I love you like a river

EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI >> Te amo como un rio


I see that Hilal is starting to feel uncomfortable.
‘I’m not interested in what our relationship was in a past life. We’re here in the present. In Novosibirsk, you made me forgive you and I did. Now I’m asking you a favour: tell me that you love me.’

I hold her hand.

‘You see this river?
” Well, in the living room in my apartment at home is a painting of a rose immersed in just such a river. Half of the painting was exposed to the effects of the water and the elements, so the edges are a bit rough, and yet I can still see part of that beautiful red rose against a gold background.

“I know the artist. In 2003, we went together to a forest in the Pyrenees and found a dried-up stream and we hid the painting under the stones on the stream bed.
‘The artist is my wife.

“When I met her, I was convinced that our relationship wouldn’t work out, and for the first two years, I was sure that one of us would leave.
” In the five years that followed, I continued to think that we had simply got used to one another and that as soon as we realised this, we would each go our separate ways.
” I thought that a more serious commitment would deprive me of my “liberty” and keep me from experiencing everything I wanted to experience.’

‘I understand and respect what you’re saying,’ Hilal says. ‘But in the restaurant, when you were talking about the past, you said something about love being stronger than the individual.’
‘Yes, but love is made up of choices.’

We are both gazing at the river.

‘Silence is also an answer,’ she says.
I put my arms around her, so that her head is resting on my shoulder.
‘I love you,’ I tell her.

‘I love you because all the loves in the world are like different rivers flowing into the same lake, where they meet and are transformed into a single love that becomes rain and blesses the earth.

‘I love you like a river that gives water to the thirsty and takes people where they want to go.

‘I love you like a river which understands that it must learn to flow differently over waterfalls and to rest in the shallows.

‘I love you because we are all born in the same place, at the same source, which keeps us provided with a constant supply of water. And so, when we feel weak, all we have to do is wait a little. The spring returns, the winter snows melt and fill us with new energy.

‘I receive your love and I give you mine.
“Not the love of a man for a woman, not the love of a father for a child, not the love of God for his creatures.
“But a love with no name and no explanation
‘Like a river that cannot explain why it follows a particular course, but simply flows onwards.

‘A love that asks for nothing and gives nothing in return; it is simply there. I will never be yours and you will never be mine; nevertheless, I can honestly say: I love you.’

Maybe it’s the afternoon, maybe it’s the light, but at that moment, the Universe seems finally to be in perfect harmony. We stay where we are, feeling not the slightest desire to go back to the hotel, where Yao will doubtless be waiting for me.
International Edition
US & Canada Edition


  1. A wisher says:

    Dear Paulo
    How much i love this part of ur book, I think how much Hilaal was lucky to have ur love,ur rivery love as limpid as a spring water,how much she was lucky she got ur pure love in a correct way,realy i envy her,i dont know why but i envy hertoo much to have a especial man love.I respect u very much and i wish i was instead of her,but i know it is only a dream not a reality.

  2. A wisher says:

    Dear Pulo
    How much i love this part of ur book.
    When i read ur book i wish i were instead of Hilaal, because she gave her love and got it back very easy, How much she was lucky to have ur love but in a correct way,a pure love as a limpid water,How much she was lucky to have ur rivery love ,with all my heart i wish i were instead of Hilaal.But i know my dream is only a dream and never become true.

  3. joelle says:

    Parfois l’amour a de multiplesfaí§ettes . Il arrive pas í  pas ou par hasard mais le meilleur chemin est celui de la conquíªte . Parfoisil suffit d’un regard , d’un sourire pour apporter une montée de chaleur í  l’intérieur du corps . Deux mains qui se frí´lent, des doigts qui s’enlacent et laissent un léger frisson monter dans les bras afin de parvenir au coeur . La nature amène des frissons , elle vous emporte dans une autre dimension celle de l’amour. Ce sentiment si doux nous le ressentons tous différemment . Mais le parcours et la distance du voyage est parfois difficile , elle nous amène parfois í  se séparer pour suivre un autre partenaire pour continuer la route un bras l’un en dessous de l’autre ou une main posée sur une épaule , une main sur une taille surune joue , desmembres qui s’entrelacent . La vie est faite de plein de rencontres mais il faut savoir entreprendre le chemin avec la bonne personne . Parfois un petit détour ne fait pas de mal pour se retrouver main dans la main avec celui qui prend la míªme route que vous . La vie se parcourt avec plus ou moins de vitesse mais le meilleur est í  partageer pour tout le monde.

  4. Christopher says:

    Dear Paulo.

    You are a wise man, just like myself and in Aleph it’s like I am another you, it’s like it is my voice speaking through you. And I am exeperiencing while I am reading, many of the things you encounter. I am really inspired and am wondering if you could recomend books to read on some of the issues you write about; Discovering the mysteries of our previous lives, Path of Peace and last but not least, the theme about “Harmony of the Universe is a man and a woman becoming single energy” I have read all your books and in addition to Veronica decides to die, Alpeh is the greatest. Namaste Christopher

  5. Adriana says:

    I just finished reading the book. This a book made “‹”‹me understand life better, love and friendship .. Thank you so much for this incredible story. Greetings from Romania

  6. Paula says:

    Read the book……. I have no words, only tears. Looking forward to seeing you in South Africa one day.

  7. Nino says:

    Your book, ‘Aleph,’ has inspired me to feel and see Love as an art; an art that is not structured and limited to one dimension but is open to new experiences and discoveries. It is flowing like a river with no ending point…

  8. Kim says:

    I finished to read it today, and all I want to say is thank you for this beautiful story, thank you for sharing all these amazing adventures with us and thank you for helping me to understand each day a little more ” Life”.
    Hope you’ll visit our country Algeria one day.

  9. mahnum shakoor says:

    though havent read this one yet..
    but im definitely gettin it tomorrow :)
    amazin writer!

  10. Rumaisa says:

    Amazing book…loved each word of it and in this hi-tech n practical world you are the one who can come up with such refreshing and emotional pieces…keep inspiring us!

  11. Shazina says:

    Mr.Paulo Coehlo, I am not a writer but I too have the desire to be the one. I mostly write poems but I want to thank you for the books you wrote and giving me an insight and opening a new window in my life. Your books are really giving knowledge and have developed interest to observe the world in a new manner.Here is a poem in your respect:
    You write to learn and teach the world
    You guide the learners well indeed
    All the readers welcome the words
    Paulo speaks and writes on pages
    As in olden days were spoken by sages.
    We want you to say some more
    All readers love you from their hearts core.

  12. Bianca Soto says:

    Hola! Me llamo Bianca, tengo 20 agnos, soy de México y e tenido una vida bastante difí­cil, con muchas dificultades, sufrí­ de depresión y pensé varias veces en la muerte, hace unos agnos empece a leer sus obras que cambiaron completamente el rumbo de mi vida, me ayudo reponerme de la depresión “veronica decide morir” que es una obra con la que me identifico mucho, siento que fue escrita para mi!, ahora disfruto de las pequeñas y grandes cosas de la vida, siempre que siento caer en depresión o que no se que camino tomar sus escritos me levantan el animo y me recuerdan lo grandiosa que es la vida, que siempre hay un motivo por el cual seguir adelante y que para obtener lo deseado siempre hay que correr riesgos.
    lo admiro demasiado y me siento muy feliz de que exista en el mundo alguien como usted, que escribe cosas hermosas y de alguna manera guí­a nuestro camino, gracias por compartir su sabidurí­a con el mundo, dios lo llene de bendiciones y le regale muchos agnos mas de vida!

  13. Aanamta Khetran says:

    I’m quite stranger in the world of words so it getting really hard for me to tell what Alph has revealed to me. But one thing about what i’m quite sure is that Alph is what i been waiting for so long . Emotions demand for their existance and it goes worst when we, ourselves deny for their existance . Now your book , your words and your experience is the verification what i’d been needed fo my feelings, my emotions. Thank You So much . Aanamta From Pakistan .

  14. Shan Barruga says:

    Mr. Coelho, is your book aleph available here in the Philippines? I’m so excited to read it. =)

  15. Crystal says:

    Dear Paulo,
    Your words inspire and enlighten me…they touch straight to the core of my heart…each and every book, each and every time! Your poetry connects to me and helps guide my way…I don’t know how you do it, but I am glad there is someone like you in this world! You truly help spread the love of the universe!!

    Much love and thanks…Crystal xx

  16. Ledizia says:

    Have not read it yet, but I already Love It!!

  17. It’s miracle this poetry…you books change my life completely…but I met someone and I do not know what to do…should I follow my heart? It’s all there ….just like it was written in the book of life….Mr Coelho, so you have a friend in Amsterdam what I understand from your book he’s name* J * what coincedince me too….but we still never see each other maybe one day….

  18. dr. shivanjali sandhir says:

    lovely….thank you Mr. Paulo. ur work inspires ur readers… :)
    many blessings..

  19. dr. shivanjali sandhir says:

    lovely….thank you Mr. Paulo. ur work inspires ur readers… :)

  20. Adriana says:

    Mr Coehlo … I’m 23 and I got too obsessed with your books that I even promise myself not to buy your books in order to live my own life but after reading this: “I love you like a river”, God!!! I have to buy ALEPH. Congratulations you’re one of a kind. Keep on writing, greetings from Ecuador.

  21. Mido Hilal says:

    I love your writings whether articles or books. You talk my heart out. Thanks Mr. Coelho and God bless you.

  22. rashel says:

    ‘A love that asks for nothing and gives nothing in return; it is simply there. I will never be yours and you will never be mine; nevertheless, I can honestly say: I love you.’…it is realy me at this point of my life thanks so much dear paulo for saying what many of us are experiencing so simply and beautifully…

  23. sanjay says:

    Mr coelho…i had read your alchemist when i was 17 years..old and do you know how it has inspired me and influenced me…it was changed my thoughts and behaviour..will try 2 follow ur words and thoughts…thank u

  24. raniazouka says:


  25. you are great mr Coelho!

  26. sofy says:

    el amor sin ninguna condición, es lo mejor

  27. Maha says:


  28. Jane says:

    Love is really something. It is mysterious. It changes the world. I wanted to read Aleph so badly. I’m waiting to be sold here in Philippines. Another story of life. Thank You.

  29. Anya says:

    Yes, this gives me shivers. You have defined something that I cannot write or explain why certain things just cannot be when it has all the necessary strengths to survive. Is love not enough for these two people, whom I am sure will always be haunted by the sadness that someone, not the one they are with, holds their heart? In these modern times where people lost faith in love while others are proud to accept that they are weak to be under the power of love (that includes me), I cannot fight the reality in this story that love is the most beautiful thing that could ever happen to someone, it’s even worth the pain. Paulo…I’ve followed you everyday for two years and this is the best that you have written. Muito obrigado.

  30. Gerri says:

    Shivers! Poetry that squeezes the soul. Have we all been fortunate enough to understand & feel these words – before life so rudely interrupted? I’m bleeding!

  31. ann says:

    yeah. sometimes we have to accept that some kind of romantic relationship would not work. yet acceptance must only come after you did something to make it work. otherwise, the “love” is nothing more than apathy.

  32. Nadia says:

    I bought ‘Aleph’ at London airport on my way back to Kuala Lumpur where I live n my husband asked me why I m so obsessed with Ur books as I hv read them all n on fb even I would read Ur articles, it made me think y? As I m a very picky reader :(( but I know by reading Ur writings I feel less lonely n less abnormal :)) thank u for being there for loners like me
    Love u n wish u best of luck

  33. abeer says:

    when we see a misery or when it passes by us or through us we are filled with fear that it might come nearby us while passing by or last forever with us if it comes and the same , just the same happens when we miss a beautiful thing in our life … even when we miss it only for a while … coz there is no guarantee about how long we’d be missing it , for a while?? or for life?? …and again fear fills our hearts …. fear eats every beautiful feeling in the heart … not only love and fear is overcome by trust … real trust …and to trust something really …from the deepest deep of your heart ….it should be 100 percent trustful ….and what in life can be trusted 100 percent?? for me … what other than the ALMIGHTY ONE CREATOR AND MANAGER of this whole universe … ALLAH … the Only trustful in absolute absence of fear … He knows, He can, He loves, He mercies and He gave , gives and is forever giving us the best for now and for later …this is the only trust that keeps the fear away of my heart and this is the only backbone which holds me supported in life …even if I feel I am not good enough … coz He is good enough for every bit of good and on Him Only I rely and lay my doubts and fears and dreams….and live in the moment of now.
    I don’t really know if this relates to this beautiful post or what but this is what I heard in my heart once I read it

    1. mahnum shakoor says:

      so true :)

  34. Jessica G says:

    Now I have to read Aleph …. hmmm this sounds familiar somehow …. what you write ;-)

  35. Fatemeh says:

    Last night was my brothers birth day, and I love him so much but it was along time that i didnot say this to him or even one beautiful word or even a kiss. but last night I bought him, his favourit book and at first page of it i wrote some of the sentences of ( I like you like a river) and gave it to him then he asked me to read it for all the people in the party. it was great. thank you Sir.

  36. Dhanmati Linda Sonachan says:

    Wow you could not have explained Love any better. Your writing is spirit filled.

  37. criststar11 says:

    Usted tiene el don de hablar con mi alma. Pueda Dios bendecir cada segundo de su vida. Luz, Cris

  38. Lucrecia says:

    Dear mr Coelho
    I suppose you took it away to protect me, i don’t understand it but thanks anyway, it’s fine, you’ll know what is best.

  39. ketki says:


  40. ani says:

    dear Paulo…tel me when will the book be available in India…?eagerly waiting to read that..

  41. Anna Sergi says:

    I can’t wait to read The Aleph as published in the UK especially after this…

    I guess sometimes what I feel for someone is so strong and so powerful and so completely detached from my present and especially from my future that the only thing I could think of is love, this kind of love, like a river, that is meant to feed other loves that will follow and is meant to stay there untouched and unseen, merely existing to keep me alive in a way and purely not infected by real life.

  42. Lucrecia says:

    Dear Mr Coelho,
    Somewhere here I put a rime that I wrote after having read Aleph, it came up spontaneously, because of someone i saw several weeks ago. I couldn’t figure out my relationship to this person and, i don’t know, apparently it had to work itself out in a rime.
    Then I put it here but you took it away.
    I don’t know what was wrong with putting it here. Can you please tell me?

  43. Luzette says:

    Dear Paulo,

    I ordered Aleph(Kindle edition)yesterday morning and as always,like a very hungry bookworm I “devoured” it in one-sitting.

    Wow! what a very vivid and frank narration of your personal journey and “magical” encounters with Hilal!

    Thank you so much!


    Thank you! Could you please post your comment in http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2010/08/10/o-aleph-comentarios-de-leitores/ ?

  44. Maria says:

    Boa tarde Guerreiro amado

    Amo esse trecho de “O Aleph”, pensando aqui como deve ter sido pra Hilal essa situaí§í£o. Li q vc disse q ela vai escrever a versí£o dela do encontro de vcs, qro mto ler.
    Entendo bem q vc ame-a como um rio, e q tenha dito isso pq já tem sua alma gíªmea , a mulher da sua vida com vc , Christina, mto legal da sua parte ter sido tí£o sincero …com as duas. Mas eu , se estiveses no lugar da Hilar, ní£o ia gostar sabe…se um cara vir com ese papinho de que me am como um rio, hum…eu mando ele passear rs.
    Mas a Hilal sabia q isso poderia acontecer ne, pq vc é casado, ama sua mulher e tal, ela deve ter se sentido aliviada por falar. Corajosa essa menina. Desejo a ela mta felicidade q ela encontre um homem q a ame ní£o como um rio, mas como um porto seguro.
    Te contei q um conhecido disse q acha q é tudo mentira sua ne? A namorada dele obrigou ele ler o Aleph. Ele ní£o gosta de vc, mas leu por causa dela, ele dise q e legal o livro, e q vc é mto bom pra enrolar, ele disse q duvida q vc ní£o “pegou” a Hilal.
    Acho que é uma baita sortuda esa Hilal viu, ganhou selinhossssssss seus !! #ciumes ehehe
    Parabéns pelo 1 lugar na Holanda, Croacia e Letonia, vc merece todo o sucesso emto mto mais.

    Deus te ilumine, q Nossa SEnhora te proteja e sua semana seja liiinda.

    Amo vc

  45. Lapina nadegda says:

    Thenk you!

  46. Mariana says:

    Aleph was available in the UK on September 1st. I went today to my local library in Liverpool. The book wasn’t on the shelf because the boxes with books arrived today. I got the first copy that was sold in that bookstore. I can’t really explain the deep emotions that I felt when I had the book in my hands…. I walked through this lovely city whilst I was reading.. I couldn’t wait until I arrived home. I stopped in my favourite cafeteria and continue reading.. and reading… and thinking.. and thinking… Thank’s Paulo…. since some books ago I dind’t feel you this close.

  47. Caritta says:

    Thank you for another beautiful book Paulo! Loved it and read it with tears and smile on my face over the weekend. Will now read it again. There is an interesting story in my search for the book and other unexpected events have happened while been reading it.
    Its magic! Thank you for this.

  48. Superb! Simply Wow!! Frantically waiting for the book but not sure when does it come to the market. I have read all the books by Paulo available in the market and now waiting for Aleph! I don’t know whether the books I read so far love me or not but I can’t help loving them all, without any explanation! ‘Like a river that cannot explain why it follows a particular course, but simply flows onwards.’ Love is like the flowing river; it cannot explain why it loves, but cannot live without lovin!!

  49. smita says:

    beautiful !!!!

  50. Shine says:

    waiting for it in India…………..your writing is magical
    Love Avantika