I Knew I Loved You

Photo : Alanna Bagladi


I loved you by the sound of your voice
your warm embrace
the scent of your skin
your touch, your kiss
your childlike sense of humor
I loved you when you woke me up to coffee and tofu scramble,
carefully concocted by your tender hands
your unabashed generosity gave me a sense that I was cared for,
and that nothing could hurt me
you told me I was the most beautiful girl you’d ever laid eyes on
my spirit lifted by your sweetly serendipitous words
But then,
your violent outbursts, seemingly out of nowhere,
catching me off guard
you threw malicious insults my way,
trivializing my feelings
overburdening with your oppressive words
and constant inquiries of where I had been
Couldn’t you trust me?
Couldn’t you see how much I loved you?
How much I cared?
I now realize love is not supposed to be painful,
and what hurt me the most was letting go
of the idea of what could have been
No more Redwoods wedding
No more raising our kin
No more house by the California waves
Dreams shattering before me
The truth is,
I’ve always loved you
But how can you love another,
when your darkness and demons
keep you from loving yourself?


Rachel Mandel: A graduate student and naturalist who hopes to help elementary students stay true to their creativity. She lives happily in her home, Chicago.