For me, the above qualities are everything that could define perfect love. They are the actions that perfect love. They’re what we search the entire world for; finding it, the reason we pledge forever; and losing it, why we fervently build monumental reminders.
The other week I dreamt of somebody I knew from my youth. I haven’t seen or thought about him since that time. In my dream, I saw someone standing at a distance from where I was. When I recognized it was him, I immediately ran to him. I saw that he was smiling, seeing me. I hugged him and said his name. He acknowledged, softly. And then after an embrace he was gone.
I woke up then and stayed in my place a long time. I don’t dream so I could count and remember all the dreams I’ve ever had. This dream was like those I dreamt about the dearest people in my life– when they came to say goodbye either before or after I learned of their deaths. I believed that this somebody from my youth had come for the same reason. By the way, the dreams I had of them were all happy images– they were safe and happy which I guess was what they wanted to tell me.
This somebody from my youth must’ve been in his 70s now. He was a heavy smoker, I remember. He was not directly my friend though. We knew each other through somebody we both knew. He was the confessor of this man we both knew. And this man is what this post really is about.
This man, I found the perfection of love with and in him. He was (or is) my soul mate. He was my mentor. He filled my life and world so that I saw nothing but him, saw everything through him. I didn’t imagine that possible but there it was. He was twenty years my senior. I was twenty-four.
His confessor knew. But although his confessor gave stern warning that the love we had was not to be he didn’t condemn. I remember only compassion and unconditional love.
It was on the fourth year when faced with the decision to stay permanently, I decided, against everything in me, to take the road less travelled. To go. I died doing that. It took three years more afterward before I finally came out of the “coma”. Those “missing years” has not been mentioned within my familybagain.
Then ten years after, we met again. By chance. By the bank of elevators at a very busy hotel lobby. I had been in the hotel attending a national conference. For that afternoon break I decided to forego the snack and instead use the time for a much-needed nap. I was going down the stairs to the elevators and… he saw me first. He said my name and I just kept moving toward where he was.
He was with his people. They had been waiting for an empty elevator. A couple in his group I knew from way back. They were as stunned as I was. He introduced me to the others. The way they kept staring at me told me they knew. I’ve lived with that as long as I knew. Then he was telling me a string of things but I only recall him saying the book had finally come out “after all these years”. I congratulated him. It was the book I had edited for him.
We agreed to have breakfast the next morning at a nearby cafe. He told me they were billeted at the hotel for their annual activity nearby. Then he handed me my copy of the book. I put it down on the table between us. Funny that an inanimate thing could be a reminder of life-changing memories. Funny that it only got published then.
He got up and ordered all my favorite sweet cakes even managing to get me a signature tumbler. I managed to smile. I had not broken down. I was waiting if something in me would since the elevator meeting the day before. By some miracle nothing had. I was able to tell him about my kids, my “new” life. He told me about what has kept him busy. We didn’t divulge much, aware of our promise, just enough to know we were alright. Then it was time to go. We wished each other God. It was for Him after all.
I went back to my room to check out. Suddenly overcome with emotion, I went and stood awhile by the windows, the book in my hand. I knew it was the last time I’d see him, at least in this world. Fate was kind, to have allowed us the meeting, if only so he could hand me his book in person, the last collaboration we would have, and for us to see and tell each other we were well after the most difficult period of our lives.
So when his confessor appeared in my dream, smiling understandingly like a wise father, I believed he came to say, hey, you’ve kept your side of the promise (and please do so until the end), that I’ve been forgiven or whatever, and I should truly try to fully love again.
It had been the quest of my life to find answers to why did I have to know a love so perfect only to give it up? Wasn’t I suppose to keep it? Why should we occupy the same earth and can’t love each other? Why did I have to meet him at all? So many more whys. I’ve spent much of the time focused on the details that I failed to see the entire forest, it’s real beauty and symmetry. It took a dream for me to realize that though it was the kind of love I’d build a Taj Mahal for, the monument isn’t necessarily to live the rest of my life in.
Why didn’t I realize that much sooner? Then again who was it who said:
To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Happy Valentine’s everyone! Our hearts are actually resilient, bless them! May we find the love we’ve been looking for and our hearts never tire of loving!