Some thoughts on love: Translations

from Nina Bouraoui

“It is so difficult to measure human love, it is so difficult to pierce the secrets. There are invisible loves like there are books that will never be written; there is this idea of love, there. But it is missing a force of love that would make us kiss, hold each other in our arms, and make us say to each other, “I love you, I missed you,” meaning, “I have taken many years to come back to you, and you have taken many years to tell me that you loved me.”

“Am I happy at the warm gesture of love, some ringing sound, a suspension of the beat, or am I happy because my soul aches, because in the dull murmur, the syncopation of exacting this time, this smile, this lover, this warm hand, I know that I have a soul and that I’m somehow more alive than they used to think I was? I’ll show them aching, I said. I’ll show them my heart won’t quit.”

“I put on some jazz and thought of you. I don’t need oysters or avocados, weekends with my skin ruffled open to the sand; why need rhythm and long conversations, blues and old books, frosty sidewalks, warm Octobers, and dried fruit, when I have some vague beauty of you, coming to me like a wave of the moon?”

“I made a cup of coffee that smelled like cigarettes, and I called you on the phone to hear how you’ve been doing, but mostly to see if I can still hear your voice like I could when I would press my face against your sweater, meaning maybe that I could still trust you. I felt as ugly as I did when we watched Anna Karenina and smelled of divorce. She was wrong, you insisted. Life is also as ugly as you mean it, you also said, in the positive. You said I don’t have to mean, when I say I hate life, that I hate myself. I let the steam blow out of my cupful of coffee, and I wished that I could still feel your hair with my fingers and talk like we used to do together. We said goodbye. And, in other words I still miss you. I didn’t think I still could.”

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