Following that incident, the outside world to Amal seemed quiet, but the inner storms of her emotions were anything but. She spent the next three days rolling in a sea of why me’s, what if’s, how come’s and many more unanswered phrases that would not extinguish her anxieties! The familiar suddenly became insignificant to her. Everything she ever cared for seemed void of any purpose. She would be busy at work, slaving over a promotion she had always wanted, only to find a stream of uninvited tears falling down her cheeks. Such crying spells were often followed with an inner feeling of rage she couldn’t silence. The truth was, that she was not angry at Munthir, but more so at herself. She often reproached herself for ignoring his egotistical tendencies, for laughing off his judgments. She even threw herself into fires of fury each time she replayed her last episode with his mother. She felt silly for compromising herself in front of that particular judgmental lady . She emotionally whipped herself for allowing everything she ever believed in to fall under an old woman’s scrutiny. She felt foolish for trying so hard to win Munthir’s approval, and more importantly she felt sick to her stomach for losing herself in the pursuit of trying so hard to be everything he and his mother had ever wanted.
She would often think about Jana, only to find herself hating the entire society she is part of. She felt that she was part of a mus-understanding, cruel, cold, and harsh society that was asking her compete with a girl far less inelegant than herself, but maybe more attractive. She hated the prospect of not being with a man she cared for, simply because she was born on a certain day, a certain month, and in a certain year. Her better judgment told her to walk away now, with what little fragments of her pride she had left, but her heart was imploring her to find meaning in all the chaos of her life. Trying to find some meaning for all what she was going through, she often wondered if she even she even loved him? She asked herself that question many times, because she didn’t know for sure if she was feeling love. She was, however, sure that he was her one thought, her one heartache, and her one obsession.
She knew that what she felt for him was something she had never felt before. She also admitted against her own will that the pain caused by him, his mom, and Jana was more real than anything she had ever encountered in her life. She knew that if this was love, she wanted it to go away. She wanted to be the person who can concentrate on work, on the familiar, and who did not cry without warning. She wanted to be the girl who could sleep at night and wake up the next day without fearing the thought of him messing up her balance. Although forgetting him would be the ideal solution, she also knew that her life won’t ever be the same and she hated that. She knew that if she was going to fight to be with him, his family was going to fight him, fight her, and even fight everything she stood for. She felt trapped, because she also knew that walking away was not as easy as she needed it to be and her loss of hope, control, and composure made her cry so often.
At first she did decide to walk away. She was comfortable with her decision, not thrilled about it, but age was convinced it was for the best. She blocked him from all modes of communication and decided to work on healing herself. Her friends tried often to convince her otherwise. Her friend Suzan would often tell her that if she loved him she should fight his mom, his dad, and the whole world. She stressed on the importance of putting Jana in her place. She told her that she should even make him see that she was the only person worthy of being in his life. Suzan also reminded Amal how hurt Munthir had looked when he came to see her, confirming that no man will feel this amount of hurt if the girl meant nothing to him. Although these words gave Amal a momentary sense of satisfaction, she still knew that deciding to be with Munthir will be a source of pain scaring her of the battles ahead.
In her weaker moments, she wondered if he cared enough to be with her, but her friends reassured her that he did and that she should make him see how much he did.
In the meantime, Munthir was listening to his friends too. His friend Sadeq often told him that his mother had every right to be upset with his choices.” Amal is too old” he would say, “Your mom wants to see her grand kids”. His friend Amer added that Munthir had to forget the good conversations, the nice words, and the brains, he liked about Amal, as those not components that make a happy marriage. “Trust me, an unhappy mom would make your life hell and a career woman would act like she is your equal, making you choose between her and your family.” he said. “ Yes Jana can make your mom happy, and she can make you happy” Sadiq insistently stated,” Besides, who is prettier to wake up to in the morning her, or Amal?”
Munthir found himself often nodding to his friends, as he wanted to silence their nags, but in his moments of solitude, he still believed that Amal was beautiful. He loved how she made him laugh. He admired her strong will. yet he also found himself attracted to Jana. After all, Jana was young, bubbly, and she appeared willing to agree with everything he did and said just to make him happy. He remembered being touched when he saw her coming to his office with donuts and coffee, and he was almost speechless, when she removed her jacket. He reminded himself that never Amal made that effort, but yet he knew she didn’t have to. He was sure just by looking at her that she had strong feelings for him and that her feelings were more honest then any act any other girl would fake. He found himself in a dilemma like no other. He wondered, should he be with someone society wanted him to be with or should he be with the girl he knew was genuine.
He believed Amal cared even if she did not put on the same shows of affection like Jana and so he hated his mom and himself for every tear she had cried. He was angry at her though, because she didn’t let him explain his position when he really needed to. He just wanted to tell her the last day he saw her so badly that Jana showed up randomly to his office, but in the middle of his thoughts crept the words of his friend Amer who told him on many occasions “Don’t explain, you don’t owe her an explanation. You are free to see as many women as you like!” Munthir also remembered that he would feel just as upset if the roles were reversed, but then he would think back to the words of his friend Sadeq who would say “Men and women are different, women should not date more than one man at a time.”
While Amal and Munthir lived through their states of confusion, Jana was anything but confused. She was clear about her wishes in life. She wanted to be a rich man’s wife before the end of the year, and accordingly she had met four other men in the last two days, all of whom were prospective suitors. She would go home and talk to her friends about her meetings, explaining just how unlucky she felt. One man she met was too old for her taste, another was bald, the third was more religious than she would have liked, and the fourth wore a tie in the middle of the afternoon. “Although, Munthir is not exactly perfect , but he is good on paper and the best around, so I guess he is the one I need to pay most attention to.” She told her friend May one evening, “But that Amal character, he is so hung up on her and I need to get her out of the picture. Maybe I can call him and get him to change his mind. ”
Contrary to her friend’s advice not to, she did just that. She called him from a private number. He picked up the phone and she said with no introductions
“I was so worried about you”
“How is Amal”
“I don’t know, I hope she is ok”
“Look, I like you but if you love her, I am willing to help you win her back”
He felt sorry for her
“No, this is something I need to figure out on my own” he said
“I’m sure you need someone to talk to, would you like to meet so that we can talk?”
Needing a woman’s perspective and in his state of desperation he agreed to meet her the next evening at 6 and with this arrangement the phone call ended.
Jana was happy with the outcome of the call, she knew she came across as the compassionate girl when he was venerable and she knew that that was the perfect environment to win someone over.
Meanwhile, right before Munthir put his phone down, he saw a whatsapp message blinking before him. He then saw the words
“I know I didn’t give you a chance to explain. I blocked you, I’m sorry. These days have been awful. And, I know your mom may not like me and she may think Jana is better, but I really want things to work out. If you feel the same way please meet me at six at the café we usually meet at tomorrow. If not, I wish you all the best. I don’t want to have a conversation with you in whatsapp so I will block you until tomorrow at six when we meet face to face. hope you are ok Amal”
The truth was that Amal wanted to be with Munthir she couldn’t imagine being with anyone other than Munthir, she knew he was right for her and she was deciding to act far from social norms and against all social judgment.
Thrilled to hear from her, Munthir instantly tried to change his appointment with Jana, but she refused saying it was either at 6 or never. She was not a girl who took ultimatums from a man. He didn’t want to change his appointment with Amal because he wanted her to know how eager he was to make things work, but then again even if he had wanted to she had blocked him, putting her own ultimatum to the situation in her own unique way.
Till next week ,