The next day Munthir woke up to the sound of his phone ringing . He looked at the screen hoping it was Amal, but unfortunately fate had another story to tell The name he saw flash before him was Jana’s and he really did not want to hear from her that early in the day. Muttering under his breath he hit the reply button only to hear a loud and bouncy “Hey!” coming from the other end. “Hi” , he replied while trying to hide the sleepiness in his voice.. In fact, he was even making diligent attempts to hide his sentiments for being awakened from his deep peaceful sleep. “Oh! you were asleep?” she said. “No…. no I was not” he replied in a tone as polite as he could master. “Look” she said “I know you wanted to meet an hour eelier than six” . These words instantly woke him up. “Yes!” he cheerfully replied “I do!”. “Well…. I can manage meeting you at 5.” she slowly said ,” I figured I don’t need to make your life too hard, especially that I am not interested in you romantically.” “Thank you ! You are amazing” he said. “Not as amazing as Amal I guess. ” she sadly said, “Anyway I have to go, bye”. ” bye” he said.
He felt elevated, happy, and even a few years younger. He took this morning wakeup call as a sign that the universe was suddenly giving him another chance with Amal. Still feeling lucky, he tried to dial Amal’s number, but he was met with the instant busy tone. “She still has me on the reject list” he thought to himself, “But, that’s ok. I only need to talk to her and to make things right ! ”


Meanwhile, Amal was reminding herself of every word she wanted to say. She was telling herself that if she and Munthir were ever going to end up together she needed to dispense with her ego and pride. She needed to talk to him honestly and openly and to tell him how she wanted to be with him, and how Jana was not right for him. These thoughts , however, were interrupted by a deep sense of sorrow. The more rational side of her felt that there was no fairness in the fact that she was fighting for a guy who she understood, spoke to openly, and who literally turned her life upside down. She felt that in perfect world, she shouldn’t compete with a girl like Jana , as she knew that her competition did not even care to know anything about Munthir. Jana’s only advantage was that she was right in society’s standards.
She knew that this was the society she was part of, and if acting like Jana and looking like Jana was what it will take for his mother to consider her, she would do it. “I’m a woman, and all women can play dirty when forced to!” she said to herself. But, whenever she found her mind engaging in that train of thought, she would stop herself instantly. Her voice of reason would come back to her shouting that this was not right, and that she should could not and will not be dishonest just to win a guy. After all, if she resorted to dishonesty to be with Munthir then he was not worth it. This of course was what her mind was telling her, but her heart was telling her otherwise, and it was that very heart that she was fighting to silence.
However, she did make more efforts than usual to look her best for this meeting. She straightened her hair, did her nails, and even invested in a new eye-lash enhancing mascara. However, she refused to follow her friend Suzan’s advice and get a new hair cut. Sizan said to her that men were shallow and all they cared about were looks. “You make me sound like the ugly duckling” she told Suzan, the last time she tried to convince to invest in appearances. To Amal’s comments Suzan replied “No dear, you look beautiful, but guys don’t like girls with brains. Not in the beginning at least.” Amal replied “I am not going to fake anything. This is who I am and it is either enough to win him over or not. This should not be a competition”. “It is a competition” Sizan replied “It is sad but true, we women are always in a competition with the girls we know and the girls we don’t know, and even the girls we still did not meet. The sooner you learn to deal with it the better.”
Amal thought of Suzan’s words as she was getting ready for her big meeting with Munthir. She wondered if what Suzan was saying was true. She wondered if she was being to hopeful and too idealistic, but yet she thought that Munthir was not like other men and he should see the wisdom in choosing her. Suddenly she paused, as she found herself coming face to face with an overwhelming fear of defeat and loss. She found herself nervous at the very thought of him choosing to be with Jana and it was then that she felt she really loved him. She looked at her watch and realized that it was Five pm. so she went over what she was going to say to him one more time, and she told herself that today was the day she was going to get to be honst about her feelings.

Meanwhile, Jana, a girl who believed whole heatedly in the power of faking, went to her five pm meeting with Munthir. True to form, she was looking her very best, and her most revealing. When Munthir arrived he was delighted to see that she was not late. He thought to himself “Great, I will explain to her my situation and I will tell her gently that Amal is the girl for me.” Seeing him from across the room she smiled and waved to him. He smiled in response and walked up to her. “You look amazing,” she said to him, and naturally he was flattered by the compliment not to mention the whiff of perfume that came from her. “Amal will be a fool not to want to be with you.” she said. “Amal is not a fool,” he replied, “My mom upset her and then the girl came to my office, found you, and jumped to conclusions.” “She loves you, I know that. But she seems like a fool who doesn’t know how to act. If you ask me. ” she calmly said. “I didn’t ask you!” he said,” Look, I came to tell you that this conversation is over. You can’t keep seeing me, or talking to me. You are an amazing girl, but I don’t see us working well together. ” he said, proud of himself for making his declaration fast into their meeting.
Jana smiled at him and said, “Ok ! As you wish. But ask yourself this, why does this girl who seems so great not trust you?” . “This is not your business.” he said in anger. “I agree it is not. ” she replied, “Trust me, I am not telling you this for my sake. I have nothing to gain from this conversation remember ? However, I did agreed to help you, I am doing you a favor by pointing out the questions you forgot to ask yourself. This is not about me at al. If you are thinking I am trying to win you over, relax. I don’t consider men who don’t want to be with me. So, you are right it is not my business. ” and with these words Jana motioned to get up from her seat, but Munthir stopped her, “No wait, look I don’t have much time left, but tell me what do you mean she doesn’t trust me?”
Jana smiled, and then she put her hand gently on his and said, “Don’t you think that she should have known you were not cheating? Even if she didn’t know, shouldn’t she have at least waited for you to explain. She was so sure you were cheating when she walked in your office, that she didn’t even stop to ask you. If she loves you she should care about saving the relationship and she should at least ask you right?” with these words, Munthir glanced at his watch and saw it was ten minutes to six. He knew he had to move if he was to make it to his meeting with Amal, but yet he was so intrigued by this conversation, so he sent her a message saying he will be 15 minutes late. “If you are sending this message to Amal remember she blocked you, so she won’t get it.” Jana said. “How did you know I was sending the message to Amal.” he said. “A guy wouldn’t be so eager to send a message unless he really loved a girl, and your whole face lit up when you sent it. If only she knew, but she was so fast to judge you. If she loved you as much as you loved her, she wouldn’t judge you. ” Munthir smiled, there was something charming about Jana’s intelligence. He then asked her, ” What would you do if you were in her situation?” Jana whispered, “If I was with a great guy like you and I cared about not losing this great guy, I would make sure I asked before I reacted. Maybe she doesn’t have experience, but then again, she is not young and she meets a lot of men. She should know how to act. But if you ask me she is a sweet girl, but I don’t think she is too set on making your relationship work.”
After a few more causal conversations, Munthir left his meeting with Jana at 6:45. He was feeling good about himself. After all, Jana, a girl who can have anyone in the world was calling him a great guy. He went to the cafe where he was to meet Amal but on his way he wondered to himself why Amal did not believe in him as much as Jana did. He arrived at the cafe at 7:00 pm, only to find out that Amal had already left. On his way out the waiter asked him, ” Are you looking for someone?” Munthir replied “yes”, right before giving him a full description of Amal. The waiter looked at him in horror said, “A girl with this description was here. She wouldn’t order, as she kept looking at her watch. Then out of sheer embarrassment I think, she orderws a coffee to go around ten minutes ago, and she left looking very sad.”
Munthir thanked the waiter and got into his car, He drove to Amal’s house just in time to see her leaving her car and entering her building. He ran after her and said, “I was late! ” but then he looked at her and felt that he didn’t even owe her an explanation. “Our appointment was at six, I thought you were not coming.” she said smiling. “Yes as usual you don’t trust me!” he replied remembering Jana’s words, “If you cared, you could have waited, but you don’t care. You only care about being right. Even back in my office, you blocked me and you didn’t allow me to explain.”
Shocked at his outburst, she replied, “You were with another woman, Jana, and your mom told me you were planning to marry her. But, it doesn’t matter. You are here now let us talk.” “I want to discuss this in your apartment,” Munthir firmly said while looking up at her apartment window, ” I don’t let men into my apartment.” she replied, “See, I told you, you don’t trust me. ” Munthir shouted.
“It’s not that I don’t trust you, it is just that I don’t think it is appropriate to let men into my apartment.” Amal said. “What do you know about appropriate !” Munthir shouted, “You live alone, I am not the first man you know. You have trust issues. No wonder you are old and not married. No one will marry a girl like you. But I’m giving you a chance, and If we don’t have trust, we don’t have a relationship.”
“It is not about trust,” Amal said with tears in her eyes, “I do trust you, but you know how society is.” “If you don’t let me in your apartment to talk, we don’t have a relationship.” Munthir shouted. Amal looked at him crying , and said ” I’m sorry.” . “If I am not the man in this relationship, I can’t do it. Not everything has to be your way.” “Munthir, you are here, there is a cafe nearby let us go talk there please.” Amal said. “You know what, I don’t need this. Many girls are killing themselves to be with me. I don’t need this from you.” Munthir shouted. “Munthir?” Amal called trying to hide the tears in her voice, “Why are you doing this.” , but Munthir walked away., leaving her standing at her building door listening to the sound of his car driving off.
Trying to make sense of his outburst, she dialed his number ten minutes later, but his phone was busy, so she unblocked him and waited patiently for him to call her back.

Next part ——————Monday


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