Munira Hussein

Riding the Tides

I bumped into love. I am sorry because I know in my last letter about falling for someone, I said I wouldn’t fall in love anymore, but walk into it calmly, with sanity…yet on Sunday evening of 14th January, love turned up behind me and I bumped into him. I had traveled on the night of the 12th, arriving on the morning of the 13th. We spent the day sleeping and when evening came, we met up with a friend who took us to a beachfront bar. Afterward, we went out to a club, whose name now evades me.

We walked into the club, and with beer on the table, we brought out whatever moves our alcohol-induced, and there I was, dancing, swaying, alone yet joyful in my heart. Unaware all this time, that across the room, love, perfect as I had always imagined it would be, was glancing, not necessarily looking for me, but looking, and our eyes didn’t meet, for I was blissfully trapped in the joy of music. But love approached anyway, probably certain that his interruption would only, moving forward, add to the rhythm I had already created.

Hi, love said, my name is M. An urge rose within me, to ask why I should care but I remembered the decency I had promised to hold, to not let experiences of the past interfere with what stood before me.

Okay, I said, barely looking at love.

He came out with the I saw you across the room and I began to leave the conversation, but he stuck around and asked my name. Moon, I said, Munira, and love’s full name, like mine, wasn’t approved of in spaces like this, so then I turned around, to look in the eye. Love tapped his feet beside me, and our conversation shifted from a drunken introduction and eased into what life holds.

Love bought me a beer and love asked if he could take me to dinner tomorrow, for love wanted to be in a space where we could talk without competing with the speakers hidden in the walls of the room. Impressed, I said a quick yes, and there was no room for my skepticism, there was no space for revisits. The yes caught me off-guard, but it didn’t matter. Who even knew whether love would see the dinner through?

Later, love asked if we could sit outside and talk because this was no sane place to get to know each other, or even oneself. So love lead the way, told my friends we would be outside for a few, and there we sat, in the night’s warm blanket, talking about our wherefroms of heart and soul. Love listened, love talked, slowly, enunciating every word, asking questions that led me to turn the pages of my life, talk about my father’s grace and love, about my mother’s tenderness, about my love for my sisters’ and my faraway brother whom I dearly miss. Love and I talked until the night asked us to depart, go into the walls we have erected, and get cozy. And so we left.

I slept, waking up to my dreams about the snakes that father assured me, was good omen. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t tired, just happy to see the waters waving at the shores, the rhythm of this body of something that was as life as it was death. It called my body to itself, and I stared with a promise, that I would be there soon. The breeze wafted, bringing the wet scent from all the worlds, with it.

Love texted, said love was happy to have met me, asked if we was still on for dinner, and evening came with a charm that I still didn’t know, would last me this trip and beyond, and I would be grateful for this place forever. Love picked me up, opened the door, and when he was seated back in the car, love asked how my day was, and how I was doing. Love had a smile that would leave his face, and I grew to love that smile, that little canine by the corner of his lip, that seemed to be out of the way of the rest of the teeth, but sat there so perfectly, so beautifully. Little things became grand when my eyes began to pick on them.

Love and I talked at dinner, I in my flashy romper and black heels, love in his rugged jeans and a shirt that I can’t recall now, and we sat and talked about life, about love. He told me a thousand times over, that I was beautiful, that I had perfect eyes and perfect lips and perfect mind…and my brain rested in this friendship. At the end of dinner, love asked if we could take a stroll on the beach, and love sealed our name in a love heart with a cupid’s arrow and let the ocean carry it with her forever. We stood there, looking at the stars, reciting Al-qadr, holding hands, and being held so close, my body felt its walls coming up. Relax, I said, this is okay, this feels okay, and the sirens went quiet and the ocean danced and we stood there, close.

And when love returned me to my friends, my heart and soul in harmony for the first time, with the tides and waves, a musical tune of his voice, my existence giggly with the thrill of teddy-bear gifts, love said he couldn’t wait to see me tomorrow. And so love sought me and saw me every day, said everything I had needed to hear all these while, danced with me and for me, and made me feel female in a way that I hadn’t in a while. Love held my hand all through as if I was just learning to walk, learning to love, and needed help through it. Love helped me through it and continues to. Love awakened something within me, a vulnerability that had hidden itself from the cruelty of the world.

My heart sat quietly in love’s presence, unafraid, un-palpitating as if running towards the healing that it would need. My heart sat pretty, healed, and love said there was nowhere else he would rather be when he was with me, and I believe him.

So, then I write to tell you the perfect time to meet love is when you have found it within yourself; you could fall, walk, or bump into it. It could hit you with its car accidentally, just a soft bump but it would get out to apologize profusely and offer to make it up to you with a coffee, and you would say because when love is everywhere, every direction leads to the same joyful end and you shall not be afraid. I embodied love because of all of it that I received, and I have so much to give now, and with love in my life, oh nothing could ever go wrong, nothing.

May it come to you if it hasn’t, and when it does, may you recognize it by its musky scent, by its golden smile, but its nervous voice that eventually grows strength to say I love you after doing everything right to prove it, may you recognize love, as that which makes better, everything you have become, are becoming. Remember, it might turn up behind you, or by your side. You don’t need to look, but when you will feel it when it is there, and it is always with you.

May love always be with you.






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