Photo Courtesy: Zeeshan Safdar

On Tuesday, Ahmed and I started watching Tales By Light on Netflix. Which is basically Chef’s Table for photographers and acid for people that have wander lust. The first episode submerges you in the ocean.

As the episode unfolds you are exposed to the harmony in the deep blue. There’s a dichotomy and yet it all comes together. Can relationships be like that? Can two human beings that are opposing forces come together like the ocean?

This one time in Karachi we were at French Beach. P and I were watching waves crash against the rocks. I don’t know what it is about the rhythm of waves crashing on rocks that compels me. Perhaps it’s the resilience of the rock. Maybe it’s the reassurance that the waves will always come back to us mere mortals on the shoreline? At times I’ve even wondered if there’s a more visceral memory behind it, like the sound of a mother’s beating heart being heard in a womb.

I remember telling P that I wanted to be consumed by the ocean. That to be given love and death by something so alive would be an honour. Then suddenly as if the Arabian Sea had been listening, a wave came for me and I leapt back terrified. Of course P almost died laughing, who wouldn’t?

I love the sea but the sheer force with which that wave on French Beach came at me was terrifying. I ran away, it was too powerful. Another time we were on Manora Island and I was chasing big waves – I didn’t think they’d get the better of me. Then one came that knocked me over completely, I shredded my hands on the rocks and had to get a tetanus shot.

These moments stayed with me.  They became a story I once wrote about two lovers and the sea in which I spent a lot of time wondering if there was a parallel to be drawn between relationships and the ocean.

This wasn’t something I was able to explore until very recently. The past three years with Ahmed have been an experiment in dichotomy with many emotional forces at play. Joy, sorrow, anger, happiness, loyalty, betrayal, tears and smiles. Deal breakers aside, is it time to accept opposing forces in relationships and marriage?

Last night we were at a civil ceremony and the word love was thrown around a lot. Incidentally, the day Ahmed and I got married we threw love out of the equation completely because we knew it would take a lot more than a hot air balloon called love to steer and navigate our way through a relationship. P taught me that.

However, the ceremony last night got me thinking about how there is too much pressure on a new and shiny relationship. Why don’t they just tell it like it is? That being in Ikea and being passive aggressive is as much of a reality as Tuesday love and being saved by your significant other because you got stuck in a queen sized duvet cover again. That you’ll get used to tripping over their work bag in the hallway but still look forward to seeing them after a long day. There will be elation but there will also be disappointment and as long as you aren’t triggering your deal breakers, love isn’t the only card you have in your deck to play.

P said it’s because no one really wants to hear the truth on their wedding day. That what we think is a new beginning is also two different histories coming together. Then I suggested that maybe dichotomy is the secret ingredient in a relationship and that we shouldn’t be in love, we should try to be in an ocean.

P thought it was a nice idea in theory but the simple truth is that some relationships are more reparative than others. I suppose they are the ones we don’t need life boats for, the ones we don’t need to save ourselves from. The relationships where we don’t feel like we’re drowning. The ones where the waves don’t threaten but challenge us, make us stronger and bond us together.

I think one of the best feelings in the world is blissfully being in a warm ocean on a beautiful day but life isn’t always like that. I think it’s important to make relationships something we can swim in. Not something to drift, or float, or tread water in but something to swim in. Sure we’ll get tired, need a break, or want a lift but as long as we’re moving towards something whether it’s the shoreline or the horizon, I’m happy to be in the ocean forever instead of a hot air balloon called love.

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