My Last Day in Chicago

June 15th- My mom always told me, that there is a “good” in goodbye. I was struggling to find that good when I woke up to start packing again at 8. The pain of saying goodbye to “Prince Player” and my other friends felt like a dagger in my chest. I take a deep breath and drag myself out of bed.

5 minutes later, Mr. Photography dude, Sidekick, and Mariam arrive to help me pack my stuff and say goodbye.

I open the door. All of them look sad. I stare at them.

“Okay guys come on, don’t make this hard for me!” I say laughing.

I make us all some coffee and we talk about our favorite memories as we pack.

“I remember she was really photogenic when she wanted to be. We all wanted to take pictures of her and she would do these seductive poses” Mr. Photography dude says reminiscing of our boring photography class that I never liked.

“I’ll remember her stories. She has extremely funny stories” Sidekick says.

Mariam comes to me. “I’ll remember this one’s smile and heart. She sees the good in everyone. Even the devil…” she says. I laugh.

img_3059“On that note, I gotta go” Mariam has a summer class and has to get going. We go out in the hallway of my apartment, she holds me and takes something out of her purse. “You were like, a brightness into my life and so many others- you give us hope. Through all the shit you went through. Keep holding on and making people happy. I got this for you when I was one my medical trip in Palestine” she hands me a beautiful scarf.

I hold the scarf to my chest, my eyes well up with tears. “It will keep you warm in Boston” she says with a wink. If I spoke, I knew I would cry, so I just smile.”Ma, sallama habibti (goodbye my darling). Call me as soon as you get home, and you better believe I’ll visit you in Boston soon!” she says. I hug her goodbye and come back into my apartment. I rest my back against the door and take a deep breath.

Oomph. And I thought “Prince Player’s” goodbye was rough.

“Hey Shahz, do you want to keep your freshman year diary?” Mr. Photography dude asks.

I raise my eyebrows. For goodness sake it is a journal. “No…” I say.

“Are you sure? It looks like it may have something interesting in it!” he says.

I laugh. My freshman year was so boring, I doubt it. “Read a page. I dare you” I say laughing.

“Okay” Mr. Photography says shrugging. “Oh” he says after a moment.

Sidekick and I stop packing. “What?” I ask.

FullSizeRender(22)“Today was a horrible day. Player just left and he barely had anything to say. He said it is true he hooked up with our friend. And that he did not go all the way with her because “he didn’t have a condom”. But that was just an excuse for the fact he didn’t want to have sex with her. I can’t stop crying. What the heck? Why couldn’t he just tell her he didn’t want to do it and tell the truth? Why did he have to make an excuse like that? Because he wants to be cooler than he already is. This is not the player I was once interested in. And he says all they did was kiss. Ugh. I don’t care. When we kiss, it isn’t just “kissing”. So no. It doesn’t matter. I’m still upset. And then he admitted we can’t really do anything because he is seeing this other girl I know. You know what. This is all just really pointless and I need to move on” he reads.

I pause. I feel my blood boil. That was quite an upsetting day. Then I begin laughing. Then they both begin laughing. “That was baby Shaz talking you guys!” I say.

“Give me that” I say.

“Hey hey hey. Shh. I want to find something without Player”. Since he has already read the worst discovery that happened to me during my 4 years of college, I let him peer through.

“Ah, this looks good” he says. I raise my eyebrows, it better be. These old memories really have my stomach in a knot as much as I try to hide it.

“I think I like Sahd” he begins. My head jerks up. Shit. I’m pretty sure I don’t.

“DON’T READ THAT!” I say.

“Well Shahz, there’s a skeleton I didn’t expect to find” Mr. Photography dude says.

“Just read another one. Any other one. Please” I say.

“Fine. Jeez” he flips to another page. And he smiles and begins reading.

“I think I am in love. Today I was sad, and ‘Heart’ texted me saying ‘Smile Princess! I don’t want you to be upset’. I love how loyal ‘Heart’ is. He told me he can’t think of any other girl besides me. He checks up on me often, he reminds me of how proud he is of me, and encourages me to do my best. I told him about ‘Prince Player’ the other day and he said ‘Sucks for him. I have you now’ 🙂 How did I find someone like ‘Heart’. He brings out the best in me. He is my dream come true.”

I had been facing the wall as I listened to this entry. I turn around after a minute. “Have you ever noticed good things don’t last?” I ask.

We all stay silent. “Heart” knew I was leaving, but never came to say goodbye although he said he would.

“Now Shahz. He said ‘inshallah you guys will see each other’ Meaning ‘god-willing’ you guys will see each other. God, does not will! He has someone better in mind for you!” Mr. Photography dude says.

“Like Player?” I ask smiling.

“No. Please no. I mean some nice mature guy from Harvard that you’ll meet in Boston” he says.

I roll my eyes. “No.”

“No” he says mocking me. “You’re so cute.”

I stick my tongue out at him. We talk about my previous night with “Prince Player”.

“I didn’t even get a picture with him!” I say.

youre-gonna-miss-me-youre-gonna-miss-me-by-my-hair-youre-gonna-miss-me-everywhere-youre-gonna-miss-m-155893“Why would you want to get a picture with him?” Mr. Photography dude asks. “Remember what happened when you took that picture with ‘Heart’? You stare at it and cry every time” he says.

“Oh yea. I just want to remember us. That goodbye was so quick. It hurt like a wax strip. Quick and painful.”

“Wallah what did you expect Shahz? You know goodbyes so well. Weren’t you the one that said every time you say goodbye to your dad, you give him a quick kiss and hug and you’re out? Because that speech and prayer he gives you for 15 minutes makes you cry?”

Oh yeah. “Shit. This must have been hard for player. He must care about me more than I think he does” I say wiping the kitchen counter.

Mr. Photography dude nods. “So does this mean you’re going to leave soon too? To prevent you from being sad?”

Mr. Photography dude smirks. “Fuck no. We’re Arab. We will take our time in saying goodbye” he squeezes me tight. “We won’t say goodbye until we have to!” he looks at his watch. “Which means like 3 hours”.

I look at all the stuff I still have to pack. 75% of which will be going to our local Salvation Army.

My apartment phone rings. Sahd is in my building.

I look at Mr. Photography dude.

“Why is Sahd here?” I ask holding my phone over the receiver.

Mr. Photography dude looks like he’s up to something. He tries to play it off. “Well he has a car. He can help us take this stuff to Salvation Army.”

My jaw drops. “I told you we can take an Uber!! We don’t need him!” I say.

“Nah that’s expensive. Do you have something you want to tell me about you and Sahd?” Mr. Photography dude asks raising his eyebrows.

Oh. My. God.

“No. Don’t be silly.”

(to be continued)

xoxo. S.

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