(this is continued from “My Last Day in Chicago”). I suck in my cheeks. I hear Sahd knock on my door.
Mr. Photography dude and I rush to do the door. He is so up to something.
“Hey guys” Sahd says. He greets Mr. Photography dude and then me. “You ready?” he asks.
I shake my head. “It will be okay” he says.
All the things I planned to donate were all packed so we started loading them into Sahd’s car. When we’re done, Mr. Photography dude says he is really hungry and wants to go to Starbucks and I can go drop off the first round of my things with Sahd in the meantime :0 Sidekick says he will tag along but Mr. Photography dude gives him a look. OH MY GOD!
“Okay. We’ll see you guys in a bit” Sahd says. I shake my head at my best friends, Mr. Photography dude winks.
I get into Sahd’s car. It is lovely and nice as it was 2 years ago when he took me out.
The radio turns on and blasts out Adele’s When We Were Young. I get excited. “YES!!! This is my favorite song!!! It is so relevant to my life right now” I say.
“Can I have this moment before I go? Cuz I’ve been all by myself all night long. Hoping you’re someone, I used to knowwww. You look like a movie, you sound like a song” I sing.
Sahd laughs. “Who are you dedicating it to? The player?”
I turn down the song and smile. “Everyone that I’m leaving”.
I update Sahd on things that have happened, considering the last time we spoke- the 2nd worst conversation that has happened between me and Prince Player happened.
“So you had a nice goodbye with him?”
I look at the window and nod. “Yea. It was good”.
He laughs. “Why do you sound disappointed?”
“I’m not” I say.
We stay silent for a while. “I worked my ass off and got everything I wanted here at college. I won many awards, I made the Dean’s list, I got into one of the best graduate programs in the country. And yet. I couldn’t find my dream guy” I say.
“I know why you’re upset. You wanted more yesterday. You wanted him to take you out to a nice restaurant. Take endless selfies. Go to your place and stay for hours. Look at your skyline view. Am I right?” Sahd asks disregarding my statement.
“Sahd!” I say laughing.
“What?” he asks laughing. “I know you okay. He says you act like a ‘princess’ but I think you are just a normal girl with normal wishes” he says.
I stay quiet. “At least he came okay? Did you hear about ‘Heart’?” I ask.
He nods. “It’s different. You guys fell apart last year” he says.
We stay quiet. “How come we never became anything serious Shahz?”
Oh hell. It is now time to finish the conversation we never had.
I look out the window and sigh.
“What? Shahz look at me. Don’t act like you didn’t have feelings for me. When I took you out, I felt it and you felt it” Sahd says.
I look at my fingernails. “I know. But the timing was wrong. And it’s still wrong. I am a mess. I am a really sweet, funny, pretty girl- that’s why you like me right?”
Sahd nods. “Yea, that’s why I liked you”.
“Well that’s just me on the outside. On the inside I’m struggling and I don’t know what I want. I have anxiety attacks. I’m insecure. I’m stubborn. I’m jealous. Why would you want to put yourself through that?” I ask.
Sahd pulls into the Salvation Army parking lot. I get up to start unloading my things.
“Wait” he says. I do.
“The only reason why you would even say that is because guys like ‘Prince Player’ got upset by it and called you something like ‘Princess’. Not every guy will be like that, I’m not. We all have our own insecurities. Hell I got jealous every time you talked about “Heart” that day.”
I laugh. Someone comes to help us unload my things. We get back in the car.
“That day we went out. You said something. Do you remember? That Marilyn Munroe quote?”
I think back. “Yes. Yes I do. Oh how I wish these guys would have stood next to me when I won my award. Or attended my shows. Or supported me at my best” I say sadly.
“I would have” Sahd says.
Oh goodness. I squeeze his hand. “I know”.
“Text Mr. Photography dude saying we need an extra 15 minutes” Sahd says.
“Why?” I ask. “Just do it, I have a surprise for you” he says. I raise my eyebrows and do as I’m told.
“K take your time ;)” Mr. Photography dude responds immediately.
A few minutes later we arrive. At the place, we went to two years ago.
“Oh my god” I say.
The smell of different ice cream flavors and waffle cone surround me. “Ice cream at 11am” I say.
He shrugs. “One time you told me you can eat ice cream for breakfast or dinner.”
I laugh. I can’t believe he remembered. I order my favorites, Salted Caramel and Berry Crisp. Of course, he pays before I can even reach my purse.
“Be a princess” he says. I laugh.
We grab our ice cream and take a walk around the city. My last walk in Chicago
“Remember the last time we came here you got the Whiskey Pecan ice cream?”
I laugh. “Oh my god. Yea! And you were turned on by what a bad Arab girl I was” I say winking.
He laughs. “Yea. That’s what did it.”
“It wasn’t enough to get me wasted” I say.
“That’s a shame. You would be funny” he says. “I know believe me” I say.
“We should probably get going” he says looking at his watch.
When we get back into Sahd’s car, I show Sahd the book I almost donated.
“It’s my sex book” I say.
“I’m sorry what?” Sahd asks.
I laugh. “I’m serious this book is all about sex.It’s about the love lives of Arab/Muslim men and women” I say.
“Oh how nice. That something like that exists.”
“Would you like me to read you a story? I read one to ‘Heart’ once” I say.
“Uh okay I guess” Sahd says trying not to laugh.
I turn to a random page. “Her bare breasts were rubbing against my back. She was a sweet girl, I couldn’t believe it” I read.
Sahd begins laughing. “I told you Sahd. Us Arab/Muslim girls aren’t innocent! We have needs too” Now Sahd is really laughing.
“You’re so funny” he says. “I think people will really miss your quirkiness and ability to make them laugh.” It’s so sweet. I almost cry.
We reach my place. “So, what’d you guys do?” Mr. Photography dude asks.
“We read her sex book” Sahd says.
Mr. Photography dude raises his eyebrows. “Ohhhh. Salaam Love. Yea it’s one of her favorites” he says. I laugh. We go back to grab the remainder of my things and drive back to the Salvation Army.
“Shahz what was the most shocking thing that happened to you in college?” Sidekick asks.
“Finding out Prince Player hooked up with our mutual friend. And then his best friend. You know us three girls were all together sitting at the same table once?” I ask sadly.
“Oh lord. Shahz it’s your last day in Chicago! Let it go!” Mr. Photography dude says.
“I would never hook up with you” I tell him.
“Ain’t that a shame” Mr. Photography dude says. Sahd twitches.
“What? Because it would ruin our friendship! I love you too much to hurt you or the other way around…” I say.
“Aw” Mr. Photography dude hugs me. “Although these days everyone is ‘marrying their best friend'”
I give him my biggest evil stare. “No”.
“Shahz is going to go to Boston and meet a nice guy. From Harvard. Or just someone that will see just how special she is” Sahd says.
“You see. That’s exactly what I told her!” Mr. Photography dude says.
“No guys. I said the same exact thing when I came here. I thought I’d find my husband here and be one of those lovely people ‘that met their spouse at college'” I say.
“Oh god” Mr. Photography dude says.
“40 bucks says Shahz keeps in touch with Player and they meet again when he goes up to Boston or she goes up to his hometown” Sidekick says.
Mr. Photography dude’s jaw drops. “80 bucks says Shahz meets the man that deserves her and treats her right in Boston and we’ll be at their wedding.”
I look at Sahd and roll my eyes. “They’re gambling on my love life” I say.
“100 bucks says I meet no one and move back to Chicago” I yell back. They laugh. “That’s fine, we’ll all be here. Waiting for you”.
And then I realize why everyone was much sadder than me as I said goodbye to them. Because I’m the one leaving. I know I’m moving on to bigger and better things. But my friends here? They will be here. They will go about their day to day routine. I close my eyes. As I finally realize why “Prince Player” wanted to say goodbye to me quickly. But still, I have lived in Chicago more years than any of my friends have. This, was my home before any of there’s.
When we get back, it’s time to say goodbye. First it’s Sahd, “I’m so proud of everything you’ve done. Keep slaying. Don’t fall in love with any assholes” I laugh and we kiss on both cheeks. Then it’s Sidekick, “I’ll miss you. Take care” he says as we hug. Then it’s Mr. Photography dude. He gives me something. “I got you this” he says.
I look at it. It’s all pink like me.”A journal?” I ask smiling.
“Yea. You’re old one has so much trash in it. I hope you can write better stuff in this” he says as he hugs me and kisses me on both cheeks.
I hold him in a tight hug and try my hardest not to cry.”So this is where my new book begins”.