Listen to: Remembrance by Balmorhea
For part 1 (previous part), click here.
It was all too beautiful till we began fighting. One day, we both woke up and felt agitated towards the other. There was nothing I could do about it, but make it worse. I bottled my frustration till it flooded and took away its first victim: us. He asked what was wrong. At first I said nothing. He asked again and said I wasn’t like myself. I shook my head and said, “wala shee.” He tilted his head and rubbed his just shaven chin. “Are you sure?” he asked while knowing I wasn’t. What I said haunts me till this day. Maybe had I said anything different, we would still be together. Maybe if I let out my tears instead of building up my walls, we would be talking about having our first baby. Maybe, just maybe, if he had more patience for me, for us, for our love, he would be here or I would be there.
I said, “I’m not sure of anything anymore.” He stopped rubbing his chin and frowned, “what do you mean?” “Wala shee, nothing, nevermind, let’s change the subject.” He persisted to know for a bit, but I was stubborn to hold on in anger. It was his fault as much as mine. Perhaps a little more since he was the older, wiser, dominating alpha in our relationship. I do not recall what happened, not because of faulty memory, but because nothing really did happen. It was nothing that tore us apart. Just like nothing that brought us together in the first place.
When all else failed, we both chose not to speak to the other. Perhaps a break from one another needed to take place. There was a gap between us. I believe it has been there since the day we met; it was elastic, and the only way we could keep it intact is if we filled the space with our cheesy love. It widened to the point where my lover became a stranger in my life again. But he was still there, and I was still there. We still loved each other. We did. I did. We underestimated the distance between us and thought it would make us count our blessings. It did not; it broke us apart.
For a while, there was no love. There was just pain, and lots of it. I would walk with a tear locked in my eye. Whenever anyone asked me what was wrong, it would escape my eye and another would instantly form. I hated that question. Nothing was wrong. Wrong was wrong itself.
I could have told him I loved him when he asked what was wrong. I could have shown him my vulnerability. I did not. I toughened up. I was not myself with him. I became what he wanted his partner to be. I was submissive, but he was not authoritative.
Our problem, amongst other things, was that we could not stay apart. We were no longer separate entities, rather, dependant on one another. It was like we had forgotten what it was like to be alone. We were like a couple on their honeymoon, except there was none of that adult stuff between us, not yet anyway. Our relationship as a whole was based on how much we talked. If we talked less, it meant there was something wrong with us. We did not know that our relationship could stand on its own if we let it, and quite frankly, we did not want to test it either. We knew it was weak, but our love was oh so strong, we thought it would be enough. It wasn’t.
It all came down to that one night. We were both online, he was available and so was I. I guess I could not stop being busy since that night, and my statuses were never green again. I opened a blank chat with him and stared at it. There was so much I wanted to say, so much I needed to say. My heart, however, felt empty. My thoughts refused to leave me. It was as though my inner system was too proud to let me speak. It did not matter what we fought about, what mattered was that we let it come between us. I was anxiously waiting to see “is typing right now” appear at the bottom of the screen. For an hour or so, nothing appeared and I was glued to my screen like a locked up bird desperate for freedom.
I had a final exam the next day. I was a senior in school and he should have known better. I was a child who translated her fears into tears, and so I cried. Right when I was about to sign out in a fury, he spoke to me. He said, “I bet you’ve been staring at an empty chat for a while.” I gasped to my screen. “I’ve been studying,” I coldly replied.
“You have an exam tomorrow? I had no idea!”
“You would have known had you asked.”
“Tayyeb ana fayet nam. Knock’em dead kiddo.”
“Ok, don’t knock’em dead, knock’em unconscious.”
I didn’t reply.
“Not even a lol?”
“Ok. Tesbahi 3ala khair habeebty. I will call you after your exam.”
“Don’t. Ma bedi esma3 sotak.”
“Do you mean that?”
I didn’t reply.
“I will call you. I love you, don’t you forget that.”
I did not go. I stayed up reading our conversation over and over again, thinking of different scenarios and how they would have ended. I went to the exam with it engraved in my memory. I failed my exam. I failed at my relationship, too. If our relationship was an exam, I would have passed it. I re-lived that chat over and over again. I kept thinking of all the things I could have said, and cursed at myself for not saying them.
I could have told him I loved him when he said he loved me. I could have shown him my vulnerability. I did not. I toughened up. I was not myself with him. I went to bed thinking about all those in love and how happy they were that very moment, while we, cupid’s exception, were engulfed in misery. Some would say it was my fault, but as the years went by, my if only sector teamed up with guilt and turned against me. I tell our story as though I, in my complete power, pushed away my one true love and was to blame for our breakup. I blamed myself so much so that I believed I was at complete fault.
I was tired of fighting. I just wanted to be with him minus all the drama. I brought it to myself. I wanted it to end, so I waited for him to call. I placed my phone on bed and waited. I waited to hear his voice, I longed for it. I waited for our love to push through. I waited for a second chance. I needed that second chance. I waited and waited. For hours, he did not call and night has come. My waiting turned into tears, tears of despair. I was certain it was over. But I was still so madly in love with him. I wondered, how could a relationship end if two people still love each other? How. I could never answer that.
Then it rang. I grabbed my phone like a hungry lion fetching its prey. It was a blocked number. I wiped my tears and picked up. “Baby,” I said with a warm heart. “Is that you?”
“Um,” a strange man’s voice appears. “This is Ali, I’m Ibrahim’s friend.”
Surely he was not sending his best friend to breakup with me. The different scenarios forming in my head collided with each other and exploded into a huge question mark. “Oh. He told me about you, you’re his best friend. Why are you calling me? What’s going on? How did you get my number?”
“Easy on the questions. Something happened.”
I gulped, like an innocent man on death row.
“Ibrahim has been in a car accident. He’s in surgery.”
I shriek in terror, “What? When? What happened? Oh my God, is he going to be okay? I, oh God, oh God.”
“Please calm down. The doctors assured us, he will be okay. Just pray for him. I need to close now. I’ll call you if anything new comes up.”
“No, wait. Give me your number. Hello? Hello?”
The line went cold and I froze.
Modern Romance will be an attempt for me to start a strain of thought long enough to contain all parts of a novel. It is not a novel, but an attempt at writing long short stories cut into different posts. This is part 2; chapter 1: The Fight.