What if he leaves without finding out that I love him? But more tragically, what if he leaves before I have found out whether I love him? Is it love when it is untested, when it hasn’t gone to battle and won, when it has not been wounded, has not been beaten, when it has endured combat without surrender, surrendering? Is it love, can it be love when it has no scars to show? What if he leaves before our battle?
When does it become certain? When does love become certain? At what stage can I say with all the honesty of what I deem to be integrity: I love you? When can I say that truly, and not out of pity or guilt or fear? Pity because you so desperately love me and therefore it is only apt that I too love you? Guilt because it is simply wrong to not return love to someone who invests immensely in loving me? Fear that if I do not say it back, do not love you back, at the right time, you will leave, love will leave. Love will pack up its shoulders and breakfast-in-bed, and ass massages and clit massages and birthdays and anniversaries and sunsets and walks and never-tiring ears and cuddles and soups and avo salads and… leave; pack up and leave.
When does it become certain?
What happens if he leaves before our battle?
What if I never find out whether I love him?
I love that he walks faster than I do, in his walk giving life the urgency that it deserves, or that maybe, just like me, he walks fast because he is trying to catch up to himself: he got far, got ahead and got left behind. I love that beauty has not ruined him: that he wasn’t always beautiful and therefore his beauty remains uncertain – he remains uncertain of his beauty. It’s new, unworn. I love that he greets, that he is polite; that no one person is more important than the next. I love that he is intelligent, or at least looks intelligent – looks are hardly ever deceiving. I love that he has a story of conquest; that he is very far from where he started. He has gone far. He has walked very far, very much, very well. I love his smile: it’s him expressing that today is better and tomorrow is excellence. He has been through much, he has seen very much and therefore he sees beyond…
But my love is untested, we are untested. My love hasn’t battled. He hasn’t farted. He hasn’t whispered sweet nothings to my ear after a lunch of tuna and onion
He hasn’t dismissed me because he has had a long day. I haven’t heard his views on socialism. He hasn’t refused to give up meat and laughed off my vegetarian suggestion as senseless “hippie nonsense”. I love very much because I have experienced very little. We haven’t battled.
Our love hasn’t battled and won.
Writer: Nomfundo Shezi