How do we know when someone loves us?
Is it detectable like trace amounts of stardust in our construction, in our bones, and in our bodies?
Something we know but cannot regularly see?
Or is it ever present, but ever-flowing like ocean waves along the shoreline,
and we are left standing with wet feet, wondering when it will wash over us again
once it’s over.
Do we know what love feels like when we look up into the sky on balmy summer nights,
and in a split second, know what it is to be looking into the past and future simultaneously?
Is it more subtle than that?
Subtle in the way someone can make you laugh so hard that time just stops, and you forget what century you’re in.
Or is it that we would know what love felt like from others, if we took the time to know what it felt like to love ourselves?
That peace you find when you alone are sharing space with the trees in the forest, when roots and branches and leaves extend outward in all directions like veins in your body,
if you close your eyes as the wind blows by, you could be on a beach somewhere listening to the ocean.
That feels like love to me.
That feels like connection.
And when you look up into that big, black abyss, what you hear echoed back at you, in your own voice, is this:
I love you.
I will never leave you.
I will always care for you.
So, how do we know when someone loves us?
When the feeling of that person pressed against us is synonymous with the feeling of holding our own hands over our own heart,
taking a deep breath,
and knowing it to be true.