With Valentine's Day right around the corner,
Cheo Hodari Coker breaks down the four-letter word.
From VIBE Magazine
CHEO HODARI COKER
Love. Can't define it. Refuse to. Ask 10 different people what love is, and you'll get 20 different answers. I could probably give you 40, most of them stolen from moments I've experienced with Dinah Washington ("...the thought of you makes my temperature rise...like a summer with a thousand Julys..."); Prince ("What's it gonna be, baby? Do you want him? Or do you want me? 'Cause I want you"); or even Ghostface Killah ("Your whole body looks wild/With your rugged profile/Enough to make a hardrock smile").
May 12, 2001, was the day my ship came in. As I stood in front of my bride, looking into her eyes, I was rendered speechless by her beauty. Never more so than that day. I was holding my wedding vows and being asked to define the one thing I could never find words to express, to an audience of 130 people. Well, here goes nothing.
"My feelings for you remain so profound, so primal, so real, that I lack ability to voice them," I said. "Why does God feel I am worthy of one of his angels? I'll never know. But I've learned never to question His gifts, but to instead cherish them as I do the air that I breathe.
"I promise to always protect this beautiful friendship that we have - to communicate, to listen, to appreciate, to praise you. I stand here in awe of you. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. And maybe one day, I'll create a phrase that fully encompasses my feelings. Something deeper than the three words that leap from my heart every single time I hear your voice, look into your eyes, or hear the simple mention of your name: I love you."
Not a dry eye in the house. But I was cool. Didn't tear up or nothing'. I smirked. I was the man. But then as Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You" fell from the sound system like a gentle rain, I felt that twinge. This is it. This is the woman I've going to spend the rest of my life with. I saw our children - and grandchildren - flash in front of my eyes. The house. The anniversary parties. The whole nine.
Not gonna cry. I looked at her through the veil, tears of joy running down her face, ruining her makeup. Beginning to waiver, but no tears. "We did it," she whispered. "We made it." I started bawling. The whole world disappeared, and it was just me, her, and Donny Hathaway's voice.
I love you in a place where there's no space or time. I love you for my life. You're a friend of mine. And when my life is over. Remember when we were together. We were alone. And I was singing this song to you....
That's my definition of love.
VIBE (ISSUE, VOLUME, DATE UNKNOWN)