I open my eyes and watch the gap between the curtain and the window. I hear the quiet breathing beside me, the same breathing I once thought I would never hear again. The same breath that both heals and hurts at the same time. My eyes scan the white ceiling, and I stare at the white lamp hanging above the bed. I should get up, but I don't move, not so much afraid of waking him as hoping this moment will stretch into infinity. I hold his funny fingers in my palm, watch the white lamp hanging above us, and listen to the waking city hidden behind the curtains. Wholeness. The kind I searched for across the whole world. And never found.

I turn to the other side and try to count the hours left for us on his clock. I look at his sleeping face and kiss him gently, feeling that every time I touch him, I lose life. He stirs sleepily and, finding me, hugs me again. I continue to watch the lamp hanging above us and think that after so many years we should finally speak. That would probably be logical. But nothing between us was ever logical. Still - nothing more real has ever happened to us.

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” I remember laughing to myself when I read this quote. Then, and for many days until this morning, I believed that love is giving yourself to another's mercy. That the connection between two people is a constant search for compromise. Which sounded logical and confirmed by theory for ages. And every time new feelings developed, a day would come when I got scared and ran away – I enjoyed it until the moment when people tried to define my relationship, to dress my feelings in clothes. In those moments it seemed hard to even breathe. That from then on, my dreams would compete with someone else’s, time would no longer be what I chose but what was left. While I watched the white lamp and listened to his breathing, this phrase came back to my mind. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.

I feel him squeeze my hand as he wakes. He takes a deep breath as if to say something, as if he had been watching the same white lamp with me and thinking the same thoughts, and exhales, apparently like me, not finding the strength to speak. I turn and smile at his sleepy eyes. That is exactly how I love. Only this way will I allow anyone to love me.

A few days later, infinity ended. As it had many times before.

I take things out of the suitcase and try to sort my thoughts along with them. It seems that everything that happened, I imagined. That there were no Sri Lankan turtles diving among the waves, that I didn’t eat those mangoes on a white beach, that I was never kissed under blooming chestnuts in the middle of Europe. And that morning didn't exist where I felt that all the planes flew me to that moment, where more than from all the books I had read, more than from all the movies I had seen, I understood how much we say in silence. That love does not live in words. Love lives in actions. And under that white lamp, under the white ceiling, in a white room.

Finally, I unpack the last box, light some incense, take a deep breath, and finally allow myself to accept it. It happened. Not as I wanted it to. As I needed it most.

And when I finally turn 101 years old, and as I lie in bed thinking about everything I have done in life, I am sure I will count this stage as successful. That I will hang a white lamp above my head and giggle at all those moments when I thought something wouldn’t happen, but it did. That thinking I didn't love the way others taught to love, I loved the best I could. How I wanted to be loved myself.

I wish that you, too, never regret anything in life. And don’t think. Don’t think too much.

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