I Love You

2012 (ongoing)


One evening, my partner and I were passing a woman coming out of a house. “I love you,” she said to the person inside, and you could tell that she really meant it. It made us both feel as if she was saying it to us.

It stayed with me. Could the phrase “I love you” have so much power that just coming in contact with it could make people in a city as tightly wound as New York feel more loved?

I have put up three “I Love You” messages. One is above the mailboxes in my building. Each time I see it, I register the message as if I wasn’t the one who’d written it. (It feels nice.) The note has stayed up for over a year.

The second “I Love You” was on a tree out front. It lasted so long that the text faded, so I replaced the text. From my window, I would see people noticing it, always happily. It grew faded again, and then one day, the whole thing was gone. I thought maybe it had faded to illegibility and someone was…cleaning the tree? I replaced it. The second one disappeared almost immediately.

Two people have said, “maybe they took it because they needed it.” But it makes me feel sour. I feel like adding a nasty message on the back of my next one chastising the selfish bastard for uncivic behaviour and reminding them of karma. But wouldn’t that go against the spirit of the project? How do we protect love for those who deserve it?