By Jamie Delos Reyes
1. Maybe to love is to expose your heart while it is still bleeding, hoping and trusting that the other person will press their hands gently against your chest and stem the violent flow.
2. Maybe to love is to believe in the unbelievable. To see the impossible abstractions that surround us, to have faith in the things we cannot see, to put our full weight on something we cannot ever touch.
3. Maybe to love is to show them our ugly, to see how they’ll react when they see how rotten and burnt our core is, and once they do, to wonder if they’ll still find it in them to say, “How absolutely lovely.”
4. Maybe love doesn’t exist. Maybe it is a mere social construct created to sell paperbacks and songs and pretty pictures and flowers and chocolate, deluding us to think that there is something more to this life, that we are not just bags of red meat and brittle bones born to eat and fuck and shit until we die and the world goes on as it has for millions of years, even without us in it.
5. Maybe love doesn’t have to be grand fireworks all the time. Maybe it’s walking around at one in the morning, with no makeup on, hair disheveled and still seeing the beauty in her biggest pores and in the ripest pimples. Maybe love really is blind that way. Or maybe love is total clarity, meant to show us how pretty flaws can be.
6. Maybe love was meant to splash different colors in our sky to show us that blue is not the only thing we can surround ourselves with.
7. Maybe to love is to stay even when your feet is itching to run away, to recognize that escape is a vacation and they are the person you want to take with you on a train to nowhere.
8. Maybe love is the liberty to be alone, knowing that there will still be a home to come back to, someone whose arms will always be open to accept and welcome without judgment and explanations and questions.
9. Maybe love is a lie. How can four letters contain the vastness of that idea? How can one word have the resilience not to burst as it holds in it all that is good and passionate and safe? Is the word “love” a diamond? Is it metal or titanium? Who agreed to use such a dull word to represent the whole world?
10. Maybe to love is to empty yourself over and over again until you finally know how much you can hold.
11. Maybe love is just a term for true human connection, to call that feeling we get when we find somebody who gets us and doesn’t turn away when we show them the darkness that resides in our bodies. Maybe it’s somebody to sit quietly in the darkness with until our eyes adjust to the light and it doesn’t scare us so much anymore.
12. Maybe to love is to embrace the fears and anxiety and need for control, and to recognize that they are part of the package. Maybe it’s not supposed to be easy. Maybe it should be difficult. Maybe it’s supposed to turn us inside out and terrify us, because the things that are most worth it usually exist under the imposing shadow of complete destruction.
13. Maybe to love is to understand nothing, but to simultaneously crave the warmth of their hands on your skin, to recognize that there is no other person in this world whose embrace you would gladly run to. Maybe it’s to know their lips and know satisfaction. Maybe it’s pride and humility at the same time, because you were deemed worthy to share in blessed imperfection.
14. Maybe love is the universe winking slyly, asking us, “What will you do with the good I give you?”
15. And maybe the answer does not rely on us alone. Maybe to love is to answer that question together, over and over, in all the different, possible ways we can.
16. Maybe love is already here, is already now, and we must take the plunge without knowing how deep the water is because love, when it is genuine, always saves