‘Do I know you?’ the old patient inquired.
‘You do’, she said.
‘Are we friends?’
While she was at work nursing patients and helping their families, he was at home tidying and thinking about her. He contemplated the same questions as the old man.
What is knowing someone? You can know people and dislike them, and people change. Friendship, love is the question.
He can spend his life trying to know her, but loving her is his motivation. Exploring her perfections and imperfections and finding the adventure in it. Loving the wonder of that. Loving her change and grow, loving how they change and grow together.
He did not envision experiencing many of the grand or spectacular events enjoyed by the top of society – the cumulative of simple moments were epic enough. It all added up. A life of little things together. What was the significance of parachuting from a plane compared with holding one another’s hands come what may? Millions of moments almost indistinct from each other, embraced by each other – the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.
One day, holding hands, she quietly beseeched, ‘We’re going to be okay, aren’t we?’.
It was a question of love, and love is a question of asking one another ‘we’re going to be okay…?’. To him, she came first, before any career, hobby, ideology. They came first – their synergy. Everything could be lost but that. From such love, growth in all else stems.
He looked back on those short years together and found they were at just the beginning. He looked forward too; the future seemed vast in comparison. All the times they would ask each other, ‘We’re going to be okay, aren’t we?’, even in those future decades, after all they had been through.
He imagined how in those times, he would ask, as he does now, ‘Do I know you?’.
‘You still don’t even know what cupboard the colander is kept. But you know me almost better than I know myself, and that’s not enough for you to know either’.
‘I have so much that I want to give you, even now. I want to give to you forever. I want to be able to do that, and that won’t be enough either’.
Then he asked, as he had so many times before, ‘Are we friends?’
‘We’re going to be okay’.