When I said those words I did not mean them
As an incantation to incite reciprocality,
Nor as a binding contract
Nor, necessarily, for obligatory reply.
As you pulled your hands out of my hands
And I pulled my sleeves over my knuckles
to protect them from the cold whistling wind
I wondered if you knew
I didn’t mean I thought we were cut from the same cloth,
Cortexes, parallels, halves of a whole.
I just meant that I could feel my blood pressure drop
And my breathing steady when you’d sit down beside me as I typed,
That I appreciated the time you held me when I was sick
And the way your apologies were not stick-on bandages
But warm steam rising from cups of loose-leaf tea.
I meant that I like sitting in silence with you as much as I like listening
As much as I value being listened to.
I guess I could have said,
“You are a warmth and a peace and a light.”
But I didn’t.
I said “I love you” and you walked away silent.