I stare at the ceiling and feel the tears drip down my face. I haven’t eaten in 24 hours, and haven’t slept in probably 36 hours. This is terrible. I have lost my appetite and I just can’t sleep. When two hours have passed, I get a call from “Mr. Photography dude” asking if he and Sidekick can stop by. I tell him I’m not feeling well but he insists they want to see me. So I wait for them. When they knock on my door, I answer.
“Happy new year!” Mr. Photography dude says kissing me on both cheeks. Sidekick and I exchange a greeting too.
“You look cute! How did the hot date with player go???”
I stare at the floor. A tear drop falls.
“It wasn’t good. And that’s all I can say right now” I choke out.
I sit on the stool in my kitchen and stare at the stove.
“Shaz. What? What is it? You only act like this when you are extremely sad” Mr. Photography dude says.
Both of them sit next to me. “I can’t” I say. “You can’t what…?” Mr. Photography dude asks.
“I can’t say anything” I say.
They look at each other. “Okay don’t” Mr. Photography dude says. “We just stopped by to see you and give you your birthday presents!”
I continue staring at the stove. They become silent.
“Do you not want them now? We could come back…” Sidekick says.
I continue staring at the stove. “Shaz. Will you move a muscle or something! You’re really worrying me…” Mr. Photography dude says. So I get up and put the Mcnuggets I didn’t eat earlier in the toaster oven. I feel nauseous, but maybe if I ate I would feel better.
“Oh thank god. At least you’re eating” he says.
I stare at him. “Do you just want to be alone?” he asks. I nod. “If I leave will you take care of yourself and not make any stupid choices?” I nod again.
“Okay…” he says getting up.
“Happy birthday” he says kissing my cheek. My eyes well up again. Why does this time period not feel like my birthday season at all 😦
They put on their jackets and we exchange goodbyes. Somehow, I did feel better after I ate. But oh so sad. I call “Z”. I tell her the parts than I can say and she says I should wait a few days until I’m okay and text “Prince Player”.
“I can’t. I will never be okay with this” I say barely able to breathe from the tears suffocating me. She says that’s fine and tells me that anytime I can’t sleep because his name or a girl he was with pops into my head- I should just say “me” and think about myself. Surprisingly, as I try to go back to sleep- it works. And I was able to sleep for a solid 10 hours making up for the horrible 36 hour all nighter.
I bump into so many of my friends as I head to class on Monday. They are all so happy shouting “happy new year” and asking about my birthday. It’s so sweet 🙂 But still, as I go to Microbio and my night class later in the evening- lots of things trigger the thought of “Prince Player” or another girl and my eyes water every other 5 minutes. It’s terrible. And although I’m dead tired once I get back from my night class, I have another personal statement to write for grad school and feel so pressured. When I finally finish, I go to my room to sleep- it is 30 degrees outside, and it feels like 30 degrees inside too. I have no idea why the heat won’t reach my room, the building management says it’s working just fine. This makes me even more sad as I freeze in my sleep :0 (I ordered a space heater upon the request of Mr. Photography dude and Z the next day)
“Okay it’s been like 2 days. What’s wrong with you?” Mr. Photography dude texts on Tuesday. I tell him that I’m just still sad. He asks if we can go out for my birthday dinner that night, but I tell him I have night class. He says we can get an early dinner before that with Sidekick, but he promised a friend that they would have dinner during that time so he wanted to know if it was okay if he came along. “Yea sure” I say not minding. Surely, he wouldn’t grill me about what happened if a third party was there.
When I get to the restaurant, and it’s just us three, I start telling the story of what happened but Mr. Photography dude points out, “We know, we saw the preview of your blog post”. Oh. I. See.
“I’m sorry Shaz. That’s terrible. Those are probably not the words you wanted to hear from him after almost 2 months of being apart” he says.
I nod, “You see. All my terrible dreams came true!” I say.
He laughs “But hey! That means you’re going to get into Yale! Because we said him doing what he’s doing has the same change of you getting into Yale…” he reminds me. For the first time in days, I laugh. And then his friend joins us.
“Sahd, happy new year man! How’s it going?” Mr. Photography dude and Sidekick get up to exchange that bro hug guys do. I, who was on my phone do a double take.
SAHD? SAHD? That’s Mr. Photography dude’s friend???? Holy crap.
“Hey Shahz” he says smiling.
“Hey….holy crap I didn’t know you were coming!” I say.
“Yea where have you been? I haven’t seen you in a year!” Sahd says.
Now Mr. Photography dude does a double take, ” Wait, you two know each other?!?”
Sahd nods at me and smiles. Mr. Photography dude glares at me, “How?” he asks Sahd’s phone rings at that moment. “Excuse me, I gotta take this guys”. Oh thank god.
Sidekick and Mr. Photography dude stare at me. “Speak” Mr. Photography dude demands. I smile to myself. “About what?” I ask. “HOW DO YOU KNOW SAHD???” Mr. Photography dude asks.
“I don’t know…we have some mutual friends” I say shrugging.
Mr. Photography dude nods, “Uh huh. And are you guys friends…or something more?” I gasp, “Haram!” I say. He laughs, “that means wrong in Arabic” he tells Sidekick.
“We bumped into each other at an event last year the day after “Heart” dumped me. He asked me why I was sad and I told him. We talked to each other the entire 4 hours. So after the event was over he asked me if I had any plans for the night and I said no. So he took me out for ice cream, and drove me back home. He tried talking to me after that, but I never did” I say.
Mr. Photography dude’s jaw drops. “And that is the Muslim version of a one-night stand!” he tells Sidekick. “Wallah, if you and Sahd get together- I will be so happy.” I slap him, and Sahd comes back.
“Sorry, it was work” he says. “So, how do you know Shahz?” Mr. Photography dude not caring at all. I roll my eyes.
“It’s kind of a funny story” he says smiling. I laugh, I know exactly what he is referring to.
“I was talking to a few of her students who I’m really good friends with and she came by to say hi. And she introduced herself to me-”
“And you said, ‘seriously?'” I interrupt and say laughing. Mr. Photography dude and Sidekick sit dumbdfounded. And then Mr. Photography dude gets it 😉
“Ohhhhh. Because her name means Princess in Arabic! And you must have been like ‘who names their kid princess?’ ”
“Yea” Sahd says crossing his arms and laughing.
“You know Shaz just became single?” Mr. Photography dude asks. Whoa whoa whoa. Uh uh, I was never in a relationship with ‘Prince Player’.
“Oh really? With that ‘Heart’ guy?” Sahd asks. Mr. Photography dude looks at me and then at Sahd, “Oh, so you know about him? Wow you two must be very good friends…” Oh my goodness.
“He’s all she ever talked about” Sahd says.
“Oh yea, believe me I know. But no not with him, someone else. They weren’t together together, but Shaz really liked him. It’s sad. Such a pretty person- she’s so sad” Mr. Photography dude says.
Oh. My. God. Whyyyyyy. Why is he doing this to me. “Yea well, I gotta go. My class is going to start soon” I say.
“Oh do you have a night class? I have one too. I can take you if you want” Sahd says.
“Yes. That would be a great idea Sahd!” Mr. Photography dude says. I pinch him. He pinches me back. “Ow!” I say. Sahd looks at me. “I got a cramp sorry” I say smiling.
Mr. Photography dude smirks under his breath. I give him my death stare as I walk out with Sahd, he winks at me.
“How have you been?” he asks as we walk towards his car.
“Oh. You know. Same as before. Boys don’t like me as much as I like them. Science classes are so hard. Grad school applications. Crazy pressuring Arab-Indian family. I’m drowning” I say.
He laughs. “I know that feeling, except the first part. What happened with him?” he asks as we get into his car.
I put on my seat belt and sigh. “I don’t know. He wants to be able to see other women while we…you know. And he doesn’t want a commitment. I think that’s fine, but it just kills me that I have to “compete” for him and share him. You know those are the two things I hate most in life” I say remembering what I told him about ‘Heart’ and I.
“Yea, I know” he says laughing.
“I don’t get it. How could any woman be okay with it?” I ask.
“Why were you okay with it?” he asks slowly. Holy crap. He just asked me the question no one has had the guts to ask me.
“I wasn’t…but recently, we were so close I thought he changed and I had a chance to be his.”
My jaw drops. “Did you think he was going to change for you?” he asks. I think to myself. And I can’t believe it. “Yea, I guess I did.” He nods, “would you change yourself for anyone else?” I shake my head, “Heck no”. “So why would you expect the same from him?” he asks. OH. He got me.
“You know it’s hard being us. Where we come from, just talking to a girl is dating. It doesn’t work like that here…” he says. I laugh, “Yea. I know” I say.
When we’re silent for a while, he has a question. “Why did you get mad when Mr. Photography dude called you pretty?” I look at the floor.
“Because that means shit these days” I say. He laughs, “why would you say that?”
“Every day this week, someone called me pretty. But look where that got me, I’m pretty heartbroken now. Why can’t people realize I’m pretty smart? Then I could get into a good grad school. Why can’t people realize I’m pretty nice? Then I could have more loyal friends. Why can’t people just see that I am a smart woman who is just trying her hardest to graduate and get a master’s so she can be a teacher one day? Why can’t people see that I’m just more than ‘pretty’? Then I wouldn’t have to be with guys that only want me for one thing. Pretty means nothing to me anymore” I say.
Holy crap. I couldn’t believe I said all that, but he asked. He shakes his head, “you must have really liked this guy”. Damn right I did. But it isn’t worth it anymore. My mom sent me a quote just after I finished my little speech (that I still can’t believe I said), ‘if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’re always going to get what you’ve gotten’.
When I get home, I erase all of “Prince Player’s” texts. I text Mr. Photography dude, “Undo my sad”. He says ‘lol’ and sends me the song. It is our favorite song ❤ How sad is it, that you can never undo what’s done.