My friend asks me why I like her, but I don’t know what this question means, let alone how to answer it. Liking is a fundamentally unstable state with its own laws. There are some people who I agree with in every way and yet I don’t like them at all, while there are others who are in disagreement with everything I think, yet with whom I feel sympathy and even warmth. How can I explain to my friend that the things that to many people make her unlikable are perhaps the things that make me like her most of all?
If I told my friend, I like you because I have a precedent for liking you, and I like you when you’re in certain moods and I’m in certain moods, and when you’re absent I like the memory of you, and I like our shared history, and I like how you might someday become despite the fact that by that time we might no longer like each other—what would she think of that?
I don’t know what liking is but I know it increases in savor with each separation and reunion. I know it’s a satiety, which means it must be preceded by a hunger. Maybe liking is like that judge and his pornography—you know it when you see it. Maybe that is what I should tell my friend—I know it when I see it. I know you when I see you. When I see you, I like.
Emily Dezurick-Badran is a writer, librarian, and roller derby player living in London. She’s currently working on an archive podcast and a detective novel.