When You Love Someone Who Does Not Belong To You, You Know



Loving Samira is incredibly divine, I don’t expect anyone to understand. When I first met her mother, a bourgie little thing who thought her own daughter strange, she whispered in my ear, “Are you sure?” I resented her immediately, but as dinner progressed, platters of spicy pilau and meatballs on skewers, I understood that she meant well. Her question was not a slight, as I had interpreted it, it was a warning. Are you sure? It is the least offensive of all the questions I have spent all two months of our relationship answering.

She is fluid; her movements, her words, the way she stands. She never seems to settle. Five foot nine and fat, her body never really looks like it belongs to her. She stands apart from it, like water in an earthen pot, waiting to be poured into another receptacle. Her clothes drape over her like an after-thought and when she speaks, the words seem to originate from a spot behind her. Sure, her rosebud lips part to reveal her teeth, and the tip of her tongue grazes her lower lip often, like punctuation, but when she talks, I cannot shake off the feeling that there’s someone else doing the talking for her. It is this detachment that I worship, this flagrant disregard for everything, including herself.

It was the second day of my third year when I first saw her. Two years on campus and we had never met, then she stepped on my foot and I decided I loved her. She had stumbled back and my first thought looking into her face was harmony. Skin one shade away from obsidian, sloping forehead and a stubborn chin, she looked like an orchestra in action. Like a mad painter had found all these wonderful features and spliced them together hoping to make the ultimate painting, with great success.

One week later, her legs in the air and the softest moans filling my hostel room, she told me she loved me. It was very flippant the way she said it, but it matched the way she displayed her love. Walking through campus would have been a war if she didn’t love me carelessly. Wearing my shirts over her shorts on the weekend, introducing me as her partner to the girls in our Philosophy class, slamming the door in the faces of the Christian Union folks who had been her friends… It is a kind of validation, being loved boldly. It straightens your spine and makes you believe in things you never thought possible before.

When you love someone who does not belong to you, you know. I know. I wake up night after night from nightmares in which she floats out of sight without so much as a wave goodbye. I find clues of the impending heartbreak in the way she kisses me, the way she folds her towels, the way she pours her milk. When you love someone who doesn’t belong to you, you worship them and hope that your reverence will keep them from raising altars for any other gods.

And I love her, I do. But how long does that last anyway?

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