There Are No Magic Words

an abstract image of red swirls with 3 starbursts

“I should never have used that word,” I said. “The L word. I thought nothing of it, but they totally got the wrong idea.”

“Oh, but it’s YOU!” she said.

“I know,” I agreed.

“Anyone who knows you, well… they know you say that to everybody. There’s a different way that you act when you’re in love with someone. I saw it with Rob. I saw it with Skyspook,” she said.

“I turn into an emoji with hearts for eyes. I send them reams of erotica and love poetry. I shout it from the rooftops.”

She nodded. “You were treating Michelle like how you treat friends.” She went on to contrast my way of speaking with another friend of hers. For him, saying the L word is a giant event, an indicator that he is over the moon, absolutely stricken.

“Not that there’s anything whatsoever wrong with that, but you throw ‘love’ the fuck around,” she added.

“No, no, you’re right.”

I love strangers’ shoes, a beautiful day, the way the ground smells after it rains. I love bad TV. I love a good joke the first time I hear it.

Of course, I love my husband, too, and I love my friends, but there are so many meanings to this one word “love” that by itself, without the proper context, it doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Even when professed clear eyed and romantically, “I love you” isn’t a promise or a formal commitment. It’s a feeling, and an ambiguous one at that.

And besides, I catch feels like I catch Pokémon. Whether they evolve is another matter altogether.

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