N O T E
How am I always waking up on the wrong side of forgetting you?
To whoever is lucky enough to be Maira’s next,
She is jealous. Furiously, viciously, desperately jealous. It’ll annoy you, fuck, it’ll annoy you. But don’t get angry, learn to love it. It means she loves you, she cares. She cares so much; she’ll think every girl can see what she sees in you. She is scared of the dark sometimes; she has nightmares, bad ones.
Hold her. Hold her so tight, stroke her hair, kiss her forehead and don’t sleep without lingering your arm around her limbs, please don’t let her go. She has a sense of humour you’ll never find in someone else. She’s so funny; a dark and honest humour will make you laugh until your stomach hurts. She’ll love to laugh, make her laugh.
She throws her head back and her brushes off her shoulders and her eyes light up so bright it’s indescribable; you’ll know what I’m talking about.
She is insecure, heartbreakingly so. She always has been and she probably always will be. She’ll put the duvet over her body and she’ll turn the other way if you look at her for too long, but she is beautiful. In every light, in every season, at every time of day and in every dimension of the universe, she’s beautiful. Remind her, every day.
She’ll blush and shrug it off but she’ll smile and when she thinks about it lying in bed that night, and that’s worth the stars in the skies.
Lastly, she doesn’t give second chances. She didn’t give me one. I didn’t deserve one but I’ll never stop wishing I got one. At every opportunity, kiss her in the street, buy her flowers (she loves jasmine), dance with her at parties and don’t break her heart.
Please don’t break her heart. Because that’ll end up breaking yours twice as bad. You’ll fall asleep to the sound of her closing the door behind you and you’ll never forget it. Love her, because she’ll love you. She doesn’t do anything in halves, she’ll love you whole heartedly and she’ll do it so very gracefully. Love every single one of her flaws, if you ever manage to find any, love her how she deserves and don’t make my mistake.
Yours truly, I lost her.
“Pass the bread please,” Delnaz looks over at me from across the dining table. All my family is seated around this morning. It’s a new day. I lift off the plate and pass it on. My eyes search Maira’s as she nibbles on her cereal. Mum has prepared delicacies we both haven’t had for a while, yet she has stuck to cereal. Maybe the reason is because she’s seated beside mum?
The air inside the house is warm and filled with mum’s love. The puffs of vanilla and exotic spices and foods fill the air. My mother’s presence has always brought significant light similar to illuminating gleam of the sunshine which used to brighten up my house and soften my father’s heart and make my residence a place where stars meet after they had shown all night for the nocturnal dwellers basking around in the night’s serenity.
Today, the gleam of that brightness has faded a little. I wouldn’t say I bluntly hate mum or something for the December night incident but yes, my beliefs have been badly shaken. The base on which I have built myself up has cracks and I don’t know how long I’d survive with that.
There is still a corner in my heart that belongs to Maira.
I pull off my eyes from the duo. A day has already passed between me, Maira and the kiss and I am starting to question if she remembers what she has done and what she has said? My subconscious is hell bent to put his money on a ‘no,’ while I feel myself getting inclined in that direction too. I want to feel her full weight on me so something presses on my chest other than sadness.
I want to laugh and be idiots under the moonlight again; crossing streets and holding hands. I want to hear her tell me how ‘shy’ looks so beautiful on me and see that gleam that said she was so desperately trying to crawl into my shell, making me forget how my shades are so black and blue. I want to get lost in our simple conversations and hold her when she’s crying and when the shaking of her chest feels like saw blades—I just want to love her.
I’ve been happy lately—since the kiss, let’s be honest here. Careless and drowning in naivety, but happy. I know now that it is worth ignoring the threads of sadness that linger, like the taste of blood in my mouth, subtle and lasting, because all pain will eventually dull. I know that it is easy to blame people for their shortcomings, and that it is even easier to misinterpret their intentions.
And I know that it is worth waiting for second chances, because even if some people have proven to me that they are incapable of change, I owe it to myself to find those who can.
I know life’s about learning.
When someone breaks our heart, we so desperately want them to know how much they hurt us, thinking it will change something. But it doesn’t. They can respond empathetically, feel guilt, and hopefully learn how to avoid hurting someone so badly in the future, but your hurt isn’t going to change the situation and likely won’t make them feel anywhere near as bad as you do.
Even if they did something horrible, they’re telling themselves whatever they can so they can feel better too, we are all always in survival mode—“They’re hurting now, but it’s what is best for them in the long run,” “It was unavoidable.” Whether their internal dialogue is true or not, we are experts at convincing ourselves that our actions are justified.
Your pain is yours to work through; no person can be both the cause and solution of your hurt. Don’t be afraid of expressing it because it’s real and can be so overwhelming, but you don’t need to “prove” your pain, hoping for some sort of response. If anything, it will push them away further, and delay your moving forward.
Ultimately, you don’t want to be with someone only because they don’t want you to be sad, or because they feel sorry for you. You shouldn’t guilt someone into loving you, and them pulling a lesson from the situation is their task. You work on your own.
Move on quietly, love yourself loudly.
I don’t want to have to be the one who mourns everything when everyone else has clearly forgotten. It’s mortifying. It’s mortifying to be the one who remembers.
Maira’s phone rings obnoxiously loud, breaking my trance. She has moved to avoid it by silencing it. Mum gets up from the chair and walks over to the fridge, taking out the leftover cakes and pies from last night. Sabira squeals at the sight. She has always had a thing for doughnuts but Halloween pies have happened to manage to bring out the same excitement. Wafaa moves to grab her coffee from the coffee maker. Maira’s phone again rings.
She is sitting a seat away from me. I can clearly see her screen. It’s an unknown number. But the numbers of missed calls have reached a seventy now. I’m curious now, jealous too, perhaps. Who is he? A stalker? New lover? Did she meet someone last night at the Halloween party? How do I know it’s a he? It can be a she too…okay she. Who is she?
My eyes roam her face, looking for a hint, a blush, a smile, an I-am-in-love type of nuance. Her eyes look everything but happy. She is worried. Her eyes are fidgeting, her fingers playing with the spoon. Her hair is tied by a clutcher, the loose strands flying in the chilly winds. She adjusts the clutcher, once, twice and for the third time.
She’s thinking about something. Fidgeting and over analyzing stuff is one thing that gives her away whenever she’s trying for nonchalance. Then, her phone again rings; it’s her security manager this time. She walks out to the garden to receive it.
All of us had forgotten Maira’s absence until we heard her shout into the phone. Wafaa had moved to the living room with her laptop and headphones on doing a guest lecture after breakfast so she’s static after Maira’s uproar. Sabira, Delnaz and her kids had gone for a shopping spree so, at this point of time it was just me and mum home and of course with Maira in the garden. Mum is in the guest room, far away from the garden so I think Maira’s scream hasn’t reached her yet. It’s a good thing, you know?
I walk out of the house towards Maira. She is in a heated discussion with Dave, her security manager. “DAVE, EVERY AHLUWALIA ON THE PLANET ISN”T RELATED TO ME!” she is yowling.
She turns around when she hears steps behind her and at once the anger washes of her face when she sees me. She points out at her phone and mouths that Dave has gone mad. I grin. Maira’s mouth twists into a small smile when the frustration is again back. Dave has something again and that has pissed Maira.
“No, Dave, I’m not changing my number again. It’s such a task to tell everyone to save this one,” Maira moves past me as I look on her. I guess it was regarding the anonymous contact.
“No, I can’t let you do them again,” Maira sounds a bit too shriller than she intended to. “Last time, I lost fifty important contacts.” A smile crosses her face then, “You had saved Stephan’s number as ‘Dad’ and Zaahid’s as ‘Hubby Darling’ and oh Harry’s was the best, ‘Side Hoe’ really?”
Maira is angry yet the smile is etched on her features. It doesn’t want to leave but Maira’s rage is pushing against the wind. A loud laugh escapes my mouth before I can control it. Maira turns around and notices my presence again. I guess, I had to leave? The smile, the frustration and anger, everything wipes off her face. She stands there aghast as if something has flashes before her eyes. A memory is revisited. She’s figured out that night. Zaahid, she will question you. My subconscious has read her before I have. The phone call ends when Maira says she’ll call him back in a minute.
“What happened that nig—”
“Nothing,” I reply, crisp and clear.
“I was in your clothes—” Maira is tapping her foot impatiently. Her tone has increased from the calm one she used a minute ago.
“I changed yours.”
“You had spilled whiskey on yours.”
“I could have slept in those and in my room!” Maira is whisper shouting. The wrath is back with a vengeance.
“Mum was coming in the next morning,” I walk closer to her, trying to tone her down. What if mum came out? What if Maira blew off my cover right at this moment? I am shit scared. “You reeked of alcohol,” I hold her by her arm, pulling her towards me. We had to tone it down.
Maira wrung my hand forcefully, escaping my grip and walking backwards. Then she opened her mouth to yell but I pulled her towards me and turned her around. Locking my arms around her, I kissed her cheek.
Maira is stunned by my actions, I am too. I never meant to do that. Though I have successfully managed to keep her from screaming, I have posed a problem for myself: thick, musky awkwardness. We both stand pressed against each other, astounded and speechless. None of us know what to do next.
I kiss her shoulder, after brushing her hair from one side to rest on her other shoulder. Maira turns crimson. She’s flushing so hard and I can feel her heart beat pounding against her entire being. I kiss her ear and then her neck. Now, Maira is pushing against my arms. She is digging her nails in my hands.
I whisper when the pain is unbearable, “Mum is standing in her window, play along.” I move to show her the reflection I first saw when Maira was yelling, in the nearest glass vase diagonally situated to us. Maira relaxes. Taking a moment she finalizes on a decision, and then she smiles. The force, with which she is faking it, isn’t new to me.
I will never forget the times when we both have shared love and care and those perfect sunset evenings, those cheesy late night talks and those deep conversation walks. We used to text each other when both of us would be on the different side of the globe, performing, singing and dancing. Those texts were filled with so much honesty. So meaningful and so long. She truly was my best friend—she knew me like the back of her hand. Every ‘okay’ and ‘yeah’ of mine was known to her and the tone with which they were said. But destiny was never on our side, for our love suddenly died.
I would console myself, after I drove her off. I remember crying so hard when I reached home that day. My heart was left astray because she had walked away, leaving me hanging. How could she hurt me after all the efforts I had done? How could she be so heartless to the one whose love was relentless? She splintered my heart open. But though she had tattered me into pieces, she’s still part of my 11:11 wishes.
“Oh Honey,” Maira cooed and sarcasm dripped from her lips. I kissed her hair then, tightening my arms around her. Her blush seemed so opposed as compared to her words. In a temperature that is as cold as right now, we surely could cook chapattis on our skins. We were hot and flushed. My ears were burning, this was so unlike me.
I murmured in her ear to laugh softly as I nuzzled in closer. She laughed and irked at the thought and then when I kissed her gently, she writhed in my arms, feelings all tingly and nice.
After a beat, we notice mum had walked away and had drawn her curtains. Maira and I had instantly broken off the closeness. When I was almost ten steps away from her she says, “Don’t you ever pull a stunt like that, again!” Her shy eyes and pinkish red blush said otherwise but yeah for the time being I agreed on that proposition. Suddenly, I remembered the news I had spill out for her, especially when we were alone. My eyes grew wide and she mirrored me.
“I had to tell you something,” I began, walking in closer. “I’m leaving.” I stated that with finality. Maybe I was looking for a certain kind of a reaction there.
“You should,” Maira nodded, then turned around slowly.
“I am working on the album and I need to release it next year. So, I will have to stay in Los Angeles for quite a while,” I explained. Maira turned around faster than the speed of light. Her eyes grew wide in horror. Maira understood what I was trying to say. I was leaving and she’d be here alone with mum and seeing their history, this wasn’t nice news.
“When are you leaving?” there is a panic in her voice.
“In a week,” I look at my feet, and then up at her. She nods at me. I am irking to ask her if she will be able to manage, if she won’t blow me off because since Denise’s birthday night I can’t be sure about her anymore. She has been mad and fiercely mad too. I can’t be guaranteed by her anymore.
“You will—” I begin to question.
“I will be working, so no worries,” she chirps in, an honest smile that reaches her eyes, decorates her face. “I have the second leg of tour and then award nights around December…” she begins to check her schedule, Gia might have sent.
“Yeah, with the album coming out in spring next year, I think, I’ll keep myself occupied,” Maira gazes at me from her screen. Relief shadows her features. She takes a deep breath to let that sink in. She’d be alone but she’ll be working. Sounds like a plan.
When we both begin to walk away from the garden she calls out to me, “Zaahid!” I turn around to see her giving me two thumbs up and a huge smile, “Give it all that you’ve got and make me proud.” The grin on my face is similar to teenage boys. I feel I’ve already accomplished a part of my destiny.
“Thank you!” I respond and she dismisses that with a flick of her wrist and plays with her hair—disheveling it and making it unruly. Then, she walks off, taking a piece of my heart with her too.
The good thing is I’m not addicted to cocaine.
Can I tell you a secret? You don’t have to be in relationship.
I mean it. I know they force it down your throat until you choke on it. Girls aren’t pretty unless they’re wanted. Boys are men unless they’re having sex with someone. People aren’t loveable until they’re dating someone. But a relationship won’t always make you happy, and as wonderful as romance is, it isn’t the only love that exists.
I have seen friendships that are deeper and more pure than couples who swear it’s a forever—and yet friendship is the one people ignore. I have heard so often, ‘nobody loves me,’ out of the mouths of the people who are single. And it kills me because if you ask them: where are your parents, your teachers, your classmates, your pets—they say, yes, okay, but that doesn’t count.
Of course it counts; love doesn’t diminish only because someone doesn’t want to have sex with you. In fact, doesn’t it sort of make that love more real that they want nothing—not even a date—out of you?
It’s pretty to be in love. It’s magical, I’m sure. But it’s also magical to stop for ice-cream in your prom dress with six other girls. It’s also wonderful to go visit the world with nothing but a bunch of buddies who are really excited about learning. The problem is: we’ve made everything about ‘the one.’
Stop trying to find ‘the one’ as a means of filling gaps within your heart. But maybe ‘the one’ is just you, loving yourself, having fun, and being happy. Maybe instead of looking for our other halves, we should be piecing ourselves together. Maybe I wasn’t born unfinished. Maybe I am the one who makes me better.
Almost a week has gone by and I leave for Los Angeles tomorrow. I can sense the charged negative ions in the air. The negativity that is going to be ensued as soon as I leave is super charged up. The air inside the house isn’t warm with sweet reunion; instead it’s cold and icy, ready to bite into our skins as soon as the sheath keeping them off lifts—me moving out of the country.
Maira has already kept herself busy. Gia had walked in yesterday to take her out for her Vogue photo shoot and today, she has been discussing with Maira all about her upcoming guest appearances, promotions, award functions and the upcoming album release dates. They both have been in my study since morning.
We all know about each other’s schedule by now. I know when Sabira has to go for volleyball practices and when she turns in her assignments and when she does her homework. I am also fully aware about Wafaa’s lecture days and when she is video recording her lectures in the guest room or posting them on YouTube as a part of the universities curriculum. Delnaz is usually handling her website transactions and purchases in the afternoons when her kids are sleeping. While mum…err let’s just say I feel like she’s acting coy.
Since the past days I always feel spied upon. I feel a gaze is always lingering behind me and let’s just say I feel its mum. Yesterday, I found her in my study, going through old diaries and books, I was relived she didn’t bother with Maira’s personal ones on the top most shelf. This morning, she had been looking around in my bedroom drawers for what, I don’t know, and I can’t begin to question what she’s doing.
When Sabira saw her going through Maira’s cupboards did she question and the answer was a simple one lined one—I’ve been de-cluttering the cupboards. We all knew about Maira’s messiness but I didn’t think mum was just ‘de-cluttering’ you know? The tone she used and the way she batted her eyes just said something else. It looked as if the reply was long practiced and rehearsed.
Today, since Gia has come in, mum has been going into the study for various reasons after every minute or so. First, she wanted a book, and then she forgot the name of the book. For the next attempt, she had remembered the name and the next excuse was she was looking for papers ‘I’ had asked for. Then, she had picked the wrong file and in search of the ‘right’ file she had picked up Gia’s documents regarding and Maira and brought them into the hall.
When Gia had searched for them, then ‘old age’ had been a factor and she ‘might’ have picked Gia’s file by mistake. All were lies. Each one of them. And I couldn’t begin to see why mum was acting like that. I know Maira and mum didn’t have the greatest of histories but still…
It’s nine at night and Gia has long gone home. Mum and my sisters are in the living room watching television together while Maira and I sit in the bedroom. The moon shines through the window and I sit back on the couch as gaze at my world. Maira is on the bed, going through her laptop. Her face is scrunched up in disgust and I know she’s mad about what happened earlier this morning with mum going all FBI on her, but she doesn’t say anything.
She’s flaring up, I can sense that but I don’t utter a word. I’ll be leaving in less than twenty four hours and I want that time to be spent in imprinting Maira’s image on my heart. I just want to take her all in—all of her dazzling, beautiful, fearless, resilient, iron-winged, powerful self in.
I was halfway to happiness, getting caught up in things that didn’t matter and endlessly hopeful that time would roll backwards so this feeling would last. She smelled like cigarette ash and sadness, and I found myself growing silent as I finally understood the distance between us, and what it means to give up on a person.
Love happened in an instant. In a moment of absolute clarity, the curtain was drawn, the shadows were gone, and only the ashes remained, I didn’t know that as quickly as it had arrived, love would leave, with only those ashes to remind me of what I had done.
There’s a lump in my throat that answers to his name.
Please drop me a comment or a vote if you think this deserves it and give me a chance to improve. All the love as always, Mahak xx