I’ve always believed in love. I sighed into the pages of my mom’s stolen Mills & Boons as a kid and when I got older, I cursed Rhett Butler for not loving Scarlett enough. I wanted a man that loved me as deeply as Heathcliff loved Catherine and a connection like Romeo and Juliet had. That instantaneous, mind-blowing, all-consuming love. The kind that steals your breath and heart and changes your world completely.
I’ve always believed that I’d find it too. And I did. I found it when I was young, hopeful and at the cusp of becoming my own woman. It seems right that I fell in love as an 18 year old University student because our love could evolve and grow with us – together and more complete for it. I recently read a quote by Aristotle, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” and I thought ‘Yes’! It made sense to me because I truly believe that we were born to love each other.
My husband drew a young woman all his life, having a penchant for scribbling. When we initially met, he still drew her. She was me. Not, we looked similar. She. Was. Me. My doppelganger. (I’ve seen the proof from early years too.) The romantic in me would like to believe that it is the soul’s cry for help. Ironically, he stopped drawing her shortly after we fell in love.
Unlike the standard romance, when we met, ‘it’ didn’t hit me then. I did not experience love at first sight (although I have no doubt that many do experience that too). Like Cher said, it’s in his kiss. When we first kissed it was as though the linchpin clicked into the wheel of my life and set things in motion. I knew then that we were meant to be together and if I walked away, nothing would be as good, as fulfilling, as strong or as bright as when we were together. Apparently he felt the same. 🙂
Imagine the agony when everything conspired to tear us apart. We were betrayed or abandoned by friends, harmed and were harmed by loved ones and persecuted without trial by all. Not only did people fail to understand how we could love each other coming from different racial, cultural, religous and socio-economic backgrounds, they also did not approve. Their disapproval was vehement, vocal, visual, physical and violently omnipresent. When we were forcibly separated, the pain I felt was so intense, it propelled me into a state of catatonic existence. Every day I didn’t spend with him was one that belonged to a blurry period in my life underlined by pain and longing. To this day, I can barely remember what I did during those two years. And honestly, I thank my psyche for allowing me the bliss of traumatic amnesia.
But all’s well that end’s well. Back then, I couldn’t understand why we had to go through what we had to. Was it the universe demanding balance? Did we need to go through such pain to be able to experience this intense love? Was it the time and a lack of understanding underlined by the recent hatred or ignorance created during apartheid – i.e. was what we went through post-apartheid ‘teething problems’? It no longer matters. Thankfully, we never took our gloves off. We fought hard and cleverly and we won. Since then, many bridges were mended and we’re still together 15 years later.
On our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to “Still The One” by Shania Twain. I thought the words were valid then. They’re more valid now:
Looks like we made it
Look how far we’ve come, my baby
I’m glad we didn’t listen, look at what we would be missing
They said, I bet, we’d never make it but just look at how far we’ve come, still together, still holding on…
You’re still the one I want.
And just as I was sure as a little girl that I would meet my true love one day, back then I was sure that whatever we had thrown at us, we would make it. I never had a single doubt that we’d survive. He didn’t either. For us, love was, is and always will be – Enough.
Happy 15th wedding anniversary, honey. As the inscription on the inside of your wedding band says… Love Eternally, Aneesa