I do not think I have the patience to love someone who does not love me back.
Still, if I were to choose between one who loves me and one whom I love, the choice is clear- I’d be with the one whom I love. And here’s the reason. We are not sure of many things in this life. We can only be certain of our experiences within it. I do not know what astronauts do for fun, I could never know, no matter how many times you explain it to me. But I know what Malaria does to people. I have seen it with my own eyes, felt it with my own fingers, listened to the orchestra of mosquitoes and other critters in the dead of the night. I have felt the chills ravage my own body, felt my blood boil, seen my skin break out in hot sweltering beads of sweat, then felt them cool down to chilly prickly balls of mercury as they roll down and soak my clothes. I know Malaria, I am sure I know her- intimately.
I can hear you say you love me, hear you speak in high and lofty terms about how much I am different from everyone else you have ever met. I can see you stare your burning pupils into mine and carve out sizzling heart-shaped holes from my cornea, but I can never know, never truly know what you feel. I can never know how you feel about me, beyond what I choose to believe. What makes me sleep better at night.
But I know, I know exactly what it is I feel. I can tell if I love you. I don’t need the sacred arts of science or magic. I know. Because it is my reality. Much like the welt that wheals up from where the mosquito’s snout has pierced my skin and the headaches and fevers and chills, the nightmares too that follow shortly after. I know. I choose to go with what I know. If it is you that I love, then I’ll go with what I know, what is real in my reality, what is palpable. I’ll go with you.
Who knows? Maybe I am real in your world too. Maybe I am palpable. Maybe you know me like the lines on your palm. Maybe you are sure as the earth beneath you, that you love me. Maybe.
Still, my patience draws from a well that is deep and whose waters are cold and sweet. So, while it feels like bliss, the well and the water are in reality, not infinite. It is only a matter of time before the rocky bottom of my head catches up with the cold sweet elixir flowing from my heart. If each pitcher you receive is poured out at your feet, one day you’ll wake up and this well will be dry.