As a little girl, you are often told stories of how girls grow up to fall in love and live happily ever after. More often than not, you spend a lot of time waiting for this prince charming who you will fall in love with. My first love was a marine technician, but he wasn’t THE love of my life. The love of my life would show up almost ten years later in a different country. It showed up when I was broken and didn’t know what I had done so far and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The love of my life showed up under cover and I didn’t really see him until more than two years later. As much as I hate to admit it, the love of my life started as an affair. A bit of relief I was looking for on the side.
What is the love you dream of? Mine was a love that would touch my soul, light my heart, engage my mind and ignite my body. A love that would love me in tears, in laughter, when I’d put on weight or when I’d lost weight. A love that would love me in the rain and in the sun, together and apart. A love that is constant even though there be waxes and wanes. Respect. Honour. Trust. Forgiveness.
As most love affairs, mine started with the body. The first time left me sore and exhausted but I went back for more. With time it got more familiar, and with familiarity we would change our dance to different tunes. We made love to his music, to Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, to Guns n Roses’ Patience, to Adele’s Someone Like You. The rhythm changed, but the dance went on. Sometimes gentle and soothing. Sometimes strong and dynamic. Sometimes I would lie down at the end of it in a heap of sweat and wonder what had happened to the time. Sometimes, he would touch me so deeply I would be in tears at the end of it. Other times, I would walk away in a slow haze, and get myself home to bed.
Somehow, through stolen moments, our relationship organically grew. We started to converse, sharing beliefs, opinions, entire lifetimes condensed for our limited time together. In time, the things we spoke about influenced my everyday decisions. He had influenced my views on things. He took me far from “myself” but he had also returned me to myself. This affair had released me from “life” and returned me to living. He made it alright for me to not fit in. In the safety of him, I returned to the prayer mat, and to the kitchen. I learned to dance on my own again, and I learned that although most of my time was on the office chair, most of my life was away from it. When I got too serious, he taught me how to play again. He taught me secrets I didn’t know and secrets that I should have known; about my body, my heart, my soul, about being a woman and the strength found in gentleness. In his silence I found me.
My partner left. He didn’t know me anymore. The truth is, he knew who I was, but who I am to become, even I don’t know yet. The affair continued. I missed him when we were apart. I missed him when my weekends were so full that I didn’t have time with him. I missed our dance, our conversations and even our silences. In Ramadan I spent a month away. And I enjoyed every time I came back to him, the warm embraces and the sweet soreness afterwards. And I always came back. For over two years, I had kept coming back, but I was still afraid to make it more than an affair.
Then I think back to the kind of love that I dream of – A love that would love me in tears, in laughter, when I’d put on weight or when I’d lost weight. A love that would love me in the rain and in the sun, together and apart. A love that is constant through the waxes and wanes. And I realise now, that I am unmistakably in love. He had a touched my soul, lit my heart, engaged my mind and ignited my body. He gave me respect, honour, trust and forgiveness. He could have easily been a she.
You see, some girls fall in love with men who will recue them. I fell in love with yoga and it helped me find myself. Our affair goes on, to the next hurdle, to the next threshold, to the next opening. Organically in contracts and expands, but it continuously grows nonetheless. In time there might be a man, but right now, I bask in the fact that I have undeniably fallen in love.