I never want to be apart from you again, Charles, except in the restroom, and when one of us is at a movie that the other does not want to see. I will love you if I never see you again, I will love you if I see you every Tuesday.

I will love you if you cut your hair, or if you cut the hair of others. I will love you as the starfish loves a coral reef and as a kudzu loves trees, even if the oceans turn to sawdust and the trees fall into the forest without anyone around to hear them. I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce, as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture.

I will love you as a child loves to overhear the conversation of its parents and the parents love the sound of their own arguing voices, and as the pen loves to write down the words these voices utter in a notebook for safe keeping.

I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fires love innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong.

I will love you as a dagger loves a certain person's back. I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates and apple and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, although I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try. I will love you as we grow older which has just happened and has happened again and will happen again and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several days before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of ever clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passing of time.

I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther and farther from one another, where once we were so closed we could sip the curved straw and the long slender spoon between our lips and fingers respectively. I will love you no matter where you go and whom you see, no matter who you avoid and who you don't see and who sees you avoiding where you go.

I will love you no matter what happens to you, and no matter what happens to me as I discover it, and no matter how I am discovered after what happens to me happens to me as I am discovering this.

That, Charles, is how I will love you even as the world goes on its wicked way.