When He Only Says “I Love You” In Text Messages

Daria Nepriakhina
Daria Nepriakhina

The first time you said I love you was in a text message, and I told you,
“You say that shit in person.”



You never said it to me in person.



The second time you said it, you were 3,000 miles away on tour and had my heart conditioned to jump with every beep of my cell phone.


I slept with it underneath my pillow to ensure my REM cycle would be interrupted by your vibrations.

I wondered if there was a way to make it physically hurt every time you sent me a message.

Hung my ears on your silences,
and hoped the next alert would set me free

.
That your empty promises would blare straight to my eardrums

.
That you would make me deaf
.
That you would make me blind.


Because you knew all you had to do was look at me,


Say words that from anyone else were just words

,
And I would fold like a broken rag doll straight into your arms.


You said I love you, and I had been asleep, dreaming of the you that didn’t insist we were only friends.
The you that wanted me for the whole world to see.

I told you that you couldn’t keep saying that to me.

“It’s what I feel.”



But you never asked what I felt.


You didn’t ask me if it was fair.


You didn’t ask me the last time I cried.


You didn’t ask me the last time I wished for strength to tell you to fuck off.

That I wanted to scream at you for turning me into this doormat masochist.

I wanted to scream at myself for choosing to be this doormat masochist.

You used me as an accessory to your loneliness.


I was a selfish comfort.




I was temptation.


I was affection and sexuality.


I was the goddamn placeholder.


I was a poem you wrote that didn’t actually mean anything.



The third time you told me you loved me,
you used my full name.


My middle name slipped in like a forgotten love letter.



But you never loved me.


You let me go and never looked back.


You will tell me that you love me again.


This, I know.


And I might even convince myself that this time you mean it.


I will be delusional enough to believe one day,
you will say it to me in person.

You will lock your fingers with mine,
and our emptiness won’t feel so palpable.

We won’t be empty at all.


But you never loved me.


You loved that I loved you.




But I won’t always love you.


And darling,
that might be the day you realize you love me. TC mark


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Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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