The deal about saying “I love you” out loud.

April 20, 2014 § 6 Comments

She’s drawn to me just as I’m drawn to her. She can’t keep away. She circles, forced to keep her distance, afraid of abandoning her husband and, even more, her son for too long. But she keeps coming, like a moth to my candle, staying longer than she should, leaving late for dinners and birthday parties, singeing her wings. She’s risking her marriage for me, her family, her reputation.

And I, the moth circling her candle, realize that she’s not just a candle. She’s a moth as well, circling me. I look at her and see myself reflected, my feelings, my desires. And she, looking at me, must see herself. And which of us is moth and which is candle hardly seems to matter. We’re both the same.

That’s the secret.

What moths never tell us as they whirl in their dances.

What Manucci learnt at Pak Tea House.

What sufis veil in verse.

I turn her around and look into her eyes and see the wonder in them that must be in mine as well, the wonder I first saw on our night of ecstasy, and I feel myself explode, expand, fill the universe, then collapse, implode like a detonation under water, become tiny, disappear.

I’m hardly aware of myself, of her, when I open my mouth. There is just us, and I speak for us when I speak, and I must be trembling and crying, but I don’t even know if I am or what I’m doing.

I just say it.

“I love you.”

And I lose myself in her eyes and we kiss and I feel myself becoming part of something new, something larger, something I never knew could be.


There are no words.


But after.

“Don’t say that,” she says.

And faintly, the smell of something burning.

-Moth Smoke, Mohsin Hamid.


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