Private Post: Choices!
This is the Story of me and S. I met S. in 1999, during one of those stupid Model U.N. or Model E.U. conferences, I honestly can’t remember which. I do, however, fully remember S. S was beautiful. She was a student in the Political Science College in Cairo University, while I was still a senior in High school. I remember us sitting next to each other and hitting it off immediately; we had just one of those rare connections that you encounter maybe 3 or 4 times in your life if you are lucky. Only one problem: both of us were involved at the time. During that time I was going through my own private Romeo and Juliet Saga with C. (Muslim dating Christian in Egypt= Drama) and S. was kind of going through a similar thing since her boyfriend was Palestinian and Palestinians should only marry Palestinians, so his family didn’t approve as well. We used to sit down and chat and marvel on how stupid this world we live in is, and how we allow things like our religion and ethnic background to divide us. Soon afterwards he broke–up with her, and me and C. had the break-up of the millennium. Suddenly we were both single and both heartbroken, which brought us even closer to each other. But we never crossed that line. Till today I can’t figure out why we didn’t take that step, but I guess many reasons were in play back then: Both of us had just came out of a heavy relationship, so we were both heartbroken and in need to be single for a while; I was leaving in less then 4 months to the States, and she was staying in Egypt; She was older then me with 2 years, and she wanted to get married or engaged soon, while I still had 4 years of college. There were many good reasons for us not to take that step, for us to stay just friends. But the attraction still remained regardless. Some things you just can’t control. It’s funny, because I remember that when it came time for me to leave to the US, she was the hardest person to say goodbye to. We were so accustomed to being a part of each other’s lives that it seemed wrong of me to leave. I remember her lamenting that eventually every person she likes leaves her, and I remember telling her that I am coming back in 4 months for Christmas. That after that I will be back for spring break, and after that I will be back for the whole summer. “This is not goodbye S . Just a long See you later”, I told her with a smile. At the time we booth seemed to believe it. Fast Forward 4 months later, during which we used to chat a lot online, and I even called her a couple of times. It’s time to go home for break. I end up going back, and me and her meet again and it was like nothing changed. That invisible friendship wall still remained between us though. Her eyes always seemed to be urging me to take that next step, to get the hint, to just go for it, and I wouldn’t. Too chicken. Too afraid of messing things up between us. It seemed like this would never change… ..Until new year’s eve 1999 came along and everything changed. That night I was at a party at my friend Sh.’s Villa near the pyramids. All of my High school crew was there, so it was a reunion and a celebration. There was this massive Celebration that the Egyptian government organized for new year’s eve at the Pyramids, where Jean Michel Jarre was supposed to perform his electronic music alongside his worldly known laser show. All of Egypt was going to that party- except us- and you were encouraged to not come driving your car, but to take the special shuttles that they supplied to transport the people who bought the regular tickets and not the VIP tent ones. S. was going to that party, and she took a shuttle with her friends, expecting to get there early and party her ass off. There was one problem with that plan though: The Pyramids street is a regular traffic Nightmare and that night traffic was beyond horrible. It had a lot to do with the organization of the event and the amount of shuttles and the how psychotic Egyptian drivers are in the first place, but to make a long story short, traffic was not moving. It was not moving to the point that it was midnight and their shuttle was still stuck in traffic. I am not kidding. The girl ended up spending her millennium new year’s eve in a shuttle with 2 of her friends, surrounded by strangers and tons of traffic. It was horrible. I remember her calling me around 12:30 crying from frustration, and how she should’ve listened to me and went to that party with me in the first place. She asked me if I could come and get her (Sh’s house was on the other side, outgoing traffic from the pyramids area and it was very much empty) because she just wants to go home at this point. I figure that the party I was at wasn’t likely to get better anyway, so I agreed. I drove up to the area her shuttle was stuck, the three girls came out and I picked them up. I felt so bad for them, it was 12:45 am, on New Year’s Eve, and they were going on their way home already. Sucky. After I drove her friends home, it was time to take her to her house as well. On our way there I start noticing that she was starting to tear up. I stop the car and try to cheer her up and she starts bawling. I try to make light of the situation to cheer her up, “Wow, all those tears for missing a stupid euro-trash rave?” “It’s not just that”, she replied through her tears. “It’s everything! Nothing ever works out for me!” “Why do you say that?” I replied, while kind of knowing the answer. “Because nothing ever does. Look at tonight. I spent the millennium’s new year’s eve on a bus. And that’s just so typical. My plans never work, my relationships never work out. The guys I like either leave me or leave the country..” and she pauses immediately with this horrified look on her face. She said too much. (This is your moment boy. Take it!) And I did. I placed my hand on her face and I leaned forward and I kissed her. (Moment of truth) She kissed me back. (Awesome) We finally separate, and we look into each other’s eyes. So much is said without talking. And then we go at it again. Making out in hungry abandon. Totally lost in that moment. All the frustration of the past 9 months coming out in one 2-hour long kissing session. Back then I considered it one of the best nights of my life. The morning after, well, that’s another story. That’s when reality set in. We kissed last night. We passed that line. What the hell is going to happen now? I call her, and for the first time it’s awkward talking to her. We agree to meet to talk. Both of us seemed really nervous. In a pensive mood. Probably because we knew what was to come. We would both talk about how last night was a mistake, how it would never work out for a million reasons, how we don’t want to lose each other’s friendship. Two cowards waiting for the other to be honest about the way they feel, but don’t have the courage to be honest themselves or to even ask each other about the way they feel. We were very mature that day, and that was the first day when I realized that maturity was another word for cowardice and dishonesty. Fake smiles, fake relief, a promise “to return to the way we were” that both of us knew we wouldn’t be able to keep. Meeting’s over and we are “oh so glad we could work this out”. A couple of Liars. That’s what we are! Thankfully, I had to go back to the States on the 4th. I didn’t talk to her until the night I left. Short phone call. Awkward. Yep, the damage was done. Things will never be the same again. Over the next few months we hardly talked to each other online or on the phone. When I went back for spring break we made bullshit plans to meet that neither one of us intended to keep. It was for the best, you see. Then the summer came and I was back for a whopping 3 months. Don’t really have any excuses not to meet-up. I call her and she is cold, but agrees to meet up. We meet and within 3 minutes she drops a bomb on me. “I am getting married!” Some dude saw her in a party and asked about her. He then tried to hit on her and when it didn’t really go his way he took his father and proposed to her. She accepted. “But why?”, I asked. “I have to go on with my life, you know!” was her response. “I need something to work out for me!” She then informed me that she can not see me or talk to me again, because she will be a married woman soon and she can’t possibly have male friends anymore. She just thought it would be more respectful to do it “face to face”, given our history together. And she left. I was hurt, and I was furious. So that’s it? It’s that easy? We are out of each other’s lives just like that? And what’s with the “can’t be friends with guys after I am married” crap? So that’s all we are to you? Wedding opportunities? WTF? Now imagine how much my fury increased when I spoke to other girls I knew and they informed me that they are likely to do the same the moment they got married as well. “Ohh, we were friends forever, but it was all just a way to see if we can get married. Now that I have a husband, I have no use for you. Bye!” That’s just wrong. Anyway… Low and behold a few days later I discover that the guy who proposed to her is the good friend of my Brother-in-Law’s partner, and that they tend to go out frequently. When I asked them what he was like, their response was : “Total scumbag. Has a thing for whores and belly dancers. He got a belly dancer pregnant just a few months ago and then pushed her down a stairwell so she can have a miscarriage”. Then my brother in law said “didn’t he get engaged to some really beautiful girl?” and his partner quipped “Yeah, and that is not stopping him or slowing him down. We were just at his place yesterday and he had like 3 whores waiting for us. It was one hell of a party! Hahaha”. (Oh God) What am I supposed to do now? I asked myself. The angel on my right shoulder said “She is getting married to this total piece of shit. You should do something. You should tell her, so that she break-up with him immed..” “Stop right there!”, the devil on my left shoulder said. “Why is it any of your business? Wasn’t she the one who approved of getting married to him? She must have snooped around him or something, so she must have an idea. Plus, I specifically remember her telling you to stay away from her. So do that!” “But he is a scumbag!” the angel screamed. “You have to save her from him. You have to tell her the truth. She may know something but not the whole truth. You have to do something before it’s too late.” “You have to do shit. Like she would believe you anyway and not think you were just trying to sabotage this for her. What? You want another thing to fail for her? You want to be the cause of her heartbreak again? Face it, You can’t save her, and she probably doesn’t want to be saved. This is what she wanted. Let her reap what she sowed. Let her get what’s coming to her. She asked you to leave her alone, so respect her wishes. Do Not Get involved.” The Devil won that day. I said nothing. I even pretended not to know anything about him when I bumped into her in public 3 weeks later. She introduced us to each other. I told him that I heard all about him from his friends with a fake yellow smile. And I left after exchanging with him seriously hostile looks. Just walked away. And that was the last I’ve heard of either of them until last night, when I bumped into her at a restaurant in Heliopolis. She was carrying a child and looking seriously older. She looked sad and weary. “So, when did you come back?” “Last October. It’s been a while. You had a kid? “Yep. That’s my daughter Zeina. 18 months old” “She is adorable. So, how are things with Y.” “ We are divorced!” (We have just lost cabin pressure) I asked her what happened, but I knew the story before she even said it. She knew of his philandering but he promised her it would all stop the minute they are married and she believed him. He behaved himself for 2 months and then he started cheating and mistreating her. She thought a child is what they needed. He became a bigger asshole. He started beating her. She asked for a divorce and ended up getting one after giving up all of her rights. “But things are better now”, she said, giving me a tired smile. “I have Zeina, and that’s all that matters”. She gives me her number, saying that we should get together sometime and reminisce about the way things were. I tell her that she can count on me calling her. I am still in shock when she leaves, and I slowly watch my hand erase her number from my phone. I can’t face her again. I just can’t. Look, I know that it was her choice to marry him. She even knew of his flaws and she did it anyway. She got screwed, sure, but it was by her own bidding. She chose to marry the man knowing that he is a scumbag. It was her decision. Personal responsibility and all. I know I did nothing wrong. But if that’s true, then why do I feel so guilty? I guess Mark Twain was right: As we get older, it’s not the things that we did that we end up regretting, it’s the things we didn’t do that we regret most.