“I love you” is a statement. “How are you?”, an inquiry.
“I love you” is a dish on the menu.
“How are you?” takes us out of the restaurant and into the car on an open road going anywhere.
Like when we first met.
“How are you?” lets the wind of your words lick the space by my ears.
“How are you?” blew up the hairs on my skin and made me rest deep in my own solar plexus, as I paused for response.
Remember when we asked questions?
I felt closer to you when I didn’t know you well, than I have since.
“I love you” was like punctuation ending the sentence.
“How are you?” opened up paragraphs of sharing.
“I love you” was a bracelet, belt or scarf circling wrist or waist or neck. It could be put on, or taken off.
“How are you?” was the cave under the skin where we let each other explore. It can’t be shelved or lost, because it’s within.
When you thought you knew me less, you were full of questions.
When you weren’t worried about saying the right response, you were more honest.
So was I.
When I thought you knew me less, I felt more present and less hesitant. More open and less guarded or attached to outcome.
Remember when we thought it was fun to pull up blinds and look under the covers and didn’t know what was in the cabinets or pantry?
How come we let dust collect and kept reaching for the same tired dirty cup to be the one to fill us up?
“I love you” is so lazy. “How are you?” reaches for the shot glasses on the top shelf and the double-size coffee mugs for hours-long conversation.
We got as practical and polite as an “I love you” peck goodbye.
“How are you?” is the first bite as you pull a chair to sit.
“I love you” is a fact.
“How are you?” is curious.
You are gone now. And so is love.
I remain with questions:
Who are you?
Who were you?
What is love?
And of course, the most important still, that can’t be asked or answered anymore:
How are you?
Relephant bonus: Another important thing that can keep our relationships alive:
Author: Christine Cissy White
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll / Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Tallie Robinson/Unsplash
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