Dear reader, this is a work of fiction, dedicated to the many people who find themselves victims of their failed expectations. It is dedicated to anyone who builds their dreams on clues rather than definitive facts. It is an invitation to not throw blame when something doesn’t go your way . It is a call to simply see things for what they are. It is inspired by the fits of blame people throw at others when things don’t go according to plan. It is inspired by the ease people find in naming others bad for not satisfying their dreams. Please read it and feel free to comment.
Although a full year had passed, Karma still found herself pondering the painful end of her relationship with Taher. She had stopped crying about that ending many months ago, yet she was still unable to bring herself to understand what possibly went wrong between them. In her search for answers, her mind replayed the episodes of their communications time and time again. She wondered why on particularly bad days, she felt hurt while on others she felt fine . She often lost her moods in “could have’s” “should have’s” and “what if’s” only to find herself just as baffled now as she was on the day he said “It’s over”. She longed for reason, for closure, for anything that can put this pain behind her. But, it wasn’t until one uneventful night, that the labyrinth of her thoughts let her see the light.
She smiled to herself, as the missing pieces of the puzzle she called “her life” suddenly fell into place. The unanswered questions of her mind were answered transforming everything senseless and pointless about her and Taher to perfect sensibility. She realized for the very first time in 12 months that everything painful, mortifying, devastating, and confusing she was feeling was in fact her fault. The realization discomforted her at first, but then she found comfort in knowledge, even if the news itself was not to her liking.
After all, she had allowed herself to develop strong feelings for Taher, and she knew that there was nothing wrong with that. She knew that there was no need to deny it, at least not during this particular moment of clarity. She did, however, give herself permission to put on a mask of pride to the world. She even allowed herself to say the things that society had taught her and many other girls to say. In front of her friends, she would affirm that the breakup meant nothing to her. She would go out, laugh, have fun, and do well in life. She would pretend that she was a wall of power unshaken by abrupt announcements of departure. She even vowed to play that role every day, every day but this one, because on this particular night, at least to herself , she would admit that she cared and that the breakup did bother her. After all, she wouldn’t have been thinking about it, if she felt nothing.
She felt slightly betrayed, as she was taught by the media, the lyrics of love songs, and the movies she so often watched that having feelings for someone else was a good thing . She made these lessons her rationale for not punishing her emotions. She was made to believe that such a state was supposed to bring genuine happiness. However, these same media messages failed to mention that such feelings also forced one swim into the deep unknown. They did not warn her that her world will never be the same. The movie producers even forgot to put disclaimers somewhere in their movie credits that explained how when it’s over , it’s over. They didn’t explain that in real life, no man will come to a girl’s house and say to her that she completes him. No man will blow off an interview to see about a girl. No man will run to a football field in front of crowds just to kiss the girl of his dreams, and no man will stand in an airport to beg the girl to stay.
Regardless of all of that, she decided not to feel guilty about feeling what she felt. To her it was simply a declaration that she was human. After all, Taher wasn’t all bad. If she was going to insult him or attribute a bouquet of nasty traits to him, then what would that have said about her judgment ! He did have traits that attracted her to him. She refused to say even to herself that he fooled her. In fact, she preferred to remain empowered and to declare herself the mistress of her own fate . She simply refused to play the role of the victim she so often saw enacted in elaborate Egyptian dramas. She refused over the last 12 months to sit in front of the TV binging over a bucket of ice cream. She refused to sit in a circle with a her friends to tell them everything awful that had happened between her and him, and more importantly she refused to wallow in self pity.
It was in her moments of new found clarity that she told herself again and again that the ending was her fault. It was her choice to invest her feelings in someone who was not willing to do the same for her. She knew that her blunder came into effect the minute she made this realization , which she had very early on, as early as two weeks into their relationship. Part of her was aware of his emotional unavailability as it oozed through his words, his actions, and his views of life. After all, he did say women are not worth it in front of her. He did say, he will never ever commit to any girl. He didn’t try to hide that fact about himself and yet she decided to continue to move forward with the hope that he will change for her. She had hoped he would see just how much she cared and how much she wanted things to work. She expected that he would act outside himself for her, and that somehow, some day she will make it to the top ranks of his priority list. Her expectations were not his fault, nor were they his problem. She told herself. If anything, he was honest about himself and his epiphanies on life. He even told her about past relationships he had ended just as suddenly as he had ended hers, but she chose not to listen. Her emotions lead her to believe that somehow with her he would behave differently. After all, she had developed feelings for him and it was those feelings that had made her see his reality through rosy colored stencils, augmented leases, and delusions painted by her views of the way things should have been.
On that night, she told herself that that wasn’t her mistake or his. She decided to accept the fact that he did not feel the same things for her as she did for him. He was not bad, but she was simply was not the one for him in his eyes. This realization rang sadly in her ears but she decided that she was not going to question it further. She simply was not the one to him and for him and that was that.
As the months went by and their meetings became more frequent, she willingly had allowed herself to change from an independent person capable of being happy on her own to become a girl who had based her state of mind on his moods. She wondered when that shift in her perceptions happened. Did she shift her outlook on happiness that first time she grieved a harsh word he said to her, or was it the time she saw him looking at another woman while sitting were her? Perhaps the shift happened when she felt sad over a canceled date, or when he missed her birthday leaving her to feel insignificant in his eyes. She was not sure of the exact time she shifted, but she knew the shift manifested itself in her more deeply each time she cried over the prospects of him ignoring her, calling her messy, or when he shouted at her and she weakly apologized rather than shouting back.She told herself that her devastation was her fault not his. She shifted, he never asked her to.
That night, she got angry at herself . She reproached herself for becoming a person whose state of mind became a reflection of his actions towards her, but then again she allowed it. He never forced her to be a girl feeding off on whatever he was willing to offer. He never told her to become the girl who is sitting with friends and yet glancing at her phone hoping that he will call. To calm her rage, she reminded herself once again that feeling these things is not wrong, if only he felt the same way but he didn’t. She knew he didn’t, after all he was fine with leaving her the minute they slightly disagreed not because he is bad, but because she simply did not mean to him what he meant to her. In his vocabulary she was probably “A nice person” perhaps “A good person”, “A funny person”, maybe even “A person he could be attracted to”. But, she was never the person he could not imagine his life without and it was not his fault that she expected him to see her that way.
She then jogged her memories to the times she allowed herself to reach a euphoric state of happiness at every “Nice” gesture he did for her. After all, she was the one who allowed herself to translate his nice actions into hope. She even permitted herself to feel bad over his bad moods and to blame herself for not being effective enough to lift his spirits. She treasured any small gift he got her and any word he said to her. In that state of bliss, she simply failed to realize that he would openly criticize anything that was not perfect from her end. In a nutshell she fell for him, and he simply did not feel the same for her. She refused to see him as mean because none of her thoughts were his fault. He just did not feel her urgency, and he did not share her feelings.
In her moments of clarity she searched for reasons to feel angry at him for the breakup, but she couldn’t manifest the slightest shadow of rage. The truth was that he broke up with her fair and simple. Yet, she was the one who panicked and wanted to save the relationship at any cost. She was the one who felt enraged by his decisions. She was the one who shouted, cried, and pleaded, only to realize that she was standing on her own picking up the pieces of her rationality, swimming in whirlpools of his indifference . It was not his fault that reconciliation was more important for her then it was for him. While for her, his errors were never reason for breaking up, her errors were deal breakers for him, simply because he did not feel the same way as she did. At the time, she couldn’t understand why, but now, many months later the truth to her was pure and simple. He did not care as much as she did. She couldn’t even blame him for it, because he never promised her that he would. She realized that she couldn’t even tell the world what an awful person he was to her, because he did not do anything that made him break any vows or declarations he made to her. He didn’t ask her to hope for anything, yet she translated his kind gestures into hope. She allowed herself to cry over his breakup. She allowed her tears to fall for months. He didn’t make her cry or even ask her to.
His lack of response broke her, leaving her to secretly question month after month if he is crying too. She wondered if he too found it hard to enter places that reminded him of happier days they shared. She dwelled on whether or not he lost his ability to enjoy any memory like she did, or if he put anything she gave him in a box someplace where he cannot see it , as she had done. At times she told herself that he was hurting too, but on this night, she knew the definitive answers to her question well. She knew that he wasn’t feeling any of these things and it is not because he is bad it is only because her absence was not devastating nor significant to him.
She told herself again and again that night that he was not the problem, the problem was in her. Her expectations were off, and her choice to emotionally tie herself to someone who didn’t want to be tied down to her was her prerogative. She knew that he did not honestly want to hurt her. She knew that he really didn’t mean to cause her pain. After all, he is not mean, not evil, and not unkind, he is someone who simply did not feel for her what she felt for him, and that in no way was his fault.
It was then that she parted with any thoughts of negativity she felt towards him. She forgave him for anything bad she had felt as a result of his actions. She forgave herself for not understanding and for not reading the signs. She stopped punishing herself for anything bad that she had said or done as a result. More importantly she forgave life for throwing this experience in her face. She moved on then and there, because she knew that somehow, someday in the not so distant future, she will be herself again.