love declaration

love declaration

In the gardens of my youth, trees were green and love was easy. Easy for me to feel, that is. That was before I realized others believed it was a war where all blows were allowed. Before it became apparent that unskilled as I was in such battles, love might become painful. In the beginning, there were all these first loves. I will not name the innocent and unsuspecting boys who played musical chairs in my open heart during my adolescence: the one whose name I carved in the family soap – such sweet lather – until my brothers complained and threatened to inform the proper authorities. What a metaphor. To have equated love to a purifying element was rather poetic for a 10 year old. Years later, I am not jaded. I still believe love can make me clean, can renew me. There was also the boy to whom I wrote long missives filled with convoluted phrases where I argued the sex of angels since I could not pretend to discuss actual sex. Letters I read and reread, folded and unfolded so often before I hand delivered them, the fading ink blurred the shape of the words. Another metaphor. Love as a code, incomprehensible save to the one who initiated the communication. That is somehow still true. We feel our hearts and feelings are clearwater, yet how mysterious they seem to others. There was the boy who initiated me to Mozart. Symphony No. 40, all light and grace yet so intensely emotional; it became my favorite. Love as music. Do not argue; love is music. There was the requisite bad boy. The sullen and foul-mouthed one who leaned bare-chested against walls and to whom I would bring the offering of peppery fragrant carnations – having no doubt the flowers would promptly be offered in turn to a girl his age – but no matter. It was at 13, a grand gesture against the established romantic protocol of that small town I lived in, where declarations of love were as rigidly codified as personal conduct and party menus. One did not deviate from that line. The boy made the first move always. Depending on his degree of boldness, he would approach the girl to hand over a note or say the fated words: I love you. There were only two possible answers. A yes or a no. No more, no less. Boldness again would dictate whether one would respond in person or by letter. Whereas I chose the boy and gave flowers. Rumors were rife and no doubt puritans would have had me sew a "S" to my chest. I lived that down and equated love with giving unselfishly.
"Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth, "You owe me."
Look what happens with a Love like that!
—It lights the whole Sky."

Ah, love. Easy, difficult. Always foremost in my mind. Then, now, forever. Is there a subject of more importance in our lives?
"Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love" says Rosalind in Shakespeare’s "As you like it" , yet according to Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University: “People live for love, die for love, kill for love. It can be stronger than the drive to stay alive” and Edna St. Vincent Millay expands in a sonnet:
"Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone…."

I am an incurable romantic. An illness caused by poetry and reading too many novels (that used to be the diagnosis in the 17th century). Across half a lifetime, that young girl still lives in me; I have never disowned her. Like her, I would carve your name in a bar of soap, unabashedly walk across a room with an armful of flowers for you, the molto allegro of violins rising in the background, an unreadable letter in hand, to declare like Frida Kahlo:
‘I love you more than my own skin.’
I know there is only one answer. No more, no less.

Michele Voltaire Marcelin

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One Response to “love declaration”

  1. April says:

    I love this. Just broke up with someone and miss them very much. Your words are comforting and give me hope that I may find LoVe again.
    God Bless you,

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