You Need Not Know Someone to Love Them

Steamy night, I am in the kitchen when I hear the bus stop outside.

“Thank you!” a woman’s voice calls. The bus wheezes away. And it hits me like a ton of cement, nearly flattens me: that’s a human in those two words.

Do you like these steamy nights? I wonder of the woman.

Do you drag your heels scheduling your physical? Did you sip your mother’s coffee on the sly in middle school because it looked so adult? Maybe you wear turtlenecks year-round to hide that birthmark you hate and when people rave about your biscuits, do you tell them the secret is it’s a Jiffy mix? How do you handle it when you say something you immediately regret?

You take the bus, you thank the driver - the sum total of what I know about you. And you exist at the same time that I exist. Our stints on earth overlap; there’s something to that.

And I am you to someone else. Someone who heard me call, “Good Morning!” at the post office, but never saw my face or caught the back of my head as I turned down the cereal aisle. I am you to many more than I am friend to, acquaintance with, known to.

I get into bed; it’s too hot to sleep under the covers, so I lie splayed out, no limbs touching, under a thin blanket. The woman from the bus is long gone; or maybe she lives in my building, neighborhood, or Rio, for all I know.

And I know so little. But I’m certain of this: we live among humans hardly known to each other. And I want to throw my lot in with the folk who don’t need to know someone to love them. Overlapping on earth together is cause enough.

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