It has been five years since I met Dalia for the very first time. It does not feel like it has been that long since that night when we were sitting not far away from each other listening to the pianist playing on the grand white piano in the lobby of Le Meridian. It is strange how time passes by so fast and you never notice until you stop to do so. I have never reflected on the past before. I have never taken a moment to just sit and think of the decisions and choices I have made, the good and bad ones.
I had fallen in love with Dalia. I had with all of my heart. However, not everyone is lucky enough to fall in love with the right person. I have never expected the day that I would say, “Dalia wasn’t the one for me” to come. I would never belittle the intensity of my feelings for her at the time but I could tell now that I was young and immature. There were too many factors contributing to our relationship that helped it to develop as fast and go on for as long as it did. It was never meant to last.
A couple of times I had pondered the question of whether I would have fallen in love with Dalia had she come at this time of my life instead of back then and gladly, the answer was always probably not. Now I know for sure. True, I have missed her in a way. I missed talking to her a little too especially since we used to talk over the phone for endless hours, something I do not do as much with Layla but my heart is in the right place. I love Layla for who she used to be before me, for the girl she is now and for the woman I know she will be in the future. Dalia fades in comparison and whatever feelings she might stir up in me are barely residues of the first time my heart has beaten for someone.
Most people can recognize certain events or individuals that represent turning points in their lives. Dalia is one of those turning points for me. Today I could honestly say that I am grateful for her. I am grateful for the times we had shared, the beautiful memories we had made and even the heartache she caused me. Surely, she could have dealt with her realization that we did not belong together in a better way but I have to excuse her. She was as young and immature as I was. Not to mention that at some point between Dalia and the time I met Layla I had caused unnecessary pain to a girl who did not deserve any and I learned how hard hurting someone could be.
Two years ago, Dalia called me one summer night and broke my heart into pieces. I did not know how to deal with the pain and how to move on which lead me to waste an entire year trying to collect those little pieces. Naturally, I met a couple of girls during that period in effort to get Dalia out of my mind but it never worked. One of them was the one I had hurt. I was only numbing the pain instead of treating its cause. I avoided my emotions but with time, I discovered the ability to fix myself and found my inner strength. It sounds like a cliché saying it but it is true. Sometimes you have to get broken in order to rebuild yourself stronger and better than you were. I remember a quote I once read somewhere, “Life breaks us all. Afterwards, some are strongest at the places that were broken.”
I grew up as a person. I developed my current character. I learned how one should deal with one’s mistakes and misfortunes in addition to good fortunes. I re-established my relationship with God and strengthened my faith. In addition, I have found Layla; my beautiful future wife and the mother of my adorable yet to be born children.
Our first year anniversary was just around the corner, less than three weeks away. I had arranged for the whole thing. Layla was supposed to come back from Egypt after two weeks. She has been gone for too long. I missed her a lot. I was lost in my own stream of thoughts when Dalia interrupted them asking, “Are you there?” “Yes, I’m still here,” I replied. I had forgotten she was on the other end of the line. “Do you believe in second chances?” Her question was still hanging in the air between us. Heavy silence had fallen as I sailed down memory lane and lost track of myself. I knew the answer now.
“I do believe in second chances but not in this case. I’m sorry. It’s just too late for us. Do you remember a time when I begged you over and over for a second chance? That was the only time such a thing was possible but not anymore. I’m in love and this time, with the right person. She’s crazy about me too and for that I’m the luckiest man in this world. To have such an amazing person love you so much is a privilege and is nothing less than a God’s heavenly gift. You might meet her one day and I have no doubt in my mind you’d instantly see why I chose her to have my heart and be my wife. I’m not saying any of this in order to compare you to her or make you feel less of a person or anything.
I’m just telling you that to make it perfectly clear to you that we can never get back together, not now and not later. Layla is the one for me and honestly, I’m very grateful for you for everything because all of it led me to her in the end. She makes it all worth it. I hope you don’t mind me asking though, I thought you and Amro were still together?”
“Well, yes we are. It’s just I’ve been having these thoughts for some time now and I couldn’t help wondering what if. Something happened between Arwa and her boyfriend, Fahd. You’ve met him once before. Anyhow, they’re getting married next week and you remember how I used to tell you about their fights and such and how they eventually broke up. They got back together a couple of months ago and they couldn’t be happier. That’s mainly the reason. I’m confused. I keep thinking of you and Amro and I just can’t decide.”
“Then I have made it much easier for you. I’m no longer an option. True there was a time when I would have run back to you in a minute but that was a completely different person. Nevertheless, I must say it’s unfair that you’d even ask this question. It’s unfair to me and even though I don’t care, it’s unfair to Amro but I wish you the best. You need to know that I hold no grudge or bad feelings for you. As I said, I’m actually grateful for you and I do hope you’d experience the happiness I am experiencing now with Layla because your question doesn’t indicate you are. And for the record, I want to let you know that I have never spoken ill about you and I never let anyone do so in my presence because it’s not your fault what happened between us. You just didn’t know how to deal with me, not to mention I’m above that. I sure hope you do the same for me too. I have loved you truly but that was a long time ago. Take care of yourself now please.” “Thanks,” she said then paused for a second before adding, “For everything.” “You’re welcome. Now I really need to sleep because I had a long day. Goodnight.” I waited for her to say Goodnight then I hung up and went to sleep.
I dreamt about Layla.