The way I know I love someone, which is no one these days, is not when I think of them after the day ends and folds into the night, after I have done the dishes and I lay in bed. The night is so cold, so lonely, even dogs begin howling. I want a love of the afternoon, the rush hour traffic, and three PM post-lunch cups of coffee. When I stand in a cafe queue, scanning the options from the menu above, and I wonder if I should get you something, I know I love you, and that is how I wish to be loved: in the brightest hours of the day, under the same sun.
Tell me you think of me during the day, as you run about the grocery store, bags in your hand, balancing a paper cup of coffee along. Tell me you passed a billboard with a pun so forced and terrible that you knew I would be the only one to laugh at it. And in return, I’ll tell you of how when I walked about the streets or the park, I thought of you, and once I did, I could not stop like how when we think of breathing, it takes some time for the body to take over, and you have to keep breathing until then. That is how I thought of you: intentionally, and when it all subsided, just like breathing, you were still there in the back of my mind.
And of course, we will talk about our days at dinner, but we will have been in them. It is the only way to know you love someone. Not when you tell them about your days, but when they are a part of them: in their little ways, their presence is continuous, in bits and pieces, in little things you remember, in songs and in films, and in passing restaurants and buildings, and peculiar antique stores, and gift shops, and florists and nurseries, and grocery stores.
I do not know of promises of forever; in my little experience, they always seem to break in the end. I know this much, though: I’m a simple man, so when I get coffee, I always get the americano, no snack along with it, but when I stop at the cafe in the evening, I will always ask if you need something and if you say no, I will get your favourite, just in case.
And I will always do this because I will always stop for coffee, and you will always be on my mind.
And that is how I will know: I love you.