loves away in a dusty cupboard, because they don’t fit into our lives anymore. We do that too. And that’s not to say love doesn’t occasionally overstay its welcome. It can.

It’s only to say that maybe love sticks around even if the home we’ve built for it falls to pieces. And there’s something comforting about that.

This is for the optimists and romantics who, like me, are glad to believe that love stays:

We still say I love you

when we hang up the phone,
when we send short texts
across miles and oceans.

We still say I love you,

even though our skin has not touched for years,
even though my fingers have not reached for yours,
even though we wake beside other warm bodies
and—maybe—other loves.

We still say I love you

with a soft, clear voice
with a shy, little smile;
we take turns going first.
The words cross years
and heartbreaks
and betrayals
and regrets.

I always thought this love
was older—wiser—than us;
surely it wouldn’t vanish so soon.
Our worlds may change, yet it remains—

If that isn’t magic,
what is?

We still say I love you 

when we hang up the phone.
Much more than three words,
it carries us home.

We still say I love you

and I don’t know a lot,
but I do know
it’s the truth.


Author: Toby Israel
Image: Courtesy of Author, with permission from Zen Monkey Photography
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman


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