Love or lust

163

By Talib Gibran

Love is so confusing now. You don’t really know what you feel; love or lust.

Personally though, I have read dozens of books on love, both on compassionate and passionate love.

But ever since I started reading or feeling anything mildly love-like, I haven’t been able to differentiate love from lust. It’s an area I probably will never understand.

The beach was pitch-black now. The brightness of the stars increased but not quite enough to light up the place. Anna tightened her grip on my hand. I couldn’t tell if she was getting scared or wanted to get warmer.

Me: “If I want to have you again, we better get going on”
She didn’t look at me. She didn’t move. No reaction at all. She just breathed. She remained quiet for minutes.
Anna: “How do I really know this is love and not lust?”
Me: “What exactly? How you feel or how I feel or how we feel?”
Anna: “Pick one, and give me an answer”
Me: “well, love is supposed to be a deep lasting attraction while lust is supposed to be an overwhelming feeling of sexual desire. If you ask me, there is no difference”
Anna: “Talib? How on earth are those two even remotely similar?”
Me: “Haha, we all hate the word ‘lust’ and we don’t want to admit that it’s what we actually feel, not love”
Anna: “You’re so crazy. I have never seen anyone confuse those two words”
Me: “Look, no matter how much you love someone, you don’t really love them if you don’t have any sexual desires for them. So in the end, it all boils down to sexual desires. Isn’t that lust?”
Anna: “Maybe you need a bit of lecture on this; you’re so freaking weird”
Me: “I’m available for tutorial, Anna. Teach me, please”
Anna: “There are people who are married for decades and sex is the last thing on the plate for them. But if that marriage was based on mere sexual desires, it wouldn’t go beyond a year”
Me: “That’s where you get it all wrong. You’re using the sacredness of marriage centuries ago as a case in this generation. It doesn’t work like that anymore. Sex is so affordable and so accessible that no one needs to marry anyone just because you want to have sex with them. That’s too big a burden for us already. So when we see people getting married, we assume they are in love. And why would any couple who has been married for decades care about sex? I’m pretty sure they had enough to last a lifetime”
Anna: “Haha, you’re silly Talib.
Me: “I know I am, and I cannot help it”
Anna: “If I want to follow your line of thinking, we will end up narrating this to the next unlucky humans we get into a relationship with”
Me: “Oh my adventures are done, Anna. I’m not doing this again”
Anna: “Really? How adventurous was your adventure”
Me: “Adventurous enough to know that inasmuch as they don’t last, you wouldn’t want to stop. Dating is like cocaine; once you sniff you don’t want to stop, even knowing that it’s going to damage your heart someday”
Anna: “Wow, you’ve painted a grim picture of something that was supposed to be beautiful”
Me: “What was supposed to be beautiful is love and I don’t think anyone would find it there. I couldn’t anyway”
Anna: “Hmm”
Me: “Don’t you hmmm me. You know it’s true; otherwise Buba would be the one on the beach with you”
Anna: “It’s Harun, not Buba. Buba is three guys ago”
Me: “Haha you see what I’m talking about? So you were on a wild adventure as well”
I have said it times without number that I would choose respect and appreciation over love in marriage. In fact, if love is to be nurtured in any relationship, respect and appreciation would be the oxygen in the development of that particular love. But, having met Anna and engaged in deep conversations with her at all levels, I have realised that ‘conversation’ is as important as respect and appreciation. Anna has mastered the art of conversation; she wouldn’t just ask questions and listen to answers, no, she would cardinally remember all my responses. There’s unmatched subtlety in her communication; tone, timing and content. She was a communication artist!
Anna: “I was, too. I’ve seen a couple of guys but I always got back with Harun, once I realised that none of them was worth the trouble”
Me: “But then you left Harun presumably for me. I’m I worth the trouble or you would eventually get back with him?”
Anna: “Hah, not a chance. This time, even he himself knows that someone awesome has come into my life. That’s you, Talib and you’re not going anywhere. So yes, this is effectively the end of our adventures”
Me: “Nice to hear that cuz the adventures have already started wearing me out. So what happened to Buba?”
Anna: “Buba was really cool. He was funny and smart”
Me: “Now am getting jealous”
Anna: “Hmm good for you. I thought you didn’t have the heart. Buba seemed serious about us; he was willing to do anything just for us to talk. But just when I started feeling head over heels for him, he started drifting away”
Me: “Yeah, that doesn’t end well. So why did you break up?”
Anna: “We didn’t break up, Talib. We didn’t start it. I was so convinced that I was actually in love with him. I even said I couldn’t live without him but he still walked away from me”
Me: “That’s murder. No wonder you always returned to Harun. He was the only guy constant in your life. He was your safety net”
Anna: “Yes he was. We would fight all the time but he was always available for reconciliation. I would miss that”
Me: “No you wouldn’t miss it cuz you wouldn’t need it with me. I know it’s childish to think so but you and I can solve any problem. You find it so easy to communicate. You have no idea how many problems that gift alone will help you either solve or avoid altogether”
Anna: “I know but that is not my fear Talib. It’s not the problems I would create; we can easily solve those just like I literally ordered you to come here”
Me: “Hah, see who is gloating now. But then what do you fear then?”
Anna: “My fear is how you going to think of me once marriage unveiled me; once it showed you who I really am for the first time; once the doors of my deepest secrets and insecurities are open. And like Jake Peralta said, I don’t want you to wake up someday and wish that you were with someone as smart as you are”
Me: “Well, coining Amy Santiago’s response—even though I know we haven’t reached the waking up part yet—but I already know I am with someone smarter than I can ever be”
It was no longer evening, it was night. The sand and the ocean had a unique combination; of warmth and freshness. The ocean was already quiet, with the reflection of the stars and the moon drawing a simmering picture on the water. Anna has already rested her head on my chest, as she listened to a heart that abnormally beats for her.
Anna: “You’re going to make me happy, Talib. I just know it”
Me: “I am already happy, Anna. Whatever happens from now on would just be a bonus. You’ve been a revelation in my life”
Anna: “Cool. I’ve already made you happy. Just make sure you return the favour”
Me: “Haha, leave that to me. I will make you happy without making any effort”
Anna and I share a relation-SHIP which has already tasted both the high tide and the low tide in the ocean within a short period. The ship continues to sail like the Vikings because we both know that it is special. And as long as I breathe; as long as blood pumps in my veins, I’m going to stay with Anna because my life depends on it.