"My uncle has a vacation house in Wisconsin," she said, "we have big parties and the local bar has rootbeer on tap.
If you know the right people, they'll give you drinks for free."
So one night we all went up there, and everybody came. Every member of the tiny town showed up and we had a fire. That night I watched their faces glow orange, beer burning through their veins, as they watched the flames with desire.
I wondered to myself, what are all these people thinking until my thoughts were blinded by a shock of red hair illuminated by the fire. I went and sat down next to him and asked him what he was thinking.
"Love," he said.
And I said, "Love dies." And he looked at me like he disagreed.
So I said, "Love and hope, faith and truth, wisdom and virtue are all just the words of poets. When they die, so does the rest of it."
He looked at me with a strange glint in his eye and finally, he said, "I believe you." And then he said, "I love you."
"No you don't. You don't know me."
"Yes I do. You're me. You think the way I do. Besides, if love dies, then what's the big deal?" He whispered as a light crossed his face, like someone who had just made a huge relavation.
"What makes the world keep going around and around," I asked, "is it gravity, or is it love?" I proclaimed.
He looked confused. He looked deep in thought. So, I left him to stare into the flame and went up to my room. He saw me there watching, and then when the embers faded and died, he left. The next night, another fire, another party. I saw him sitting in his spot beside the fire and as I sat down, I asked him, "What makes the world go around and around?"
"Gravity is just an invention of man, to explain why he cannot fly, while birds and insects can. Man is afraid of his own failure in such heroic feats."
I told him he didn't understand the question. I watched my dog chew on a can for the rest of the night, when he fell back deep into thought and didn't speak again. Just as he did the night before, he waited for the fire to dwindle, and then left.
The next morning, he was sitting by the fire pit in the same spot as the night before. I asked him why he never moved.
He didn't have an answer, but as I was walking away he said, "Love isn't real. Gravity keeps the earth going around and around." And I told him that he was wrong. I told him that love was real, that gravity was bullshit. I told him he still didn't understand the question.
"I give up," he said. He kicked the dog's chewed can into the fire pit and covered it with sticks. I stood watching him,and finally I said, "Why does man make fire?"
This he could answer. "For light, for warmth. Man makes fire to sustain himself, for safety."
Then I said, "Then why does the sun orbit around and around?" The dog pawed tentatively at his can in the fire.
He looked at me, puzzled for a brief second. "Light and warmth. Sustenance. Safety. The earth could not float freely without colliding into other planets. There would be no life without the sun. The earth loves the sun. That is why it orbits."
I told him that now, he understood. "What is real, love, or gravity?" I asked.
And he looked at me, and said, "Love is real."
"Then what is gravity?" I asked.
"Gravity is the result of love."
So I asked him a question he had already answered. "So do you love me?"
"Yes, I do," he said, "I love you."
So I decided to antagonize him. "What if I don't love you?"
To that he had no answer. So he stared at the warm, burning flames and I watched from my window, just as I had before.
The next night he looked at me differently. I asked the question again.
"What if I don't love you?" I murmured. "What if I can't?"
He answered, and his words shocked me.
"Then nothing would be holding me here. Or you. We'd float away into nothingness, into different lives. But you're still here, and so am I. And I am not going to leave."
So I told him that I couldn't be his sun, and he smiled, I told him that I was not warm, I could not protect him. I stared into the fire of his hair and watched the light refract off the strands. Then I made the face that he had made, when he realized he knew the answer to my question. He recognized the shock, and finally, the acceptance.
"Do you love me?" He asked.
And finally, I said yes.
So he asked me, "What happens now? What happens to all these emotions? Do they die? Or do they live on?"
And I said, "They're already disappearing. Everyday, every aging second, they die. But for now, we worship them."
"What happens next?" He asks, and I tell him, "I thought I was the one asking questions."