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If I didn’t love you, I would simply forget about you.
I wouldn’t miss you at night. I wouldn’t wake up to immediately think about you.
I wouldn’t be on the lookout for your texts. I wouldn’t hope that the phone ringing could, maybe, be you.
I wouldn’t count the 53 minutes from my house to yours. I wouldn’t miss your stories or the way you smell or feel.
I wouldn’t look forward to what was to come next or happily remember what just was.
I wouldn’t smile when I remember how you twitch your lips sideways when you state a fact or finish a thought.
If I didn’t love you, I would take my idiot friends’ advice to “just forget” you and think of you as something that passed—a fun few months or just a fun memory.
I would curse you and erase all your texts and not read them when I can’t sleep at night. I would believe that you don’t think of me or miss me at night and convince myself that it was just me who loved it when we whispered sweet things to each other in the dark.
If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t regret not loving you more, or not telling you another thousand times how beautiful you are. I wouldn’t regret not staying inside of you longer or inhaling your breath so it could run through my veins. I wouldn’t remember the glow of the firelight dancing on your skin and weaving through your body. I wouldn’t hope to see you one more time laying helpless and almost confused on your bed after we gave each other pleasure and so much love, one more time.
I would be able to cook fried potatoes and not think of you, and I would be lying if I told you I don’t smile each time I walk by the Costco rotisserie chicken display and think of your activism for chickens everywhere. I wouldn’t hope to pinch a thousand more fingers to bring in firewood for you from the cold.
If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t remember how proud I felt to go to places and walk in with you in my arm. I wouldn’t miss having the glass of wine or the cup of tea I don’t like, or thank you for the lemon water you would offer me after we’d made love.
I would never think about how you looked at me when I laid on my side making love to you, doing my best to care for you, please you, and make you feel new and safe while you’re with me.
I wouldn’t remember how you said you never felt this way before. I wouldn’t remember how much I believed it.
If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t miss watching you make yourself beautiful in front of your mirror or the production you would go through to select the perfect outfit. I wouldn’t miss watching you confidently start your workday standing at your kitchen counter while you worried that the coffee you had made me wasn’t hot enough, or the mugs weren’t pre-heated just right.
I would ignore the amazing mom and grandma you are. I wouldn’t think that you, doing whatever it took to give your amazing kids everything they needed and making it happen all on your own, wasn’t sexy and admirable. I wouldn’t worry that you get scared at night, and I wouldn’t want so bad to be there to check out the noise that frightened you, or to make sure the door is locked, or to come back to bed and hold you in my arms to tell you, “Everything is okay.”
I wouldn’t want to fix your lock every single day.
If I didn’t love you; if I wasn’t so in love with you, I would not regret not being near you every night, and I wouldn’t wish I never had left.
If I didn’t love you, I would have used at least part of that “logical thinking” that I can’t stop bragging about to control the uncontainable need I felt to go and see you one last time when you had asked me to come. And, instead, I would have thought ahead about what those three last hours we had spent together would do to throw me even deeper into how I feel about you.
If I didn’t love you, I would have just left things where they were last September. I would have never called you to try one more time or fallen in love with you the second I walked into your house, and you jumped into my arms—so happy to see me again.
If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t be up at 3:00 a.m., writing love letters to you, wondering if you are happy or just okay or afraid or lonely.
And I certainly wouldn’t be so sad that another man gets to do all the things I would have loved to do with you for the rest of my life.
If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t be so goddamned afraid to love you.