How Do I Love Thee
By Z Zoccolante
Let me count the ways. . .
What are you missing? he asked me, as he massages my back? Or rather do you feel as though you’re missing something?
The answer pools in, immediate and fresh, a knowing, like something that was knitted into my bones and sinew.
Ever since I was little, I tell him, I’ve written stories about a best friend. A boy. My best friend. And we’d adventure together and we’d have each other’s backs. We’d belly laugh till we cried tears of joy. We’d watch the stars in the sky and have conversations in silence. When something was said in the room, we’d be the ones who’d find each other’s eyes, the crinkle of a laugh between us stretching like taffy and honey.
And now years and year later my soul is searching for the same thing. That fire, electricity, stillness. The feeling of home.
Before, maybe, I wasn’t clear on what I was searching for. When I thought I had my ever after and then my heart was shattered and I rebuilt from the ruins, discarding old stories like tears lost in the rain (as the monologue goes). I got lost for a while.
A friend tells me that her experience of loss is a gift. That we were that vulnerable, open, pure. How much we really loved and connected. That’s why it hurts because we got to feel all that tremendous love and connection.
She tells me that she’d rather it kill her when she loses it, than to never have experienced it at all. It matters she says, feeling this raw emotion rip through her chest, shatter everything, rebuild a new now.
To feel this.
What a gift.
What a gift. All that tremendous love and connection.
Now, I want the adult version of the best friend. The silliness of someone who deeply loves and thinks my childlike side is adorable. The way we’ll adventure and play and laugh in the dark. Have espresso and dance round the house, giggling with gusto.
I still want the best friend. I think we all want the best friend. I simply know I’ve wanted it since I could write my first word.
Home. Someone who feels like home.