Faith, by Quim Monzó
“Maybe you don’t love me.”
“I love you.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t know. I feel it. I notice it.”
“How can you be sure that what you’re noticing is that you love me and not something else?”
“I love you because you are different from all the women I’ve known in my life. I love you as I’ve never loved anyone, and as I’ll never be able to love anyone again. I love you more than myself. I would give my life for you, I would let myself be skinned alive, I would let them play with my eyeballs like marbles. Let them throw me in a sea of sulfur. I love you. I love every fold of your body. I’m happy just looking in your eyes. In your pupils I see myself, in miniature.”
She moves her head, anxious.
“Are you saying it truly? Oh, Raül, if I knew that you loved me truly, that I can believe you, that you’re not tricking yourself and, therefore, me… Do you truly love me?”
“Yes. I love you as no one has ever been capable of loving. I would love you even if you rejected me, even if you didn’t even want to see my face. I would love you in silence, hidden. I would wait for you to leave work only to catch a glimpse of you from afar. How can you doubt that I love you?”
“How could I not doubt it? What concrete proof do I have that you love me? You say you love me, yes. But those are words, and words are conventions. I know I love you. But how can I be certain that you love me?”
“By looking in my eyes. Can’t you read in them that I truly love you? Look me in the eyes. Do you think they could trick you? You disappoint me.”
“I disappoint you? How little you love me, if such a trifle makes you disappointed in me. And you still ask how I can doubt your love?
The man looks in her eyes and takes her hands.
“I love you. Are you listening? I. Love. You.”
“Oh, ‘I love you,’ ‘I love you’… It’s easy to say ‘I love you.’”
“What do you want me to do? Kill myself to prove it to you?”
“Stop being melodramatic. I don’t like that tone at all. You always lose your patience right away. If you really loved me you wouldn’t lose it so easily.
“I’m not losing anything. I’m just asking you one thing: what would prove to you that I love you?”
“I’m not the one who has to say. It has to come out of yourself. Some things aren’t as easy as they seem.” She pauses. “Maybe I do just have to believe you.”
“Of course you just have to believe me!”
“But why? Who can assure me that you’re not tricking me, or even that you yourself believe that you love me, and that’s why you’re saying it to me, even though in the bottom of your heart, without knowing it yourself, you don’t truly love me? You could very well be mistaken. I don’t think you’re in bad faith. I think when you say you love me it’s because you believe it. But what if you’re mistaken? And what if you feel for me is not love but affection, or something like that? How do you know it’s true love?”
“You’re upsetting me.”
“All I know is that I love you and you bring me down with these questions. I’m getting fed up with it.”
“Maybe you don’t love me.”