The only time I loved her was after I hurt her, when she cried tenderly; tired and defeated. She was most beautiful to me then. There was such a moment here in Africa. We had fought violently and she slumped down, at a loss for words, engulfed in tears and pain.
A man's heart breaks, at such moments.
After some time she calmed down, collected her dignity, wiped her face, and walked by my side to where we were headed to, before we had started fighting. She had nowhere to go; she had to follow.
The sun was a big piece of orange candy in the sky, slowing falling, falling down. We were walking side by side, and it was one of those African moments that make you forget yourself.
I felt her slowly ease up next to me, grasping my hand in hers, tightly. I squeezed back, feeling uplifted, ecstatic, to be where I was in the world, with that hand in mine. There was confusion and uncertainty, though we had each other. We didn't look each other in the eyes; we knew we didn't need to, nor could we if we wanted to. I just closed mine while walking, feeling the sun set on me, everything fading away. I wanted to be in that moment, for as long as possible, before it left us, forever.
I felt a sun like this before, once before.
On the 7 train heading back home, twilight hour again, again that same sun in our faces, the buildings rumbling by, painted across the sky. I looked at you through the heat of that New York summer, naked and alive, those nights.
I asked you, in that rapturous joy only children feel, if you wanted to marry me. You said yes, I will always remember, with your chestnut hair in your face and a smile so wide the world could fall in it.
I laughed and you became self-conscious. I didn't believe in myself enough though you always believed in us. You loved English and ugly modernist Queens, your paradise; my prison - but you set me free in it. Making love to you there, in the very place I suffered and lost, so poignant; so true. You showed me how a rose blooms in the desert.
I didn't know what I had, no one does. But that summer, those moments, were precious. Nothing was as beautiful after that. Everything after took on a sadness and more anxious mood. We tried to do it over and over again, and it never came back, the sun, like it was that day. It only returned in Africa - the great mother - tearing us apart, as we held each other, all tangled up in blue.
I was driving her to the airport in a broken down car with a radio. The entire night making desperate love, a love that tries to suck dry the very source of our endless vitality. I was tired, confused, not sure when I would see her again. The car filled with a deathly silence. I took the road to the airport, a long expansive road opening up into the African horizon. The sun shining her face, the wind blowing in her beautiful hair, I turned on the radio and held her hand. And then, as if in a dream, a karaoke version of Let It Be came on, all cheesy and elevator music like. She lunged for the radio to shut it off and I stopped her. I said no, let it be, Let It Be. I sang for her and she smiled sadly, "there will be an answer, let it be...".
And then as she was getting into the plane, I knew it would all be in the kiss. The kiss
never lies. And we kissed, as passionately as we could, though I felt something patronizing and assured in her kiss. As if she was kissing a child good night, and no longer her lover. I could tell she would be alright, she would live without me. And when you feel that, you know it's over.