The Essentials

[Read on Unmasked Poetry Open Mic on February 14th, 2016.]

If one day my daughter tells me she’s found the one she’ll marry, instead of:

  • Where does he come from?
  • What’s his job? or
  • How much does he make in a month?

I’ll ask if she loves him. Or her.

Because the other answers will unravel themselves eventually, but she’s the only one who could possibly know what her heart feels when he’s around, and whether her feelings would be sticky enough to reassemble her heart whenever it breaks into pieces.

Haven’t you taught me that marriage is all about that?

  1. I’ll ask, if he ever hurt her;
  2. I’ll ask whether he ever apologizes first when it was his mistakes—but especially on the days when it wasn’t;
  3. I’ll ask, if he—or she—ever looks her in the eye to say that she’s beautiful and means it;
  4. I’ll ask if he would ever crush her dreams for his;
  5. Or maybe I’ll ask if she just knows.

If she answers 3 yeses out of 5, then it’s pretty good.

If she answers 2 yeses out of 5, it’s still okay—as long as one of the yeses was for my first question.

You see, some people believe in religions and not getting hurt, but I believe in falling in love and falling from your bike a hundred times as long as it allows you to travel places and learn about life.

Make no mistakes, though darling—I would tell her—falling from your bike is not the same with jumping off a cliff with no one waiting on the ground with their hands open.

Love to live, not to kill yourself. No love is worth hurting yourself over and over again until your heart turns numb.

Can’t you see, Mom, that I’m in love?

While you were busy figuring out whether you’ve made the right decision to marry Dad, I’ve been busy convincing myself that I’m worthy of love.

Since neither Dad nor yourself taught me about what love is, my first lessons arrived through fiction books—until he arrived and taught me that love stretches far beyond happy endings.

Sometimes love even goes under your skin, cracking your ribs, opening its way to reach your heart.

For over 20 years I defined love as being perfect and admired, but I finally found the shoulders that were wide enough for me to be ugly and accepted. Maybe that’s what marriage is: a permanent safe place from the ever-moving world of insatiable humans; a home, a partner.

I know that you always look for a perfect family, but the truth is, love is all about accepting and you were looking the wrong way.

By the way, did you know that gerascophobia is a fear of growing old? Did you know, that your daughter used to have it and he’s my best chance at getting rid of it for good?

Instead of checking your version of the list—which was made without ever consulting me in the process (and they talk a lot about transparency one of these days)—I would rather have a man who checks if he already tells me he loves me on every single day.

Because origins, job titles, and materials don’t really matter. I love him, and it’s the only yes you need to hear.

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