Listen to: Clint Mansell – Memories
For Part 2 (previous part), click here.
I wonder if he’ll ever know how much I cried for him that night. Much like every other night, but this time it was different. I cried because my lover was fighting for his life in that surgery. I cried because I couldn’t be there for him. I cried because I was helpless. I cried because the last encounter between us, I told him I did not want to hear his voice.
I was afraid that fate would take him away from me. I tried to pray, but I couldn’t stand still. I was shivering. I wasn’t ready to let him go, nonetheless let death take him away from me. I wasn’t thinking; I was completely blank. His friend’s voice kept echoing in my head and all I could picture was my baby’s smile. I called Ibrahim’s number but it was out of reach. I didn’t have anyone else to call and his friend left no number.
I logged on to his facebook, hoping for reassurance of some sort. There it was, the crash scene. His friends had the audacity to post pictures of his car smashed under a truck. I don’t know what feeling took over me that moment, but I know that it lingers on till this day. It was an unexplainable feeling of despair and confusion mixed together in a void that kept increasing.
Soon, people began leaving prayers and wishes on his wall. I realized how much I didn’t know Ibrahim. I had no idea who these people were, but they knew him very well. His wall became a scene of memories; old pictures and videos of him along with others were being shared. For the very first time, I began to know him. I kept thinking to myself how lucky they all are for having done such adventours things with him, and how unlucky I am for not even having lived a minute in his arms.
My tears began rolling down again when his mother posted on his wall. She wrote, “ya ibni beriday 3alaik la tmoot, ana ma ba3tak 3al gherbeh la ma terja3li.” Her post had over a hundred likes within the hour. Everyone was telling her to stay strong. I had an urge to message her, but Ibrahim and I weren’t at this stage yet and she was not aware of my existence. I wanted to tell her that I was in love with her son. I wanted to take my sadness and share it with her — tell her how her son used to make me happy. I wanted to speak with her; I heard her voice before. Ibrahim used to put her on speaker while they spoke and I would listen silently. We played a game. He used to do funny faces and I couldn’t laugh or she’d hear me. Sometimes he would ask me if I wanted to speak with her, or his sister at least. He didn’t want us to be a secret anymore. Every time he’d suggest that, I’d get scared of my family and refuse. That night, however, I wished more than ever to have said yes before.
I couldn’t stand being around all these strangers my lover knew. I felt invisible. No one shared my pain and I had been closest to him than most of them. I got out my secret scrapbook. I had in it pictures and names of all the places we planned to visit. He used to pick out the pictures online and I would print them onto it. Then we’d make a list of the things we wanted to do there. Kissing was always number one. I mourned a future I thought I had lost that night.
The sun was up and I had an exam to fail. I had no power to move out of bed, nor could I sleep. Eight hours passed since Ali’s call and I heard nothing since. The hardest part of that day was putting on a show for my family and pretending everything was okay when my entire world was falling apart. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I knew if I said a word to anyone I’d be in trouble and never hear from Ibrahim again.
The car ride to school was awfully long. My mother was telling me of a young man proposing; his mother was to visit us on the weekend. She said he was a handsome man with a strong body and masculine features. He was everything a girl my age would dream of. Rich, young and handsome. But he was no Ibrahim. I wasn’t paying attention to her. She asked if everything was alright and I almost broke down. She had never seen me this pale, so she pulled over.
“Fee shee? Tell me, I’m your mother.”
“No, nothing. We’re going to be late, please drive.”
She reached out to my shoulder and said, “Only a mother can tell if her child is not okay. You are not okay.”
A tear slipped by and she caught it. “Are you in trouble?” she asked. I shook my head and cried some more.
“Honey, tell me what is it,” she said and wiped a tear off my cheek, “Whatever it is we’ll get through it.”
I looked away and said nothing.
“Is anyone threatening you? Are you safe? Do you want me to call your father? Tell something, I’m not moving this car till you say what’s wrong.”
Her persuasion methods were like salt being sprayed on an open wound. “Mom,” I uttered, “You know when someone you really care about might not be there the next day?” Her face wrinkled up in confusion, “Is one of your friends in the hospital? Is that it? Is she okay? Why don’t we visit her after your exam? I’ll get flowers, what’s her favourite type?”
I was this close to believing her. I was about to tell her everything, but I didn’t know where to start. Should I tell her that I’ve been in love with someone I never met? That I’ve been talking to a complete stranger day in, day out, for the past five months behind her back? Should I tell her that he may be dying as we speak? Or that we had been planning our future together? I didn’t know. So I nodded instead, sighed and said, “I’ll tell you everything after my exam.”
I didn’t know how I was going to start, but by that evening, I was planning to tell my mom everything.
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 3; chapter 2: A Mother’s Heart.