On the video screen, Larissa’s arms are bare, snug in the Bahia summer while I am swaddled in jumpers. She picks a card for me as a gift. She clears her throat and reads from the explanation booklet :
“In the midst of the battlefield, when times are grave and tense… life sends you a marvelous gift. Like a special feather bestowed upon you, to add to your headdress and bear with pride. Share this blessing far and wide, that its light may touch the lives of many people.”
She looks up and raises an inquisitive eyebrow. I smile :
“Oh yes. I fell in love this afternoon.”
My loves used to be my secret garden – i kept them jealously hidden from the public eye. Like a magpie I burrowed the gleaming gold in the safety of my nest, for my eyes only. They were too precious to be picked apart by the questions and comments of nosy neighbours.
But I am shedding my old ways of hoarding. Why should i hide it? It’s not like any of this is mine.
Like death, love just perches itself on your shoulder, one day when you’re not looking – and nothing can be done.
So I climbed into my mother’s car and kissed her cheek, on our way to the palliative care home. And I dropped my old lying-by-omision act.
“What have you been up to, for two days then?
– I fell in love.”
Boom! For a second, spring was back in the air. She whooped and cooed and twittered, pestered me with questions without giving me a chance to answer. She basked in my light and rejoiced in life, her own pain pushed into the background for a little while.
“So what’s he like? Come on, you haven’t said anything, you little monster!”
Can you describe someone you love? The poet and I think not.
I grinned and shrugged, hands splayed, empty of words.
Love that’s shared grows. It’s nothing new, but its still magical, every time.