“What’s wrong, dear?” I asked, worried. She remained silent. “Dalia, speak please.” I heard her take a deep breath then she said calmly, “Listen, Khalid, I’ve been thinking a lot lately; about us; about you and me.” She paused for a couple of seconds then continued, “And honestly, I don’t feel the same way I did before. I’m no longer sure that this is what I want, or that you are who I want.” I closed my eyes the hardest I could and tried to concentrate in order to comprehend what I was hearing. She kept going, “Something has changed. I don’t know if it’s you or if it’s me. It’s just not the same anymore.”
Her words penetrated me like bullets. I was in disbelief. I was lost for words. I finally managed to formulate a “What?” that came out barely audible. “I’m sorry. Please try to understand. I’ve been having these thoughts in my head for a while now and I tried to dismiss them but they just won’t go away. I can’t help the way I’m feeling. You and I don’t feel right like we used to,” she said. “I don’t understand,” I said. She just shrugged and did not say anything. “May I ask why? What’s the reason for this sudden epiphany? What happened to make you change your mind like this, to make you feel like this? Was it something I did or said? Because if that’s so, I’m truly sorry. You know I never meant it.” “No, no. It’s not sudden. I told you I’ve had these thoughts for some time now. It’s nothing that you have said or done in particular but rather a big mix of many small things.” I was feeling utterly annoyed with the emotionless tone of her voice. She was like a news broadcaster delivering some horrible news but without it having any effect on her whatsoever like it did not concern her. Plainly explaining to me why she no longer wants to be with me.
“But then why didn’t you tell me the first time you felt this way? Maybe we could’ve worked things out,” I asked her. “This was something I needed to figure out on my own.” “So, now what? That’s it? You don’t love me anymore. It doesn’t matter that you have said you do only a couple of hours ago. You just pressed a button in you and everything simply disappeared?” “It’s not like that. I still love you but that’s not enough. What’s the point? I need something different from what you can offer me. I’ve come to realize that you’re not the one for me.” “Don’t you think it took you a little bit too long to realize that? Or is three years the equivalent of three days in your mind or something?” I was getting angry and frustrated. “Still not three years yet,” she pointed. I opened my eyes in disbelief! Is this the response she has? “Oh, I’m sorry, my mistake. Two years and eight months. I apologize,” I raised my voice at her.
“You don’t have to yell or get angry and please don’t be mean. Don’t you think I already feel as guilty as hell? It’s not easy on me too. This is not something I want to do.” Then don’t!” I exclaimed. “But I have to. So we don’t waste more time with each other than we already had.” “What? Waste more time? That was what we had? A waste of time?” “I’m sorry. That came out wrong. You know what I mean. We had some great times together and shared many beautiful memories but we can’t have more.” “What if I don’t want to accept this? What if I’m not going to play my role and go away? I’m not ready to let you go this easily. I love you. What can I do to make you see that and realize that what you’re doing is a mistake?” “Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do.” “So you’re calling me just to inform me of your decision because your mind is obviously made up.” “True. I believe this is what’s best for both of us,” she said. “What’s best for both of us? Are you serious? You obviously didn’t think much of me when you made this decision.” It was too much for me to grasp. There was no way this could be happening. This is all just a stupid nightmare.
She then said, “I meant to tell you sooner but I thought it’s best to wait till now since I’m leaving tomorrow. This way we both could have a break from each other. We need some time to think and figure out things.” “But I never asked for a break or time to figure out things. What’s wrong with you?” “We’ll talk when I get back. It’s only a month or so.” “I still don’t understand. Now what?” “Now we both go to sleep and we’ll talk when I get back, ok? Goodnight.” “Have a safe trip,” I said. It felt like a stupid thing to say but I guess I was in shock and did not know what else to say. She said goodbye and hung up. Of course, I could not sleep. The next night, I waited for her in the airport and saw her with her family entering the terminal. I do not know if she knew I was there or not.
The best term to describe what I was going through the following month is denial. I felt kind of empty and sad because Dalia was not here but not to a great degree. I kept assuring myself that this is just a phase, something we will pass through. I told myself that the minute she comes back everything will be fixed and we will go back to the way we were before. I still did not know what prompted her to act that way but I reasoned that I could easily talk her out of such nonsense. I mean I love her. She knows that better than anyone else does. Why would she decide to end things so suddenly and unexpectedly? I remember at some point during that phone conversation, I felt like this was happening to someone else, not to me, not to us. Dalia loves me and everything will be just fine between us when she comes back, I assured myself for the millionth time.
On the first day of the new school year, I called her early in the morning. She did not call me as she said she would when she comes back. She did not answer the first time so I called her again after a few minutes. “Hey,” she said. I smiled when I heard her voice. “Wait,” she told me. There was a lot of noise and laughter wherever she was that she had to go to somewhere a little bit quieter. “Good morning,” I said. “Good morning.” “Where are you? What’s all this noise?” I asked. She giggled and said, “It’s nothing. I’m at Starbucks with some friends. Anyways, how are you?” “I’m not fine. I miss you. When did you come back? Why didn’t you call me?” “I came back like five days ago. Sorry I meant to call you but I’ve been busy. Yeah I missed you too.” She said the last part of her sentence in a friendly way yet it did not sound sincere. “Dalia, I truly missed you. This passing month didn’t change a thing about the way I feel for you. It has been like hell without you.” She did not say anything so I continued, “I love you. That’s my best argument. Why don’t you give us a second chance? If more space is what you want then it’s fine but we don’t have to cut things off like this. I mean you came back and didn’t even bother to call me.”
“Listen, Khalid, please don’t make this harder than it has to be for both of us. You’re obviously still hung over me and didn’t move on. I think it’s best if we didn’t speak for some time.” I could not believe what I was hearing. “What do you mean still didn’t move on. I don’t want to move on and of course I didn’t move on! It’s been only a month! Why do you say it like it’s something I should be ashamed of? Why are you being this cold?” “I’m sorry. I really have to go but I’m worried about you. We’ll talk later. Bye,” she said and hung up.
During the first couple of weeks of school, everyone noticed how disoriented and upset I have become. I am usually a cheerful loud personality always laughing and making jokes so it was unfamiliar that they see me at the back of the class with my head down most of the time. I did not tell anyone anything though. I was a man with a mission now. Win Dalia back. I convinced myself that there is no way she could forget everything we shared just like that. I believed that by some effort on my side, she would see the mistake she has made and she will change her mind back. I made up excuses to call her and talk to her for a couple of minutes every now and then.
A month later, I was feeling progression or so it seemed. I thought that my plan was working and I felt slightly better. Then one of my best friends, Bashar, took me aside one morning and asked me, “What’s going on between you and Dalia?” “What do you mean?” “When was the last time you saw her or spoke to her? Are you speaking to begin with?” he asked me. “Of course we’re speaking. I talked to her just last night,” I replied. “That Bitch!” he said. I thought I misheard the word at first but looking into Bashar’s expression, I knew he meant it. “Hey! Watch your mouth and be careful what you say,” I yelled at him. “I take it she didn’t tell you then,” he said. “Tell me what?” I was puzzled now. “I saw her with Amro not once but twice this last week.” “Amro who?” I asked. “Amro, your friend Amro,” he told me. I felt like the world was falling below me.