You don’t have to hashtag it. I don’t need photographs of red roses, carefully filtered, an Etsy vase in Valencia light. I don’t want macaroons or macarons or chocolates carefully gift wrapped in gilt paper, a bow on the top, to be chain-eaten in miserable succession one rainy Tuesday evening, washed down guiltily with the last of the flat champagne. You don’t need to tell me I am a princess and I don’t need four kisses on the end of each text message and you don’t need to find it quirky that I refuse to eat my crusts or love the way I forget to take the plug out of the bath.
Love is not kissing in the rain, love is not big gestures or long holidays abroad or discount spa days bought from dodgy websites or dinners in basement Mexican restaurants served by Indian waiters in sombreros. Love is not a Facebook status, it is not #blessed, it isn’t breakfast in bed or lacy underwear or the smell of perfume on your pillow.
Love is the spaces in between. Love is knowing when to say yes and when to say no. It is taking a deep breath and saying sorry, it’s okay, hi, I love you.
I need you to tell me when I’m being out of line, and then hug me anyway. I need a kiss on the end of my nose when I slam my finger in the bathroom drawer. You need to meet me at the station when it’s late and I’m tired and weary, you need to eat my burnt offerings at dinner and insist enthusiastically that you love them. I want you to tell me I’m pretty and order me pizza when I say I look fat. Build me up, believe in me, love me. Love is coming home.