Sentiments aren’t diamonds.
“I love you” isn’t precious because it’s (kept) rare, held in reserve and dripped out a little at a time in order to keep it at a premium. It’s precious because it’s true.
And worthless when it isn’t.
How do you know it’s true?
Because it’s backed up by action.
“I love you” is answering the phone every time she calls after 1am and talking for an hour when I have to get up at six.
“I love you” is “What can I do to help?” and then doing that thing that will (hopefully) help.
“I love you” is meeting you at the airport or the train or the bus.
“I love you” is getting on the airplane, or the train, or the bus, even if I had to put it on my credit card and I don’t know when my next job will turn up.
“I love you” is rewriting all my recipes so he can eat them, it’s keeping the vegan margarine in the freezer or having a three-month supply of almond milk in tetra packs on the shelf for when he visits.
“I love you” is four hours on Google to find the right honey, then the next right honey, then the next.
“I love you” is falling asleep on her shoulder because she’s the safest place in the world.
“I love you” is pears from the super market.
“I love you” is learning how to not make my feelings your problem.
“I love you” is the way you light up when you see her.
“I love you” is a text message, when words are all the actions you can offer across so much time and space.
“I love you” is “Let’s get a cider and you can tell me what’s up with your husband/book/kids/job, because We Have An Arrangement”.
“I love you” is learning to recognize who’s Driving by the colour of their eyes.
“I love you” is running her a bath with epsom salts when her arthritis is acting up.
“I love you” is “Can I get you some groceries?”
“I love you” is “Groceries would be really helpful, right now, thank you”.
“I love you” is turning your living room into someone else’s art studio.
“I love you” is recognizing that something had to give, even if it sucks that it was me.
“I love you” is making sure they know they don’t have to be On all the time.
“I love you” is massaging her sore hands.
“I love you” is fixing their car (again).
“I love you” is lending them your car (again).
“I love you” is lungwort and lamia and wild ginger dug up and passed on by the arm-load.
“I love you” is doing the dishes.
“I love you” is finding the patience to get through another sobbing fit of “Nobody loves me!” when you’re sitting right there, supporting her through her anxiety and insecurity.
“I love you” is knowing when to back off[1].
“I love you” is every stitch in the patch or the darn.
“I love you” is letting me cry on her shoulder (again) about my ex.
“I love you” is repairing the spinning wheel.
“I love you” is a place to sleep when you’re an hour away and too tired to keep driving.
“I love you” is editing because you believe in her.
“I love you” is cleaning out the fridge, so she doesn’t have to.
“I love you” is the hours it takes to make that hat.
“I love you” is the struggle to write it down.
“I love you” is “I miss you but, yes, you should spend the night with [other partner]”.
“I love you” is building raised beds in the back yard.
“I love you” is rhubarb transplants from both of their fathers’ gardens.
“I love you” is helping you cull your closet.
“I love you” is home in an emergency.
“I love you” is a safe place to fall apart.
“I love you” is reading aloud.
“I love you” is listening.
“I love you” is finding the courage to say it out loud when you don’t know what the answer will be.
It doesn’t lose its sparkle if you say it.
Ms Syren.
[1] Kinda wish I was better at this one, and that it didn’t hurt so much.