The Love That Needs No Name
The word “love” is pervasive in our culture. We love ice cream, the color purple, our car, our dog, our bright yellow rain boots. We love Netflix or Amazon Prime, or Hulu.
So when I got married I asked my husband, a European not used to expressing his emotions, if he would write me a love letter for Valentine’s Day. I did not want flowers, or chocolates, or a sweater. Just a simple letter saying he loved me. I was surprised by the result.
After breakfast, we sat at our desks and wrote. My letter of love flew off the end of my pen in a few minutes – two burbling pages of love. Ernest spent all morning at his desk, retreating back into his room after lunch to finish his letter.
The big reveal came at teatime. I had gone to Andre’s and bought his favorite pastry – Dobosh torte. We had a little Tokaii wine and a very nice oolong tea.
I went first, reading what I thought was an impressive epistle of love. Ernest listened stoically, silently. Then, a little embarrassed, he read his love note – four short sentences. Not once did the word love appear.
I tried to hide my disappointment, but eventually blurted out, “But you didn’t say you loved me.”
My husband was hurt. “But every word in the letter says I love you,” he explained, desperately.
He stomped up stairs and came down in only a few minutes with a new letter – also about four lines long, but containing the required word, love.
Reading silently, I blushed, chastened. Ernest was right – the letter that he had agonized over for hours had indeed been an epistle of love. It was a masterpiece, a true billet-doux.
I apologized and did that 20th C American thing – I kissed him and said I loved him!
Benjamin greeted me at the door this evening.
(Ah, the sincerity of a four year old’s kiss,
the warmth of a four year old’s embrace!)
He must have felt as I did
the caress of the spring wind.
He must have smelt as I did
the delicate scent of the spring blossoms.
He must have heard as I did
the gentle cooing of the mourning doves.
I stepped out into the sunset
Looking for God’s benediction-
And Benjamin kissed me.