Instead, I started thinking about my father, and how difficult our relationship can be, and how much I want it to be easier. I thought about how my love for him is deep and loyal, but also muddied by guilt, tattered by anger, chewed by fear. Lying in the dark, I felt my love for my father fettering me to all those other awful feelings. I resented the fetters. I wondered why love gets such good press. Thinking about how I love my father and what that love does to me, I got more and more agitated, and further and further away from sleep, and guiltier and angrier and more fearful.
Then Kamal stretched and sighed in his sleep, and it was a like a door swung open to a clean, quiet room.
Have you seen that movie, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"? In it, an entire town has nothing to eat except sardines, for years and years. And they're sort of okay with this, sort of making the best of it. Then one day, all kinds of delicious food starts raining from the sky, and the townspeople suddenly realize how hungry they are.
That is how I love Adam. My love for Adam is the gluttonous, disbelieving hunger of someone who has always been fed enough love to live on but never, until now, given a good, square meal. Loving Adam is a gift instead of a sacrifice, as healing as bone broth, as decadent as truffles, as little-girl-hand-clappingly delightful as layer cake. As with any romantic love, it is sometimes haunted by the ghosts of past relationships, complicated by the catalysts of physical intimacy, clouded by the day-to-day realities of living a partnered life. Still, it is a perfect fit for two growing people.
So if my love for my father is a battleground in a long and questionable war, and my love for Adam is an oasis from which I just barely glimpse the specter of a pitiless desert, then my love for Kamal is a still, sweet, simple place that I walked into before I even knew I was seeking it. Resting here, within this pure, easy love, my love for Adam rises up and away from the clutches of old irrelevant griefs, and my love for my father swells with the plausibility of forgiveness. Loving Kamal is the softest pillow, the gentlest bed, a blanket fort with room for all of us.
Loving Kamal as he slept last night washed me clean of angst and sadness. I curled up inside that love and found a place to rest.