‘There’s no such thing as reciprocity in religion’, says the atheist; ‘it’s just take and take then they give a bit. just enough for you to want more.’ he said, lighting up a cigarette.
‘Don’t tell me it’s a lot like love?’ she says. Recognizing the new topic that was coming about.
‘That’s what YOU think.” he says, stirring his now cold coffee. There was something about the way he held the spoon… it was loose and yet, refined. A little shaky, but with a conviction to stir and not spill any of it on the table.
‘Well, out with it then. Elaborate.” her crooked smile couldn’t help but be more apparent with her facial features. A lone dimple emerged by the her cheeks. He noticed this, along with several other facial reactions from their talkathon.
‘Well, for starters, it’s the selfish ones that think that. What if, you tell me that you don’t feel like things are equal… but you don’t really take the time to see what you don’t see?’
‘Explain.’ she says, urging him on. This was like their Nth topic now and it was seemingly turning in to a debate.
‘Love isn’t really like how some people write dialogues. You can’t always take turns in the exchange, take for example… the explanation of points and sides; do you really expect the other person to keep giving verbal queues just to show that they are listening?’
‘No, not really. But who knows? Maybe they are just being polite?’
‘It’s plausible. What I’m saying is that you can’t always expect reciprocation in everything. There is never an equal push and pull as physics would suggest. Love isn’t something you can measure or explain.’
‘Like that infinite integer that loops back to it’s original value? I think you called it Wau.’ she asked, quoting one of their earlier topics.
‘Possibly. That’s a good point though… yes, Wau. it all goes back to the original value. In this topic’s case,’ he paused. It was like his mind was trying to process something he could verbalize, and then continued, ‘the one you love’
‘cheesy bro. cheesy. What does that have to do with the point on equal reciprocity? or lack thereof?’ she mused at him. He talks too much, she thought. He gets lost in translation and in the explanation of multiple points in one sentence most of the times. It was like beginning a sentence without really knowing how it was going to end.
‘I guess it represents an absolute. A theory of entitlement.’
‘How can absolutes remain a theory then?’
‘It’s…’ her cynical question caught him off guard.
she interrupted. ‘No quoting Camus or Sartre. No Bukowski either, please.’
‘Well, the theory is that, when people expect something, they want to get something. It’s an act of reciprocity. You give, you can’t help but expect an equal return of whatever it is you gave in the first place. That, in itself, is an absolute. An endless cycle but it all boils down to that one person you are expecting it from.’ the look on his was a bit confused now, as if he said something he was still piecing together…
‘Point taken, but it’s like you are going around in circles…’ she then remembers referring to that singular number called Wau… ‘A mathematical truth, huh?’ she adds… ‘And yet you seem to say that you can’t really measure something like that.’
‘Not necessarily… maybe it’s not supposed to be measured. In the end, it all boils down to that one.’
‘That one person, eh?’ he mutters underneath his breath.
He puts her picture frame, face down on the table as he finishes his coffee.