When Did People Grow So Cold?

No one ever seems to understand.
I know she didn’t.
I’d seen the reaction before.
The way a person runs.
Without moving at all.
The way you can see them
Heading for the hills.
The look of fear you cannot miss
In their eyes.

I am finally,
After all these years,
Learning why.

Because English
Isn’t English.
Because what words mean
Is not always what words mean.

Because our social ways.
Our social rules.
Our culture.
Is all hosed up.

However you want to put it.

And I’ve learned a lesson.
About the people around me.
I’ve learned that there are words
That no one dares speak.
Ever.
Because those words
Mean something
I don’t understand.

As part of learning
What the heck happens
When I use that word,
I went to the dictionary.
And I looked that sucker up.

Definition of LOVE
1 a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child
(2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
(3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
b : an assurance of affection
2 : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
3 a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>
b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment
(2) British —used as an informal term of address
4 a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as
(1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind
(2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person’s adoration of God
5 : a god or personification of love
6 : an amorous episode : love affair
7 : the sexual embrace : copulation
8 : a score of zero (as in tennis)
9 capitalized Christian Science : god

And there it was.
In black and white.
In several places
In the definition.
1a(2) – Attraction based on sexual desire.
7 – The sexual embrace : copulation.

And I spent several days.
Shaking my head.
And trying not to laugh.
And the sheer absurdity,
Of what had happened.
And then I wrote a rule.

Never tell someone
That you consider your friend
That you love them.
Under any circumstances.
For any reason.

They just don’t understand.
And are almost guaranteed
To translate what you say
To mean only one thing.
“Lets run away.
And have lots of sex.
That’s the way I feel
About you.”

And I can’t help but laugh.
At how people reacted
18 months ago.
When I spoke those words.
When I said
How I felt.

No one understood.

That’s part of what happened.
Part of why I singled out
And punished
So very harshly.

No one understood.

What happened to all the other
Meanings of the word
Love?

If you are a male,
And you tell another male
That you love him.
He reacts as if
You’re a homosexual.

If you are a male,
And you tell a female
That you love her.
She reacts as if
You want to ruin her life.
Wreck her marriage.
And run away with her.

I don’t get those reactions
At all.

What happened to plain old,
Basic,
Caring,
Feeling,
Concern for another,
Love?

What happened to caring
For someone.
Wishing only the best for them.
Helping them
When you can.
Behaving
Like a true friend.

I just don’t understand.

When did people become
So very much afraid
Of that one word?

And how many people
Live alone,
Because they don’t love
Anyone?

And this is one more reason,
Beneath the laughter that I have
When I see people react
The way they do.

My heart aches
Within my chest.
And my soul
Cries tears of pain.

When did people
Grow so cold?

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