art by Melissa Mead
Love Is Orange, Love Is Red
by Eric James Stone
You don't say "I love you" anymore.
Neither do I.
We had only been dating two months the first time you told me you loved me. "I love you, too," I said.
Of course, that was long before the empathy virus, so you hugged me tighter and believed.
You love me with a waterfall of emotion, churning bright white in the sunlight as it roars down from a dizzying height, scattering rainbows everywhere.
Maybe things would be different if you had come down with the virus first. I woke up feeling better after a good dose of Nyquil the night before, and I marveled as I lay in bed beside you, feeling for the first time the powerful emotions surging inside you, awed that anyone could feel so much for me. I told you how wonderful that was.
I love you with a deep blue river of emotion, slow and steady as it flows gently to the sea.
The morning after you got sick, you woke up and looked into my heart expecting to find a waterfall, the mirror image of what you felt for me.