From that night, the minutes turned into hours, and the hours turned into days of defining silence. Amal attempted to call Munthir on more than one occasion but she was met with no reply. She told her friend Suzan, “I just need to understand why he left so suddenly. If only he would tell me.” Her friend replied “Understand what dear, he dumped you. He doesn’t feel he owes you an explanation. Maybe you feel he does, but he believes otherwise. “Amal said “But, that’s so not like him!”, Suzan replied “Maybe you didn’t know him as well as you thought”
Amal believed in the logic behind Suzan’s harsh but honest words, but it took her a long time to get over the pain. Above all she was angry at herself, for allowing her brain to give way to her heart. She was also scared, scared that she had conducted a fatal mistake that drove Munthir away.
She would often find herself lost in her own thoughts, trying frantically to re-play each and every conversation, outing, look, or gesture they shared. It wasn’t so much about nostalgia. She had no desire to reignite a relationship with him, she just refused to believe that a smart girl like herself was unable to solve the riddle of his sudden disappearance. However the universe has its ways of revealing the missing pieces of any puzzle in life. After the passing of exactly three months and week on his sudden departure , all her questions were answered. On one unassuming morning, as she was picking up her coffee on the way to work, she accidentally bumped into one of his friends. Ignoring the burning questions she had inside her, she opted to do the respectable thing. She shook hands with his friend and decided to engage in idle chit-chat about the weather, the traffic, and the news as she waited for her order and he waited for his.
After ten minutes the waiter called her announcing that her coffee was ready, she grabbed her coffee to go saying “It was nice seeing you Sadeq”. However, she did not predict what she was about to happen next. Just as she was on her way to the door, Sadiq said to her “You know Amal in an ideal world he should have gotten engaged to you. Munthir should have asked for your hand in marriage, but this is not an ideal world.” Hearing these words, Amal felt the earth slip from under her feet. She froze at the door, turned back and said while trying to conceal any emotion from her face “Me and Munthir are good people who want different things. If we wanted the same thing then the relationship would have worked. Tell him I say congratulations. Bye” and she reached for the door again, but this time Sadeq went after her and said, “I owe you both an apology. I introduced him to Jana. I saw him with you and I saw him with her, and he was……..” “Jana is a fine choice for him” Amal interrupted him saying, “Please don’t be sorry, I know now that it was not meant to be. He and Jana will be happy together” and with these words she got into her car and drove away.
She fought the urge to cry that day and the many days that followed, and as the days went by her pain, all her her reminders of him began to gradually evaporate. On some days she would remember him and on others she would go about her life engaging in any distraction that would steer her far away from his memory. Then, on one evening , while she was on her way to meet her friends for a movie, she realized that it had been three weeks since she last thought of him. She realized that she was slowly forgetting the features of his face, the sound of his voice, and that she couldn’t even remember how he liked his coffee. A part of her felt sad for forgetting small details about someone who had once meant so much to her, but another part of her felt relieved that she was no longer hurting.
Being in a city where people like to talk, Amal, against her own will kept getting snap shots from Munthir’s life sent to her in the form of gossip from friends. She learned that on the night she called him and his line was busy, he did plan to see Jana. In fact, on that same night he told Jana how he realized Amal was not for him and that he wanted to give his relationship with her a shot. On that same evening he went home to his mother and told her “I will do what you want mom, who said marriage has to be for love.” “Son , I’m so happy to hear that, Jana is a great girl for you.” his mother said. “No mom, she is a great girl for you, for dad, and for the family. She is not a great girl for me, but I will learn to love her.” he replied.
On the night he left Amal confused in her own drive way, he too did not sleep. He knew that what he did was wrong and that he was wrong to ask to go up to her apartment. The truth was that he saw both girls on that evening, and he knew that Amal will be at constant war with his mother. His friends won’t approve of his choice, and that battling an entire society was not something he was up for. After each outing with Jana, he felt compelled to call Amal just to ask her how her day was but h stopped himself from doing that. He longed for the days where she would challenge him, laugh with him, and even give him advice. Jana , was cheerful, agreeable to everything he wanted, and she knew how to make him feel like a king. But, at times he did not want to feel like a king, he wanted to be human and to be accepted as a human with all his human imperfections. However, he knew that Amal was not to his mother’s liking and that he would be creating more problems than peace if he married her.
Opting not to waste any more time, he asked for Jana’s hand two weeks after leaving Amal. He figured that his marriage wasn’t based on love, and everyone liked Jana, so why wait . From that day forward he was sucked into wedding plans, house decor, and decisions about honey moon packages, amongst the many other issues he couldn’t care less about. Every day he spent with Jana from that day until the wedding was spent either looking at flower arrangements, center pieces, napkin holders, furniture, or carpets. He had to be there with her, as he was the one paying for it all. Whenever he told her to make whatever arrangements she liked she would reply, “Sweetie it is our day. This is the most important day of my life. I want you to share this moment with me.”
The wedding was turning out to be so much larger than he had thought, and in his moments of solitude his mind would wonder to a time he and Amal discussed weddings and how they both had expressed their hatred for elaborate wedding ceremonies. Finally, one week before his wedding he bumped into Amal by chance. She was alone working on her laptop in the cafe where he met her for their first date. He paused, and smiled to himself, as he remembered how much he liked her simple pony tail, and the small hint of lip gloss she puts on her lips. Deciding that life was too short he walked up to her said, “You always sit at this table. You told me once that it has just the perfect amount of sunlight. How have you been?”