If I Loved You Less

Featured image: Bedsheets, by Kiley Brockway

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

She said she didn’t understand the quote, that she loved Austen, but the quote didn’t make sense to her,

I guess she’s never felt that way before,

She doesn’t know what it means to be silenced by the things that you think about most,

By the things that’ve brought you the most pain –

Unrequited love or the death of those you hold most dear,

But the irony was, I didn’t know how to explain it to her,

How the words that are always there in the back of your head get stuck somewhere in your chest,

Somewhere in your throat,

As you try to speak them aloud,

She doesn’t know what it means to be paralyzed by your own thoughts, your own feelings,

She doesn’t know what it is to be suffocated by those feelings – the ones that bring you the most pain and the most joy,

She doesn’t know what it means to have something, something so embedded into one’s soul it becomes a part of you,

And what I don’t tell her is:

If I loved you less, it might not hurt this much,

If I loved you less, I might’ve been able to move on,

If I loved you less, I might’ve been able to walk away,

If I loved you less, I could scream it from a rooftop and not swallow it whole,

If I loved you less, I would feel less —

Is it that she just doesn’t know what it is to love someone with everything you have until it consumes your very being?

I wonder what it is, to love without hesitation,

To not fight the feelings,

To fall in love with an open heart and dry eyes and quiet mind and as unshattered as you’ve always been,

What is it, to commit to love, to commit to another without a doubt, without a second thought,

But I think in the end, what I should’ve said to her was if I loved you less, I wouldn’t want it.


Fiona Kelly-Miller is currently a junior at Marquette majoring in Gender and Sexualities Studies and Middle East and North Africa Studies. Since she was young, she has always loved reading, which has led her to love words and writing.

Kiley Brockway is a student in the Marquette History and Digital Media departments. More of her work can be found @kileypluscamera on Instagram. She can be contacted at Kiley.brockway@gmail.com.


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