As she came in the door from her day at work and his gaze fell on her, he sneezed. He was thrown into a fit of sneezing. It was right when she appeared to him, his nose tickled for a split second and then the explosion of sneezes. He had a hard time catching his breath between the shotgun-like firing of his face.
“You’re allergic to me,” she smiled and kissed his forehead.
His became very somber when he heard that. What if it was true? What if there was something in her or around her that he was allergic to? She noticed his demeanor.
“I was joking, silly,” she laughed.
“Oh, yeah,” he responded with a weak chuckle.
She made her way into the other room and he sat in his chair becoming increasingly concerned. Then he considered the sun. He wasn’t alone in being inspired to sneeze by the sun. It was the same sensation as he just experienced, a little tickle in the nose and then a cavalcade of sneezes. But was he allergic to the sun? He couldn’t be.
Weren’t we all allergic to the sun, the actual sun, simply because we were allergic to infernos? It was the light that the sun cast, it was the earthly representation of the sun rather than the sun itself that caused the sneeze. It was that light, not the sun itself that made the difference to him. The sun’s essence covered him, surrounded him and tickled his nose. With the sun, its light was worth the sneeze.
It was the same with fire. Fire was heat. It was the fire’s essence that drew him to it for warmth. But he didn’t want to lie in the flames, he just wanted to enjoy it from a distance. The smell of fire also contributed to its essence and that was a pleasant scent to him. It didn’t make him sneeze.
Money held a similar distance between the love of its essence and its physical representation. Those that loved money weren’t often seen memorizing the texture of bills or following the lines of the ink with their fingers. They didn’t spend their days learning about the percentage of cotton in the construction of it or how the various denominations smelled. People fell in love with the essence of money, the idea of wealth. They fell in love with money when it was represented by a number in a bank account or by wood and stone in the shape of a house. They loved the idea of who and what that money could buy, but very rarely was it the love of the paper the idea of the money was printed on.
It was then that he realized what he was in love with. It wasn’t her body, her eyes, her voice, her smell. Yes, those things were wonderful and important to him, but it was her essence that drew him to her and it was almost impossible to describe. It was that essence that made the bed warm and his sleep deeper when she was there. It was that essence that settled the house when they were together. It was that essence that made a movie better even though they sat silently watching it.
He felt as though he would be able to know her essence anywhere, in anything. If she were haunting some dark forest and he walked through it, he’d feel her. If she was locked in the waves of the ocean, he would know her as he swam from the beach. He would be able to smell her were she to hide in a flower. He would know her if she fell on him in the rain. He wouldn’t be fooled by her in another body, as some different creature or even in another time. He was crazy about the wonderful package her essence flowed from now, but knew he would love her as anything imaginable. And how did he know he would know her?
He’d sneeze. And oh, how he’d love it.