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Loving the Unlovely

Beauty in every form

By S. A. CrawfordPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024
Photo by Michal Knotek via Pexels

We often talk about love as if it is something beyond our comprehension. Something divine or ethereal that cannot be touched or seen. We talk about it in hushed tones or scream about it, but usually when it feels distant. When we feel it slipping away.

Love is the most natural thing in the world. It is abundant; the only true renewable resource. It's woven into the fibres of our muscles, it crackles through the ridges of our brains and sits on our skin like perfume. It comes so easily, which is why its absence feels like a death; why we baulk like skittish horses when we see the end barrelling down the tracks.

You are dying; I see it in you. I can see you wither, and I love every line on your face. I can hear the rattle in your breathing, the wheeze at the end of words, and I know that I will have to live long without you. Each shaking gesture is precious. Infirmity is not a sin, not in its own self and not as an experience. It is not something committed against you, nor a flaw in you. It is a loss, however.

The loss of You. The you that looks and sounds like you.

I loved you when you were lovely. When you wore green and had dirt under your nails and tulip bulbs in your pockets and you smelled like grass and your hair was wild from the wind. I loved you when your fine, slim hands were quick and nimble. When your eyes were bright and your teeth were strong. I loved you when you held my hands and washed my face and brushed my hair. When you had long nails that scratched my scalp and cake batter on your arm.

That you slipped away by increments until she was gone, but I love you. The new You. I love your unloveliness because it is natural to me... and selfish. I love your sharp eyes, though they have sunk, because they are alive. I love your frail hands and your curved spine because they are firm and real. I love to hold your hand and hug you gently; I love that you are perfectly unlovely. Bent and wrinkled and still sharp as a knife with glittering eyes. I love the pain of living with this change because it's mine. And yours. And I will count it out, day by day, like a miser counting coins because life will be so long. A day will come when I have to love the space you leave behind, when I cannot sit at your feet and coax you to eat a little more of the cake I brought, the fudge I bought, the porridge you love. Because it will be natural for me to do so, and I will have no choice.

I will love you if you smell of sickness, when you grow smaller still. I will love you threadbare and scared, though I hope you never fear, and I will keep a light on for you. All my days there will be a candle in my home and tulips in my garden, and dirt beneath my nails for you. Even when it hurts; especially then, because that's when it matters most.

We treat love as if it is inhuman, or more than human, and shun it when it rips and tears as if it has no right to teeth and claw. But it's not; it's natural, and nature can be brutal. Every thing on this earth has the right to be unlovely, to be dangerous... even you. Even love.

So I have a promise for you; I will love the unlovely scars that form like hieroglyphs when you leave, and add to them as I become perfectly unlovely too. And hope (another natural and brutal thing) that when I too become infirm, or sick, someone will love me as naturally and brutally as I love you.


About the Creator

S. A. Crawford

Writer, reader, life-long student - being brave and finally taking the plunge by publishing some articles and fiction pieces.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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    Creative use of language & vocab

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (24)

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  • JeRon Bakerabout a month ago

    Profound! I’m still tryna’ wrap my head around “the only renewable resource”

  • ROCK about a month ago

    You broke a tear or two. I usually only cry a wee bit when listening to old love songs from the 70's.

  • Merrie Sandersabout a month ago

    So beautiful. I teared up reading this. Wonderful job. Congrats on Top Story. Well-deserved.

  • Leslie Minoiaabout a month ago

    So raw, soo beautiful. 🥰

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Margaret Brennanabout a month ago

    first of all, congratulations on TS. This is so deserving. Your piece reminds me of how I felt when my mom faced her last few weeks on earth. It broke my heart but I'd do it all again if I could have her back again. Thank you for reminding me what true love really is.

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a month ago

    You really struck such a beautiful chord of true humanity and how love truly looks

  • LASZLO SLEZAKabout a month ago

    This is beautiful work.

  • Testabout a month ago

    Wondrous job! Keep up the exceptional effort—congrats!

  • Mohammedamin Jemal about a month ago

    "This challenges me to think differently. How can we extend compassion to those who seem difficult to love?"

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    👏👏👏 You said it all with such grace and without pause. In its many forms, love will always find us and teach us it's never-ending lessons. Congrats, Sheree!

  • sleepy draftsabout a month ago

    I am at a loss for words. You put this so profoundly, beautifully, honestly, and poetically. I have chills. "We treat love as if it is inhuman, or more than human, and shun it when it rips and tears as if it has no right to teeth and claw. But it's not; it's natural, and nature can be brutal." - I repeat, chills. This is so gorgeous. There were so many parts I found myself highlighting to gush over or re-reading just to soak up. This love is the most beautiful kind of love and your piece has done it stunning justice. Congratulations on an amazing Top Story! 💗

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Wow. This was so beautiful. Fantastic work.

  • Kodahabout a month ago

    Regarding to A.J's comment, I agree, I always write about how 'change' is so terrifying to witness in people you love. 💖Love your story! 💖

  • A. J. Schoenfeldabout a month ago

    I love this. It's sad to think of how those we love will change, age, and become shells of themselves, but you made that process beautiful. True love adjusts as the object of that love changes and endures even their loss.

  • Hope Martinabout a month ago

    I am in tears. This touched my soul girl. My mom is withering away. Her ms and diabetes and dementia. She's not even 70. She's only 64. But everyday it's like more of her slips away. Your words in this, hit me so hard. It's so HARD to see my mom withering away. She used to be this towering invincible super hero, and now she can barely walk to the bathroom. It's unlovely indeed. But I love her so much. And one day she's going to leave me, and i already miss her. I miss seeing her dance and smelling her cooking. I miss going on road trips and taking walks. Oh man. Girl. You gotta stop breaking me. lol. Every damn time.

  • Carol Townendabout a month ago

    Your story spells out true love as it is meant to be. It's a beautiful work, and you must be very caring to have written like this. The world needs more people like you.

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    This is really lovely, so firmly, staunchly, full of love.

  • Kendall Defoe about a month ago

    I like this, but watch your use of You and you (sometimes the shifts aren't clear).

  • Rick Henry Christopher about a month ago

    This is so deep and so beautiful. Thank you for digging deep and sharing these feelings and emotions.

  • Daphsam2 months ago

    This poem celebrates love's raw beauty and enduring power amidst life's changes and challenges. Well done!

  • Phil Flannery2 months ago

    Nature is the great leveler of all things. We all must succumb, so we should love while we have the time to. This is a beautiful story.

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    This is beautiful, and so full of emotion. Well done.

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