It’s really easy to write about love. It connects so deeply with all of us; it’s a feeling we understand and can never understand. It’s complicated and filled with uncertainties. And we’re so deeply set in our ways and our preferences and our passions that sometimes we miss out on the greatest of loves. Sometimes we forget to love our families, our friends, our selves. Sometimes we think we matter to someone. Sometimes we don’t matter one bit, and realize it too late. Sometimes we don’t know we’re in love. Sometimes we think we loved, when we never did; it just seemed like love at the time, and that’s how we remembered it. Sometimes we love someone like family. Sometimes we’re in denial that what we’re feeling is actually love. We wonder if they think of us. We wonder about them often, more than we should. We’re tricked by lust or obsession or envy and masking it as love. We’re telling someone we love them because it gets us something. We’re saying we love, when we know it’s not real. We’re loving based on one facet of a person, instead of the whole of them. We’re using love as an excuse to stay. We’re letting the one that got away, get away. We’re loving only when it’s convenient, or starting to admit we are. When they leave, we don’t actually miss them. We’re not letting new love in. We’re avoiding feeling. We’re lying to avoid love.
Which is why it’s so easy to write about. Simply because it’s so hard to explain, to experience in one way. We write and we question and we wonder—what kind of love has taken place? And how has that love changed me?
This poem is about one of those kinds of loves. The one that never happened:
We’ve never met.
We have, but not really.
Sure, we’ve talked:
we’ve shared our fears,
our life stories,
maybe even intertwined souls at some point,
but we’ve never met.
You don’t know me
because you’ve never asked.
It’s easier to maintain distance,
even when you’re so close,
I can feel your breath on my back,
your words in whispers down the nape of a neck
that never had to be mine.
We’ve never met,
and in never meeting, we could never fall in love.
You’ve made sure of that,
as have I,
and my past experiences have guaranteed
that this lack of meeting would never be one-sided,
my heart never misguided
because I never let you let me in.
We’ve never met.
And from what you’ve told me
I don’t know if we should ever meet.
I’d rather spend my life never knowing who you are,
than to fall in love with the idea of us,
of what we could be,
sometimes I have to tell myself I’m being silly,
that meeting you is no more dangerous
than meeting a stranger
that you’ve bumped into in passing on the sidewalk.
“No, excuse me.”
And you part ways, the exchange and the meeting lasting only a moment—
and you never see them again.