Sunday, August 17, 2014

you thinked of me

"I used to fantasise about a conversation we never had in which she said: Darling, I'm overstretched and this is what my work diary looks like, and these are the uncertainties I have to factor in. Would you mind if we kept our plans tentative? I'll let you know as soon as I can't make it. The dream I imagined would fill me with love. In the daydream, I felt wanted, cared about, I felt thought of. Once I met Marcy for lunch in London - this was before I started seeing Emily. Marcy was visiting on business. She had brought Josie with her, who was four at the time, and in fact I had arranged a babysitter so that Marcy could go to her meetings. I arrived with a present for Josie, a toy giraffe, giraffes being something of an obsession of hers. When she took the toy, this child of four said, with her soft brown eyes looking straight into mine and in a voice containing a tiny element of surprise that almost broke my heart, You thinked of me. The daydream I used to have was one in which I felt thought of by Emily. Life is short, as the old saw goes, and there is so little time on this earth, none of it, not one minute, ever to be recovered, the years of the locust restored not here if anywhere, lost time never to be found, time so dear that the respect for another's time must be the very beginning of respect, so that if a lover can't give you that first respect then...well."
From In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rehman.

Fall of Junior year, post Economic Development at Hampshire. I remember driving back to school with about four other girls in the car, but no one whom I’d be comfortable shedding tears in front of. If you knew me even a little bit, which I sometimes doubt if you do- because you always loved, only ever learnt to love, carefully sculpted versions of me that fit neatly into your imagination of the idea of I, you would know that I hated, hate, being vulnerable. That I had let down certain walls with you in the blind hope that you would not violate what was behind them. I was, of course, mistaken. I’m still hoping, and therein lies my naivety (although I doubt it can be called that now, after all this time, and my own obtuseness.

That day we had an argument, and like most of ours, it was stupid. You told me you didn’t enjoy talking to me anymore, that it felt like a burden, that you wanted this to end. It wasn’t the first time you had said this, and it wasn’t the last time you would. I remember breaking down in the car, and I remember that no one knew what to do- what could they have done? Hand me a tissue and say “There, there, it’ll be fine”? How do you respond to ugly, uncontrolled emotion from someone who is normally so composed?
So they let me be. A pat here and there, but they left me alone. They never brought it up again, and whenever I revisit the incident in my mind, I am grateful for their understanding, for not asking. 

I got home and called you, that was the day I ran up a massive phone bill- which you paid for. $3 dollars a minute for a conversation where I was begging you to rethink, and we know that begging is a torturous, long winded process. A hundred and eighty dollars, eighteen thousand rupees, and God knows how many dirhams. And I suppose it was a transaction we made to absolve you of the guilt of my humiliation, the unnecessary pain you caused me time and again. 

Oh, love makes fool of all of us. 

Even now, you make me buckle down in front of my own demons.