You weren’t ready and so was I

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January 23, 2012

Dearest Ali,

Today is the first day since you left that I haven’t thought about you all day. Or at least that’s what I thought.

In the morning, I went to work, and during my break, I was playing with my neighbor’s German shepherd, he is a beautiful dog and his name is Jacko. Playing with him made me happy, it made me lose track of time. Then I went back to my flat and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up.

It was a hard task because I see you in every corner of my flat. I see your shirts on my bed, your flip flops on the floor, the unfinished bottle of baileys that we shared together when I got back from Sydney.

I was looking at everything that reminded me of you and was undecided whether or not to toss them out or keep it for the moment. I decided to do something in between if that’s what you call playing safe. I put everything that has your label and kept it in a box inside my cupboard.

Then I went for a nap and went to work afterwards.

That’s basically my game plan for everyday–keep myself busy, trick myself into doing a lot of things so that I won’t get stuck into thinking about you. Trust me, I was successful. Or at least I thought keeping myself busy will stop me from thinking of you.

And I thought I was able to escape our memories. Memories of you and I. But then night time falls, and there is no more work to do, no more Jacko to play with, nothing left to clean and I am forced to think of you.

Think of us.

I think we both have exhausted each other. When we were together, all we do is get ourselves awfully tired. We were crazy, traveling back and forth Helioples and Sheikh Zayed to be together, and if we’re not seeing each other, we talk on the phone for hours and hours until three in the morning even though we both have early work the next day.

And when we are not seeing each other, or not talking on the phone, we fight. More often, I start the fight. I fight and complain that you have time to go out with your friends instead of coming here to see me. I didn’t realize we both live in the opposite ends of Cairo.

I start arguing because I don’t trust you. I don’t trust your friends, and I was always afraid that you will do something stupid, or that when you’re not with me, you will just meet a girl who will take you from me.

I don’t trust myself either.

I don’t think I was good enough for you, which is why I have these thoughts that you will just run away with another woman.

I didn’t believe that you love me that much. And maybe because I thought this way, you also believed that I didn’t love you that much. You disappeared without any explanation. You didn’t even bother telling me what went wrong, and you left me feeling so lost and alone and empty.

I should be hating you right now, but I can’t.

Our pictures together, and your letters to me prove that what we had was real. That you loved me and I loved you.

I don’t know why things didn’t work out between us. Or maybe I am now realizing why our relationship didn’t work out, but I refuse to admit it because doing so will only make me feel that you didn’t try hard, and that I didn’t try hard.

Well, if writing you every single night without fail and without even knowing if you care about me is not trying too hard, I wouldn’t know what to call it anymore.

It seems on my free time (when I’ve already thought so much of you) I just sleep. I sleep a lot these days, too much sleep actually. And it felt quite awesome after all those nights we spent over the phone talking about nothing if we are not fighting.

I don’t miss our fights though. Remembering all our silly fights make me realize how we are just not ready for each other.

You weren’t ready, and so was I.

I hope one day we will meet again, and we can talk about everything like we used to. I hope one day, we can be more mature, and believe and trust in love.

I am hoping that one day we can be together again, and maybe in that time, things will be a little bit different.

Different in the sense that we feel secure about each other, about our love for each other. Knowing that because we love each other, no matter how far we are, no matter where we both are, nothing is going to change any of it.

It is so sad that we have outgrown each other when all I wanted is for us to grow together.

It makes me feel sad most times when I don’t have anything to do but blame myself for not trying too hard, but then again, I think I tried enough, I gave you all the love I have to give, I loved you in the best way I know how.

In fact, if you still haven’t realized it, I am still loving you, without guarantees, without you loving me in return.

Isn’t that crazy, loving you when you have completely shut me out of your life?

You know what keeps me going? The thought that one day, you will come back and we can start all over again and make things right this time.

I loved you, and I am still loving you in my way.

I hope you are doing well, and living the life you imagined, and that you are getting a lot of sleep the way I am.

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Miss is an understatement

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January 22, 2012

Dearest Ali,

I just got back from smoking a cigarette outside. I was freezing, it felt as though my hands were that of an ice block. My ears felt like it was going to fall off. I scratched my nose and even the tip of it was very cold, then I was reminded. I was reminded of how your nose felt when it touches mine. I miss it, those nights when we were both sitting outside our bench even on a cold, winter night.

We didn’t care even if we were both freezing, we didn’t care nor complain even when everything around us is cold. We just cared that we were sitting next to each other, holding hands, giving each other long, soft kisses.

It was enough.

It was enough to keep ourselves cozy and warm.

I miss those nights, no, wait. “Miss” is an understatement. I crave for those nights, it is everything that I long for. In fact it is everything that I think about. It’s like there’s a video clip of us kissing and smiling at each other, and staring deeply at one’s eyes playing in repeat inside my head.

And when it’s time for me to crawl back to bed, I miss how you keep me warm. Even when we were naked in my bed, your embrace is more than enough to keep me warm.

Do you still think of those days, and nights, and all the times that we were together?

Of course you don’t. If you do, you’ll be right here, keeping me warm at this very moment.

But I do.

I miss your naked body beside mine.

Then again, “miss” is an understatement.

I crave for it.

I long for it.

He is still here

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On January 14, 2012, I had the most grown up conversation I could ever have with a three year old girl. In this case, it was my niece, Bella. She asked me how come I was looking so sad that particular day and I told her, without having to say anymore, that it was because of Ali.

What will a three year old girl make sense out of a “because of Ali” answer? It was a short, honest answer, but pretty vague nonetheless.

There was a couple of seconds pause from Bella after hearing my concise answer. Then without warning, she just said: “Jennifer, he’s gonna come back. He is here, he is always here.”

She said this in a matter of fact tone while pointing at my heart.

I broke down in tears immediately.

Twelve days have passed since that little talk I had with Bella, and it proves that she is right. He is here, he is still here.

In fact, he is everywhere. I still see him everywhere I go. The movies we watched together, the shisha places we stayed long hours in, the asian restaurants we dined at, streets we walked together, places where we met.

I still see him on my bed, on our outdoor bench, on my phone, in my computer, even in my emails. As long as Mall of Arabia exists, it will always remind me that he once loved me. As long as Mohandiseen and Zamalek doesn’t blow up, it will stay as proof of what happened between him and I.

I thought maybe if I eat at Morocco more or rent an apartment in Musadak Street, I will have higher chances of seeing him again. Maybe it will bring Ali back. Maybe if I continue wearing his shirt every single night I go to sleep, he will just appear in front of me and everything will go back to happy.

Does he ever think of me the way I think about him? Of course he doesn’t. If he does, I wouldn’t be writing another blog about him. There will be no crying on my bed by myself at night, and no feeling like it’s the end of the world. There will be no “Don’t call me, I won’t answer anymore.” No falling out of love.

Since he left, I started going back to dancing salsa where all my closest friends are. I’ve been focused with my career and even trying to work double time to get my book published here in Cairo this year. I’ve been back to talking with my girlfriends who are all so sweet and supportive in cheering me up even when I abandoned them the whole time I was with Ali.

I’ve been sleeping a lot too. No more late night outs since he walked away, no more looking at my phone for any messages or missed calls from him. No more talking on the phone until three o’clock in the morning, or until I fall asleep or he falls asleep, whichever comes first. I told myself that I am OK. I am fine, I’m still alive and doing things that usually made me happy. But it’s not really true.

I am far from fine. Even OK is running 150 mph away from me. No, I am not happy, but I am trying to live right because I’m still hoping that maybe one day he will come back to me the way Bella said so.

It will take a lot for me to realize that eating at our restaurant and going back to the places we usually go to, or even wearing his shirt will not make him love me more. I’m sure it will leave my heart pierced, and will cause me more tears than I already have shed from the breakup. I know it will leave me in pain for god-knows-how-long, but it gives me purpose to wake up each day and continue on. So, I just let him run wild in my mind, in my imagination, in my dreams until I start feeling whole again, in my own time, in my own terms.

Who says roller coasters are fun?

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I don’t know why it seems that whenever I travel to Sydney, I always come back to Cairo broken hearted.

I have started concluding that traveling is my demise.

My friends who keep tab on me through Facebook think that I am happy. That I live well. I guess they are fooled. After all, I will not put pictures of me crying on social networking sites. No, they should think I’m one strong, confident, happy, insert-all-fearless-synonyms-here woman. So upload those pictures of me and my cute cocker spaniel puppy, upload videos of me playing the piano, upload pictures of me and my salad and a good book to read. Fool everyone including myself to thinking I am ok. I figure, I should leave all the drama to writing.

They think traveling back and forth Sydney and Cairo (which is part of my job) is all glamorous and fun, and it can be, except when I come back to Cairo and is given a cold hug of irreverent goodbye.

Most of my long time friends only see me from afar. They only see holiday pictures by the beach and other cool yet pretentious stuff like eating at a great cafe surrounded by new friends. Yes, my life is great, or so they think.

What most people fail to see behind all those smiles, is all the goodbyes and hard work that come with traveling.

I have said a lot of hellos and goodbyes to people that I thought are awesome but will never see again. I met a lot of great people that I would love to see again and again but because I travel back and forth, it is hard to stay in touch, or sometimes, I go back to the city where I met them only to find out they already left or moved to another country.

It’s a social roller coaster ride out there.

Before I left for my second trip to Sydney in July 2011, I was seeing this guy. I came back after two months and found him gone. Not gone-gone, it was more like “I met this girl and I want to see where it will go” kind of gone.

That was heartbreaking. I thought things have ended in my life, I felt miserable until November.

Yes, sweet November.

I started seeing a new guy and everything was just fantastic. (By the way, I decided to start this blog thanks to him. Probably 80% of the things I will write here for the next three months will be about him so bear with me.)

It was a new relationship and I was excited all over again, feeling jumpy and giddy inside and want to do cartwheels on the outside because my heart is too small to contain such a big feeling of being in love. Being in love? I recognized that feeling, I know it very well and have felt it before but it was as though I was meeting love for the first time. It was as though everything was new again. But then I had to go back to Sydney in December and that’s when things started feeling old.

We said we will celebrate Christmas and New Years, and our second month together when I get back to Cairo and we did. It was a beautiful night filled with laughter and passion and gifts and Iloveyous and Imissyous. Sounds like a happy couple? Well, yes, except for the part where he broke up with me three days later.

No reasons, no explanations, no nothing. So, now, I am left to endure what any broken hearted person has to go through–another hard and painful goodbye, tubs of salty tears, tubs of ice cream, sleepless and chilly nights, loveless mornings, whathaveyous. It’s like saying “hello, broken heart, we meet again.” And that was the last thing I need.

It is an emotional roller coaster ride, but luckily, my girlfriends are on an all out support as I go through all the loop the loops.

I am reminded that even as I say goodbye, my girls are always there for a hot cup of chocolate and more “he’s a loser” make-me-feel-good chitchats which is more than enough to keep me going through this heartbreak whether I’m in Cairo or traveling somewhere in Oz.

I want to know, and yet I don’t want to know

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January 21, 2012

Dearest Ali,

I’ve been thinking whether or not to call you baby. And I think calling you baby will be very assumputous of me. After all, how can I call you baby when you walked away from me?

It’s been exactly nine days now since you told me to stop calling you because you won’t answer anymore. It’s been exactly nine days now since you told me that you fell out of love.

It’s been nine days, a long, tough, excruciating nine days, and I am still trying to find answers as to how we fell apart.

I don’t want to blame myself anymore, neither do I want to blame you.

For someone who told me that he loves me, and who promised to always love me and never let me go, I find it hard to understand, nor believe that you can walk away from me just like that.

At night, when it’s cold, I still wonder if you miss holding my hand. You used to say that I always keep you warm, that even when we are apart, just hearing my voice is enough to give you a good night sleep embraced in warmth under your sheets.

I love you in November, even though we were always arguing. I love you in December even when I was in Sydney and you stayed in Cairo, and I love you now, even when I’m not seeing you, even when you left me out in the cold and in the middle of confusion and heartache.

This is what I don’t understand. I love you yesterday, today, and I know that I will love you tomorrow, so how is it possible that you stopped loving me just like that?

I’m sorry, I just said I won’t blame you anymore, and yet here I am, trying to accuse you of not loving me enough.

It’s crazy, I know, especially when I say that I love you for everything that you are and yet I hate you for everything that you do.

At night, I wonder what you are doing. Are you keeping yourself warm? The winter in Cairo is just unbearable, especially now that you are gone. Are you well? Are you happy? Have you found someone else who is keeping you warm?

I want to know the answer, and yet I don’t want to know.

Every morning, I still look at all our pictures, of you and me looking so happy and in love. We were happy before, we were in love before, it was real and true, so how is it possible that it is no longer the same?

I miss you so much, the warmth of your fingers intertwined with mine, your kisses that send shivers down my spine, your deep brown eyes that tell a lot even when we are both silent, your smell, even when you had a long, tough day at work.

I miss it all, I miss everything, I miss you, I miss us.

Tonight, I know I will be thinking the same thing, do you still miss us? Do you still think about us the way I do?

Sometimes I like to trick myself into thinking that you still feel the same, but you are just not telling me.

Sometimes, I like to think that you are just waiting for February 5, when it’s supposed to be our third month together and you will just magically show up at my doorstep, professing that you have always loved me.

And that is why I am still writing you this letter, because I still like to believe that one day, it will happen. You and me.

Letting you go would mean that I have accepted that you will no longer be a part of me, and I am not ready for that. So I am holding on, no matter how much it hurts, because this is the only way I know I’ll get on with my everyday.

So, how are you doing? How have you been? Do you still think about me? Do you still love me?

I want to know, and at the same time, I don’t want to know.

Jennifer.