She was taking a shower as he lay in bed. When she’d come out he’d tell her that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. "No. Why wait!" He knocked on the bathroom door. It was partially open but he didn’t go in. “What?” her voice came from behind the curtain. He hesitated, then mumbled something stupid like “...nothing I’ll tell you when you come out”. He sat on the sofa facing the box but not watching it. She came out, gift-wrapped in a white towel and sat on his lap. She kissed him and asked him what he had to tell her. He held her close and worshiped the smoothness of her fresh and milky skin. He never said a word. Days later she was gone.
16/11/2006 3 Love Songs

She was gone for 22 years.
A twist of fate perhaps, a crook in a branch, a broken twig, a fallen leaf. After a hundred weeks, rarely out of each other’s eyesight, seldom beyond earshot, they just floated apart like un-buoyed ghost ships. They forgot to say goodbye. They’d shared their lives and melted them into a beautiful solo. They’d gone places hand in hand, they’d lazed around head on shoulder, they’d shared every waking moment, every toss and turn of endless nights… always as one.
She was a beautiful woman, a pleasure to look at like a Greek goddess, a delight to the senses like morning dew. She was bright and vibrant, unbelievably talented, a prolific artist, a painter, a sculptor, a stunning ballerina. Despite his support and his unbending belief in her, she was stifled.
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
She needed to break free.
He was an apathetic stranger in a strange land, a runaway, a young veteran of failed love. She filled his heart with light yet he was coy to let her sweep him away. He shunned from making new promises for fear of breaking them, again. He escaped to high summits and tough terrain, alone, always alone, as he had nothing to prove all along.
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.*

Seasons flowed in spells as she watched her children grow up in front of her wide brown eyes... within her warm and tender heart. She stifled her dreams, gave way to her kids and mainly lived through them, for them. Then she proudly watched as they fluttered their wings and took to the air on their own. Perched high on a hill facing the emerald sea, and for the first time since she’s been alone she could finally rekindle her latent talent.
I Hope your life is as beautiful as your artwork, he wrote.
He’s been to hell and back. His children helped him as much as he helped them. They brought him focus and purpose. Without as much as giving away an inch of his convictions, without ever accepting the winds of change, he stubbornly persisted head on, supported by the unbending love of a devoted and fierce wife, lover and friend who had succeeded in making his life worthwhile.
I hope life has treated you well, she wrote back.
Over and over, perhaps once a year when a light breeze from the sea assaulted his senses he would be reminded of her. He would wonder where she is, what she’s been doing, how come he didn’t hear of her. She was an aspiring artist and he was so confident of her gift. He was certain that her work must’ve found its way to art galleries sometime, somewhere. Finally, a routine Google search provided him with the biggest surprise of his life. There she was, on the first link of a list of 347,000. Her own chic website displaying what he knew all along… that one day the whole world will find out about her, an artist of the highest caliber.

I'm delighted that you look happy with your husband and children”, he commented at the family picture she sent him, “you still look as beautiful as ever”.
It is a wonder to hear from you. Your children have all very intense features, I bet they are as smart as their father and lovely as their mother looks. I'm really happy that life is treating you well. You deserve it.” She replied.
Life goes on, Que Sera Sera.
* from: The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, by T. S. Eliot


Dubai Jazz said…
I like your friend from the 3 songs post. ;) I mean he's the man, and I am sure life has been treating him well and he deserves it. But I must ask after reading this: giving his eventful past, does he have any regrets toward the choices he had made?
Abufares said…
I saw my friend this morning on a red light intersection while driving to work. I rolled down my window and yelled:
"I published that story you told me about and the first question I got is whether you have any regrets."

"Regrets, Ive had a few;
But then again, too few to mention."
He started singing in his hoarse "ugly" voice. Then he stopped and seriously said: "There is no line between memories and fiction my dear Abufares. You should know that by now."

The light turned green and we made our divergent turns.

Then I thought about your question myself DJ and decided that the very last sentence in the post, "que sera sera" said it all. I might add on that the overused cliché :"it's better to have loved and failed than not to have loved at all".
Lujayn said…
Something about this post makes me incredibly sad. Maybe its the polite exchange of words 22 years later.
Abufares said…

"I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer."

Colette, Sidonie Gabrielle (pseud. Colette) (1873 - 1954), The Last of Cheri, 1926
Dubai Jazz said…
Lujayn, walla I had the same feeling, it's probably that the politeness as opposed to the earlier wildness is because it has been harnessed by years of marital obligations, commitments and responsibilities...

and don't worry Abu Fares, your friend can still get wild when and where ever he pleases..:)
KJ said…
You know something Abu Fares, when I was reading this (and the linked post), I just sat there and realized I was listening to Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy.

Here I am thinking, at the office, how am I able to connect to the song, and to this story of yours, and to so many others. How am I able to write two published love stories, how am I able to write poems, how am I able to image, to feel and caress, without having done so.

How have I understood well that "love is not love / which alters when it alteration finds".

Abu Fares, I don't really know what to say, except that my imagination has too become a memory; I have lived a countless love stories, felt them, been intimate with them, and let them go.

All I can say to myself is

Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel
Abufares said…
I really appreciate your comment. Let me tell you a little secret. Being in touch with you ( I mean those exceptional young bloggers like yourself) makes me feel younger.
First, there are less than a handful of us Syrian bloggers over 40. We get along together nicely (i.e. Syrian Brit, Abu Kareem). Despite some minor differences, we share, at least, the same methodology of thinking.
But through blogging I'm also connecting with a bright young group of people. It makes me feel good about the whole BALAD, about a brighter future for all. It makes me feel better about myself as well. I might be a dinosaur in years but I'm relating and being related to by the young. This is very satisfying.
Lujayn said…
Dinosaur?? You exxagerate tremendously Abu Fares. The sadness about your post is probably a reluctance to disturb beautiful memories. Maybe I would prefer not to know what happened. Knowing changes the memory, however hard we try to keep it intact.

KJ, all I can say is wow! Any chance of you sharing those published stories? Not that anyone would have any doubt about your talent - you write very creatively on your blog (and elsewhere).
Abufares said…
Thank you for lifting my spirit.
As far as I'm concerned I have very few unhappy memories. I've had more than my share of bad experiences but it's those which I've completely forgotten. I mean I have to think real hard to remember the bad moments.
On the other hand, my head is filled with happy memories.
This story in particular made me realize that the line between happiness and sadness might become blurred over the years. How shall I say it, this story has an air of happy sadness about it.
Lighthouse said…
Ah ya Abufares,, whenever i read your thoughts and feelings, i get dizzy and sway with memories that still live me, with those i left my fingers and early morning scent with.. it has the sad rhythm in it,, but is not our inner world formed and mingled with the شجن, which i cannot find a good equivelant to in English:(

it reminded me of a story i lived wildly and truly, that summarized stages in my life..after 10 years of its start, i saw him in our old romantic garden where i used to sing to him, and where i slapped him when he asked me to close my eyes and kissed me on my neck,,i saw him with a girl,, it felt sad, but he was happy.. i went back home, cried, then laughed and danced and wrote a poem..spilling feelings on papers can revive,,end something or start it differently..
Abufares, now and always.. shukriat for lulling my eyes' water..
Abufares said…
Manari in a sea of darkness...
"Shajan" like "Tarab" and "Samar" are uniquely ours.
The plethora of conflicting emotions you so beautifully conveyed in one effortless comment are as touching as a poem etched by a lingering finger on a foggy mirror.
I miss you around here.
Dubai Jazz said…
Time for a new post!

We miss you man!
Abufares said…
You know I couldn't keep quit unless I had to. I'm really overwhelmed by work. There's a nice vacation coming our way but even then I have to attend a workshop for 3 days.
I might be able to pull one off tonight. If not, just bear with me a little longer :-)
Dubai Jazz said…
Definitely Abu Fares, always looking forward to reading your wonderful posts, at your earliest convenience :-)
Have a nice vacation, you deserve it..
Anonymous said…
As always, I read your posts but my comments are rare.
Your friend is very lucky to have been able to make contact with an old friend. I have a friend of mine who would love to be able to do that!!
Abu Abdo
Maysaloon said…
I hate this post. I'm at the start of my 22 years. Your friend has already done his time...I should have said what I wanted to say too, but I never did.
Abufares said…
@Abu Abdo
May be your friend and mine should get together and talk about the old times:-)
Abufares said…
It's never too early, never too late...
Anonymous said…
Dear Abufares, Your Words rendered me speechless...

"And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions"

It is really an overwhelmingly immense feeling of uncertainty...Is there really some time for decisions and revisions?! I don't feel like there is..

True, "it's better to have loved and failed than not to have loved at all", but it will be even better if we can always get a second chance...
Abufares said…

I might be a good writer but I'm not that good.
The words you so rightfully admired were written by T.S. Eliot in "what I, among many others, consider" the most influential poem of the 20th century: "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock".

Second chances are a myth. The second time is never the same.
david santos said…
Great posting, Abufares!
I loved this post.
Abufares said…
@David Santos
Thank you for your comment. You're always welcome over here.
Anonymous said…
Oh yes, the old times. I can't wait to get a break, bring my friend along with me so he can talk to your friend while we have our own chat!!
I agree with you, second chances are never the same. I don't even think they exist!
Abu Abdo
Ammoontie said…
What a love story... I have been through that. A love story, like a tale of two ships passing by in the middle of the night.
Except that now I only see him ( their avatar pics )from afar whenever he is online. But we never say a word to each other.
Sometimes... somethings are just not meant to be.
Que Sera Sera !
Abufares said…

“The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you love them.”
Anonymous said…
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