The first Wednesday after the finals, I was having a late lunch with my family at Steakhouse. Our results were due to come out on Saturday and I was anxiously awaiting them. I had done really well in the exams; even better than what I expected myself to do. However, I was not sure my total marks would accumulate enough to grant me a passing grade in a certain subject. It was not just me; our whole class did not do well in this subject so there were rumors we might get a curve up in which they would raise each of us a few marks. I hoped I passed the other subjects but still I was not entirely sure I did. I have been extremely nervous that week with little desire to sleep, eat or go out. I needed to know that I had passed before I could relax and enjoy the vacation.
Just as we were paying our bill in preparation to leave, a friend of mine, Ahmed, called. “Hey. Where are you? What are you doing?” he asked. “I’m having lunch with my family at Steakhouse. Why?” “Well, are you ready?” “Ready for what?” I asked. “Are you calm? Are you prepared? You know, I think you should sit down for this if you’re standing.” I was puzzled and a little bit worried now. “Come on Ahmed. What is it? I’m not in the mood for your silly games.” “The results are out!” he said.
“Oh my god!” I gasped. I was not expecting them today. I shushed everyone around the table. “And? How did I do?” I asked in a trembling voice. “You passed everything. You even have a total grade of a C,” he delivered the wonderful news. For a couple of seconds, I was speechless. I just had this strange look as I was trying to comprehend what I have been told. “What? Are you sure? Don’t play with me,” I said. “Yes I’m sure. Congratulations,” he said. “YES! I PASSED!” I screamed loudly in the restaurant in a way that made everyone there think that I must have lost my mind. Then I asked him how did he do and he told me he has gotten an A. I congratulated him and told him that I am coming to college as fast as possible then I thanked him before I hung up.
The manager had come wondering what is behind the scream so my mom informed him of the news and he kindly offered us cake and ice cream on the house. I hugged everyone then excused myself and headed to college. I could not bear to sit in the restaurant one more minute and wait for the cake because I needed to see the results with my own eyes. Most of my friends were on their way to college too.
A couple of hours later, I was aimlessly driving around in my car. I had too much adrenaline in my system to go home. All of my friends had passed and a few got good grades so we were in a festive mood. We agreed to meet at night at Friday’s to celebrate then everyone went home. We had booked a table for twenty there. I did not know what to do until then so I called a close friend of mine and asked her what she was doing. When she said she was just watching a movie I asked her if she wanted to go out and she said yes. I told her to meet me at Balsamico. She said it would take her an hour at least to get ready and get there. I continued driving around.
“How the hell did we wind up like this? Why weren’t we able to see the signs that we missed and try to turn the table?” As soon as I heard the first verse of Nickelback’s song “Someday” on the radio I felt my chest tightening. This was one of our favorite songs Dalia and me. I was lost in a string of memories for a few minutes before I decided that my story with her needs a better ending than the current one. There were plenty of things left unsaid and just hanging on the tip of my tongue. I had a mixture of emotions trapped inside of me. I needed to get rid of my baggage because it was weighing me down. True I was moving on but I had been having the sense that I am trying to sail away while still tied to the shore. I needed to let her go for good so I can go as far as I could. I needed some form of closure.
I dialed her number a few times but she did not answer. I sent her a message saying, “Hey. I really need to see you. It’s important. Where are you?” A few minutes later, she called. “Hey. How are you?” I asked. “Fine. You?” she responded. “I’m good. Anyhow, where are you? It doesn’t seem like you’re home.” “No, I’m not. Now what do you want?” “I need to tell you a few things.” “I’m listening.” “Oh no, this can’t be done over the phone. Tell me where you are and I’ll meet you. It won’t take long.” “There’s nothing you can’t say over the phone. Speak,” she sounded very cold but I did not let it get to me. “You know well enough that I could find you if I wanted to. So please can we get this over with?” “Fine, I’m at Casper,” she said after a pause of silence. I was slightly surprised she gave in that easily. “But I’m leaving in fifteen minutes,” she said. “Don’t worry it won’t take me five to get there.” I was lying since I was considerably far from Casper’s location but I sped until I managed to get there in ten minutes just in time to see her and Amro coming down the stairs in front of the entrance.
I parked the car, got out and stood at the end of the stairs. I noticed he was holding a wrapped box in his hands. They both looked annoyed by the sight of me. When they were down, Amro said to Dalia, “I’ll go put this in the car and wait for you.” “Oh how sweet of you getting him a present. I’m sure he deserves it,” I said then looked at Amro, “Amro, would you mind staying since this is something you need to hear too.” He reluctantly stood in his place.
“Well, I apologize for interrupting you like this but don’t worry I won’t take more than a few minutes of your precious time. This will be the last time I bother any of you. I just need to get a few things out of my chest so I can get on with my life.” It was obvious that neither one of them cared about whatever I wanted to say but they were just waiting for me to be done so they can be done with me. I continued, “Our results were out today just in case you didn’t know. I passed.” “Congratulations,” she mumbled. “It’s no thanks to you but thanks anyway.” She was looking away. “Dalia, please look into my eyes when I’m talking to you. Don’t look away or is the sight of me reminds you of your betrayal and fills you with guilt?
I have loved you, Dalia. I really have. Perhaps I still do on some level. I was willing to forgive and forget. I was willing to do anything to make us get back together and to have again what we once had but I guess we didn’t have much since it was easy for you to throw it all away. I’m not sure if you knew this even though I think you did, I was never going to be just a friend of yours. I honestly tried but I couldn’t. All the time we were supposedly friends, I was trying to win you back. I was hoping that, somehow, I could remind you of how we used to be but everything I did only served to push us further apart.
You won’t believe how many times I blamed myself for everything that happened. You won’t believe how many times I questioned myself what have I done wrong. What was the unforgivable mistake that I must’ve made? What was it that caused you to leave? I never knew. I tormented myself for not fighting enough for you. I kept telling myself that maybe if I had tried a little bit harder I could’ve won you back. That feeling was consuming me until I came to realize that it has nothing to do with me. It’s your own choice and I’m not less of a man because you decided I’m no longer good for you.
Actually, I know I’m better than Amro. In fact, I know that I’m one of the best men you’ll ever meet in your life and deep down I think you know it too. Letting me go is one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make. It might not seem like it now but with time, you’ll come to realize this. I would’ve given you everything and asked for nothing in return. I would’ve given you the world and more. I don’t know if I could’ve made you happy but you know very well that I’d have gladly died trying. In my book, that’s enough. It’s too bad you’re not going to have that anymore. One day you’ll think of me and I’ll be thinking of someone else.
See? This is my heart. Do you remember the day you had your head here and listened to its beats? Do you remember how many times you told me you loved me? Do you remember all of the promises you made to me? Do you remember our plans for the future together? Do you remember anything at all? Where have all of that gone? Tell me because I really need to know. How could you just stop loving someone? I guess all of that means nothing now.
Was it all a lie? I keep telling myself that it wasn’t but how will I ever know for sure? I can’t believe you anymore. You lied to me over and over again and I, willingly and foolishly, believed you. I denied the words of my family and my friends just for your words. I told you the first time we ever spoke; I hate lying and being lied to. You lost your credibility forever. Even if we’re to ever get back together I can never trust you. If you lie once, you’ll lie twice and if you lie in one thing, you’ll lie in another.
You say you and Amro started going out only after we broke up. How can I ever know if that’s true? How can I know anything is true when you say it? It’s not that I think you’re a bad person. I just thought you were so much better than this. I deserve to be with someone much better than you are.
And Amro, I don’t think you’re a bad person either. I just no longer consider you a friend because my friends have to be better than you obviously are. Don’t get me wrong now both of you. I don’t hate you at all. I simply don’t care about you anymore. I wish you neither the best nor the worst. You don’t exist as far as I’m concerned. You’ve taken enough of my money, time and emotions than you’re worth.
Everything in life is a choice. True there are some things that are destined, which we have no control over but we choose how to deal with these things. Then we have to face the consequences of our choices whether good or bad. That’s how we learn and grow as human beings. You chose to break my heart and you chose to go out with her. I chose how to deal with that and unfortunately, I didn’t make good choices and it’s taken me an entire year to choose that I’m not going to be your victim anymore. I’m sorry if I took longer of your time than I said I would but I needed to let all of that out. Thank you for listening and I guess it’s goodbye for good now.” They turned around without speaking a word and headed to his car.
I spoke rather quickly and in a disoriented way because I did not know exactly what it is that I wanted to say when I sent the message. I just said whatever came into my mind. I do not know if any of what I said got to them or not but it did not matter. I felt each word coming out like poison being sucked out of my veins. I was purifying myself. I got into my car and I never looked back. I felt like an enormous weight has been lifted off my chest. I could finally breathe easy. I smiled and wiped the tear that was forming in the corner of my eye. I turned on the stereo and started singing along to Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” as I drove to Balsamico where I was supposed to meet my friend.
“Take your memories I don’t need them… Take your space and take your reasons… You’ll think of me”