Sa’afia and I were moving bits of our lives together. It was happening very quickly, probably faster than I’d noticed happening before. I wanted to fuck Sa’afia a lot, not just right then, behind the wheel of my ancient Bedford, but most of the time. I liked Sa’afia a lot, too. I enjoyed her company in simple and uncomplicated ways, as well as pleasurably complex ways. She was beautiful. Actually she was more beautiful than Ana. She was certainly wiser. She wanted some things from me than complemented what I wanted in her, though that had nothing to do with wisdom.
I felt something strong for Sa’afia, more than sexual desire. But thinking about what I felt for Sa’afia made me face something I’d tried not to think about: I was in love with Ana.
There was nothing I could do about being in love with Ana. I couldn’t switch it off. I couldn’t claim Ana, either, and make us lovers. I’d told Ana I desired her, but I’d only said it because I knew that it wasn’t news to her. She’d already seen me get a stupid adolescent erection when I was supposed to be talking to her about policemen.
At least I hadn’t told her that I was in love with her. I shouldn’t tell her that and I wouldn’t. It wasn’t much to hang on to, but that was what I hadn’t lost.
I’d grown up believing that love was the most important thing and the strongest force in the world. My parents were powerful evidence for that worldview. But I’d started to learn that while love outweighs most other things you can put in the balance, it won’t always hold down the scales. Sometimes other obligations win, and love is what you have to swallow. Keep down. Keep inside.
Well, that was Ana.
I was driving towards Sa’afia.