In the name of love, that came knocking out of nowhere.
There’s little left of the world if you strip away the grief, the longing, the desperation, and the love — to think it is all plagued with letting go, holding on, and everything in between. In quiet nights and even quieter mornings, there were hands encased around a heart that forgot how to carry on without sacrifice, that forgot how to let grief simmer without boiling into papercuts and spilled ink. There’s a Lemony Snicket quote that says, ‘I will love you if I never see you again and I will love you if I see you every day’, that encases everything you feel about the reality of someone living in the innermost corner of your heart in one crumpled up love note.
I did that a lot — stick love notes crumpled up in my pockets, in notebooks, in journals, in phone cases. Love notes addressed to no one, love notes addressed to everyone, love notes to the universe, love notes to never be sent, to never be received and returned. There’s an echo of voices you can never hear back once they’re gone. Love is much like those echoes when it is not felt anymore, when it leaves your doorstep and vows to never return again. It is much like those echoes when it bids you farewell and leaves you with tearstains and a teacup getting cold in hands that quiver for the warmth.
There’s a little bit of grief everywhere. Sometimes, it comes back in memories of what you have lost, and sometimes, it comes swooping in to terrify you of what you might lose again if your feet aren’t steady and your heart isn’t grasped lightly between nimble fingers. There’s a lot of fear everywhere. In quiet pleas for reassurance and sometimes in the way walls materialise around you — to protect you or to shield someone else, you never really know. There’s fear and there’s grief — and in between all of it, there’s love.
It would be unfair to say I was prepared, that I had an armory stocked with the best to ward off any attempts at my heart again. It would be unfair to say I saw it coming. Sometimes, love comes knocking on a window you haven’t opened in years. It glides in with the wind and it sneaks into the corners of your heart you built walls around. Sometimes, it comes in the unlikeliest of eyes, in the farthest nook of the world you could imagine. And when it does, it drowns you in fear before it lets you see the light.
It’s patient and kind and reassuring. It comes in with little haste but with empathy the likes of which you are not used to. It comes in with a key that tucks itself beneath your ribcage for a lock that you weren’t sure was there. It takes your 5 am sleepless mornings and it takes your overbearing 2 pm afternoons and it stays. It stays even when you believe you don’t deserve it to stay. It stays, fingers encased in yours, hands folded around your nape, lips resting on your temple — it stays. And it reminds you to let go. You’re safe now. You’ll be okay now. It reminds you to let yourself breathe. So you do. With faith resting against your eyelids and the promise to keep it making a nest of your tongue, you accept it. You keep it. You fight for it. You challenge the universe to let you have it.