• Mishap

being loved in fiction

Toni Morrison said that you must write the book you wish existed.

There’s no movie that can make me forget how much I want to be loved. This desire has become a silent alarm, a pitch so particular it is only heard in a certain register. In the dark, I trace the walls in search of a button, a switch that will turn the noise off but all I feel is the aging paint.

There’s no movie that can make me forget how much I want to be loved. I want to watch a movie where the girl is loved. She wants to be, and she is. I imagine a movie where someone remembers that she loves using the tiniest plates for her morning meals. I want a love where the cupboard is filled and clean before the morning, where the eyes can behold this domestic altar that they have prepared for the hands of their beloved. And when the dishes are put away and floors are swept, the lover soundlessly goes to bed. The lover stares at the body beneath the covers and knows that their beloved will awaken before them and they are grateful for this gentle mercy of waking up to the sound of their footsteps. I imagine a love that doesn’t have to fight to see the morning.

I imagine this love being patient during the beloved’s lesser moments. The lover holds her hand as the pain presses against her on inconsequential nights. The love breathes with her as the waves crash upon both of them, hands are held until they fall limp in slumber. We know that there is pain that we cannot smooth out with an aubade. There are memories whose aches cannot be dulled down with prayer. But the lover will try, and the beloved will forgive them of this attempt, and even in their inconsolable grief, even in their breathless failures, there will be love. They can tether themselves to the ground consecrated by their trials.

This is no book because I do not have language for this love, but I know I feel fear in my feet when I approach the unknown. When I imagine being loved back, I think of my toes. Humans retreat from what we cannot understand. Maybe this is why heartsickness stays in families. There is no cursed, there is no blessed. There is just being.

I have grown accustomed to loneliness. But there are some nights I crumble beneath its weight, and I wonder what I will look like in the morning.

personal essays

thoughts on home, love, and art

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