The reflections of light color the wet pavements of the Berlin streets. You can almost feel the presence of a million tiny pink neon hearts in the air. A vintage filter that you can feel more than see characterizes the image. You have to close your eyes to envision this warm coldness. It’s Lover’s Day, Valentine’s.
My boyfriend is tall and handsome. I adore the contrast his dark hair has with his pale olive skin. He bought supermarket flowers for his mom and he’s lit up a couple of old candles in the kitchen. We keep one Christmas light all year round. It hangs around a painting his sister gave him for his 28th. That light is lit too and it shines along with the candles brighter than the sunlight that fades into shades of gray thanks to the thick blanket of clouds in the February sky. He’s made me coffee. He smiles when he sees me staring at him pointlessly. I caught him at his most ordinary and still found it exciting.
We’ve come a long way; he moved to Beirut for me, putting his life on hold for three and a half years. Now I’m finishing things up in Beirut, graduating and translating some documents to submit to the embassy for our marriage. It’s my turn to move for him–to be with him. I walk slowly on the squeaking loose wood floor and I make my way to his arms, his chest, his warm closeness and familiarity. We’ve known each other five years and since then, so many fires have cooled down. Our fights don’t cause as much damage, our issues don’t trouble us as much but his embrace is still ablaze.
He has fought hard for this moment. He picked me, a pretty flower from an ugly garden, and has tended to my blossoming ever since. Nunu, as I call him, spent money to travel back and forth and kept four walls around us whether we were in Berlin or Beirut. My soon-to-be husband provided the warmth it required for a single flower to become a whole garden. He took such a long, treacherous journey for love, and so have I.
I just came out to my mother, only because I now love someone more than I love her. “I’m sorry mom, you’re the only woman I’ll ever love,” I said to her at the end of the first battle of our ongoing war. He deserves this war. He deserves me being at peace. I’ve set too many fires with my confusion and conflicting identities. It was time for me to stand in the sun and tell everyone I’m not just “special,” I’m queer. I’m special because I’m queer.
It’s February. We’re watching Drag Race on the iPad and he’s got opinions. He’s full of them. My man is a revolution in human form. He finds a way to make peace in any situation, but he’ll still politely call a couple out for sitting at a table for four when there are four unseated people waiting at the small pizza place closeby. He’s very anti-conflict but somehow managed to stick with me, a walking contradiction. He promises me cats, dogs and babies. I promise him I’ll one day be good enough. Only one of us will keep their promise.
When I was single, I wondered what would happen after finding love. After I found love, I fought for it and wondered what was next. Now is next, and the answer is vague. This is what happens after you find love; you love. You love without condition and you love without permission.