"What We Talk About When We Don't Talk About Love"

Every relationship has unspoken rules, and the rule in our relationship is that we don’t talk about love.

It’s not that the word “love” is forbidden. We say “love” all the time. We “love” the plans that we have for this weekend. You “love” my cooking. I “love” that you drive safely. You “love” my body. I “love” how good you smell. You “love” that I don’t take long to get ready. I “love” the water pressure in your shower. We “love” that neither of us has too many clothes. We “love” our mornings together. We “love” the few nights we still spend apart.  

What we don’t ever say is “I love you.”

As a writer, I am aware of the importance of word choice. Dialogue, I tell my students, is one of the most important ways to convey character. But sometimes it’s what’s not being said that matters more than what is.

I’m aware, too, of the distance between words and what they signify. I know all too well that, when it comes to pinning something down precisely, language is a vehicle full of failures. It’s hard to say what we mean when what we feel is so separate from what we say… 

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