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Mirror.. (22)

“Do you really have to go?” he asked one more time,
“Ee 7abeeby shfeek? I need to buy a dress for our engagement party, don’t you want me to look beautiful?”
“7abeeby you always look beautiful, no matter what you’re wearing” he said smiling. God how I love his smile, I wish I could jump in his arms and kiss him, but unfortunately my niece was sitting in the corner holding her iPad, our tiny chaperone, was engrossed in the screen in front of her.
“Still, I want it to be extra special.”
“Ok, illy tabeena 7abeeby”
I felt guilty, and extremely lucky to have someone like him, but for some reason I was determined to go with Talal. Maybe because seeing someone that I always thought of as strong and careless, seem so weak and helpless. In the beginning he refused to tell me what was wrong but I insisted, so eventually he did. It turned out that they found a mass in his stomach and were not sure how serious it was, but all the doctors he saw in Saudi insisted that it was there, and they weren’t imagining it. He says he knew about it for months, but was in denial, until he started feeling tired all the time, and was told that it has started bleeding.
Not a good sign. Even I knew that.
I kept reassuring him that everything will turn out ok, and that we will probably be back in 2 days instead of a week, but deep down I was worried. I googled his symptoms every day, and spoke to five different doctors, who all told me the same thing. They cannot determine anything until they run all tests.
So I packed my last suitcase, and was ready to fly with Sara the next day. He had gone a few days before us and had done his scans and tests, but I was to go to the doctor appointment with him to get his results.
I was told that Allah gives who ever asks Him during travel, and so I asked. I asked with all my heart, that he turns out ok, that the doctors he went to earlier didn’t know what they were doing. But I knew deep down what the verdict would be, and so I also prayed that Allah will help him through this ordeal.
Seven long hours later the plane finally touched down in Heathrow, we shuffled through the usual passport controls, picked up our luggage and were heading to the hotel where Talal was already waiting for us.
“I’m so worried Saro”
“Ma 3alaih shar inshallah, betchofeen it will all turn out to be ok”
I could tell from her voice that she wasn’t as confident as her words were, but I tried to push away all negative thoughts as we went down to meet Talal for dinner.
I smiled as I saw him approaching us, he had lost a lot of weight, but the distinctive look was still there. He was still as hot as I remembered; the lost look in his eyes maybe even made him look hotter, if that was even possible.
“Hello” I smiled
“Hala, 7amdilla 3ala ilsalama ya a7la 7ala”
“Hehe int ma tyooz ha?”
“Hehe 'ma tyooz', I love your accent”
“This is my best friend Sara, Sara this is the infamous Talal”
“Hello, I’ve heard so much about you” she said smiling,
“Inshallah 5air 3ad?” he asked, blushing.
Blushing? Talal is blushing? This is first!
We talked about everything, but the reason we were all in London, and he somehow seemed to relax, and laugh, forgetting, or maybe pretending to forget his worries for our sake for those 4 hours we were together.
There was something different in the atmosphere, I wasn’t uncomfortable, but for the first time in a long time I felt like I wasn’t the heroine in the story of my life, someone else was the center of attention, who was it do you think?
My best friend.
He liked her, and she liked him, despite the fact that she used to hate his guts before meeting him.
For the first time in my life, I was comfortable being the third wheel. I was content seeing my friend blushing and giggling with the hot guy sitting opposite her, blatantly flirting with her and forgetting everything else.
7ala: I love you.
Saif: Mb kethry.
I smiled, as I prayed once more, that he turns out ok, and that my friend, like me will finally get her happily ever after.

Mirror.. (21)

“No, no, no, no!!”
“Saro shfeech?”
“Ana illy shfeeny wela inty illy shfeech? Are you even listening to yourself? What the hell could be wrong with him? Who does he think he is? And what are you thinking, how are you willing to drop everything, drop Saif and go running to London for a guy that doesn’t give a shit about you?” she yelled at me. It was the first time she ever yells at me, I was always the impulsive passionate one and she was the steady, calm one. It scared me to see her so angry, but the fact that she was standing up to me for the first time in her life, scared me more.
So I did what I do best.
I cried.
“Saro, I need your support.” I could see her softening a bit, so I continued my quiet sobs until she came and hugged me.
I felt bad for using her love for me against her, I sometimes do feel guilty you know, but I can’t help being a selfish, spoilt kid sometimes. I mean, this was how I was brought up, so it’s not entirely my fault. Or so I would like to believe.
“7ala don’t do this to Saif” she whispered,
“Ma sema3ty 9otah, he sounded desperate”
“Inzain o itha maree’6, what could you do? Ya3ny you being there won’t make a difference!”
“Ee bs I’ll be there to support him, he’s only going to run a few tests, if things turn out ok I will come back. Please Saro, I’ll hate myself if I don’t go and something happens to him”
“Madry 7ala, ma arta7 lah. There’s just something weird about him”
“But you’ve never met him! Bel3aks he’s charming. Plus, we’re only friends, this won’t affect my relationship with Saif. Wallah it won’t. Wallah a7ebah I would never do anything to hurt him, not after I nearly lost him.”
“Then don’t go”
“Madry Saro, a7es I owe it to him. Bas benro7 one week, please, please, please say you’ll come?”
“Ok, I’ll come” she said reluctantly.

Mirror.. (20)

7ala: I’m so happy
Saif: mb gady :)
7ala: But I’m also scared Saif.
Saif: Why?
7ala: Madry, too good to be true?
Saif: inty ne9eeby, no matter what you do, no matter where you go, the sooner you accept this the better you’ll feel.
7ala: Madry :(
Saif: 3an ildala3 yallah :P
7ala: Fine hehe
Saif: I love you.
7ala: Me too.
I wished his words made me feel better, but somehow they didn’t. Even the fact that his mother had come and seen me two days ago, and is apparently even more in love with me than her son, or so he claims, is not helping. I closed my eyes taking in a deep breath and tried to focus on the next steps. So the initial meeting went well, the mother, aunts and sisters were happy, but now I have to meet the whole family and it just feels like too much work, why can’t it just be him and me, only?
Another thing that has been bothering me was that I still haven’t spoken to Talal. I tried, but he wouldn’t answer his phone; typical.
As if on cue, my phone started vibrating as soon as I touched it.
Talal: 7ala
7ala: Taw ilnas, where have you been? I’ve been trying to call you for a week!
Talal: I’ve been busy.
7ala: La wallah? O ma tfaker ina feh nas they’re trying to get in touch with you?
Talal: La wallah ma fakart.
7ala: Ok fine, ana asfa, I won’t do it again. Good luck with whatever has been keeping you busy. I won’t be bothering you again.
Angry at myself, more than at him, I dropped my phone and decided to go for a swim to calm my nerves. At least now I don’t need to explain anything to him, the relationship, or whatever it was has run its course; I don’t owe him anything.
After a relaxing swim, and spending two hours with Sara just floating around in the water, I returned to my room with Sara, to find my phone blinking.
“Oooh it must be Saif, nesait agoolah ina we’re going swimming” I said smiling as I picked up my phone, only to find 10 missed calls from Talal, “it’s Talal. That’s weird, he never calls more than once.”
“He’s weird 7ala, or maybe because you broke up with him?”
“Inzain call him?”
“Maby” I said shrugging, “it just feels easier this way, you know I hate confrontation”
“Why keep postponing it though? Just tell him you’re engaged o 5ala9!”
“Saro laish t7eneen? 5ala9 I won’t speak to him, he won’t call again, intaha ilmaw’6oo3!”
As I said that, my phone started vibrating,
Talal: I need you.
“He says he needs me?” I said, somewhat shocked, coming from Talal this is beyond weird, there must be something extremely wrong. “Should I call him?”
My phone rang again, as I was contemplating whether or not I should call him.
“7ala” he whispered,
“Na3am?” I could hear him on the other end, inhaling and exhaling deeply for a few seconds, “5air Talal?”
He didn’t answer for another few seconds, I could hear him breathing so I knew he was still on the other side, “Talal shfeek? Ga3ed et5are3ny” I whispered, fear suddenly gripping my heart, what could be so wrong that he couldn’t speak? I could see Sara was starting to get worried too, she sat up straight, trying to listen to what was going on.
“I need you”
“I’m here, tell me what’s wrong?”
“Come to London with me, please.”
“Talal fakart 3endik salfa. How can I come to London with you inshallah?” I said, trying to laugh, but I had a feeling he was being very, very serious.
“7ala I think I’m sick, and I need a friend. Be my friend please.”

Mirror.. (19)

“So, ngool mabrook?” giggled Sara,
“I don’t know, I don’t know.. Saro I’m freaking out, I don’t know. I know it’s Saif and I know I cried for ever when we broke up, but this is marriage, this is forever!”
“Yeah so? You’re finally getting you’re happily ever after, what don’t you know?” she said, as she flipped idly through a magazine on my table, and elegantly crossing her legs, “What color do you think I should wear at your wedding?”
“Saro, hay wagtech? I’m here panicking and you’re thinking of dresses? You want to know what I don’t know? I don’t know ever after, I suffocate at the thought of forever, I panic when I think of him and only him, I mean, what if on my honeymoon I see someone that I like better? What then? Shasawy fe roo7y?”
“Speaking of your wandering eye, have you spoken to Talal lately?”
“So you have no intention of telling him about your upcoming engagement?”
“Saro 3an il6naza, akeed bagoola but I didn’t get a chance yet. O ba3dain don’t change the subject! Saro shasawy? Goleely!!”
“Tell me, for the past 7 or 8 months since Dalool’s wedding, how many guys did you meet?”
“Other than Mohammed, which was a bad bad idea, no one”
“Inzain, why is that? It’s not like no one was interested”
“Madry, maybe 3ashan Saif?” I whispered,
“There, you have your answer. You weren’t interested in anyone else because you were in love with him. There’s nothing to worry about, you will have your happily ever after, I know it” she said getting up and hugging me.
I wish I was as confident as her, something deep down inside me wasn’t so sure. I was set to meet his mother and his family next week, they were coming to officially propose on his behalf and go through the engagement formalities. The whole household was in a constant buzz, with furniture being repositioned, silver being polished and crystal chandeliers professionally cleaned. In front of my parents and Saif I appeared to take part in these jovial preparations, but I couldn’t help feeling constantly worried.
I smiled at Sara, partly to reassure myself that everything will be ok.
“Yallah, call him.”
“Who ba3ad? Talal. Tell him you’re getting married.”
“Why are you being so pushy?” I smiled, but was slightly irritated,
“Because, you just have to get it over, like stripping off a band aid.”
“Fine, I’ll call him tonight.”

Mirror.. (18)

It's been a month since I last saw Saif, he talks to me all the time but still, for some reason I cannot shake that feeling in the pit of my stomach; you know that feeling you get? Like something bad is going to happen? Yes, that feeling. I wake up every morning with this feeling, and continue through the dayholding my breath, anticipating the bad news.
This afternoon I was sitting with my mother in the living room, my head on her lap as she watched TV and I idly flipped through my magazine when the phone rang,
"Mama 7ala goomy redy 3ala iltelephone,"
"Uff mama maby, beyredoon 3alaih ta7at,"
"Mashallah 3alaich kasoola," she mumbled as she gently pushed my head of her lap and walked towards the phone, I smiled as I heard my mother going through the custom greetings,
"Allah y3afeech... Allah ysalmech... ee... hmmm... ee hathy ilsa3a ilmbareka... ilshor shor ubooha... Allah ysalmech... o ilne3em feekum bs lazem nes2al 3an ilwalad..."
I felt this sudden fear gripping my heart and intensifying with every word my mother said, who the hell is that? I don't want to get married, I don't want to get married! I want my Saif!
Panicking I picked up my phone to text Saif,
7ala: PING!!!
7ala: SAIF! Where are you?
Saif: 3yoon Saif
7ala: Where are you?
Saif: Mawjood galby. What's wrong?
7ala: I don't know, bs it seems like some idiot wants to marry me and my mum is on the phone with his mother.
Saif: Allah ysam7ech 7abeebty
7ala: What's wrong with you? I'm telling you my parents want to marry me off! My mother's face is frozen with a huge grin o int tgool ly Allah ysam7ech!!
Saif: Eee Allah ysam7ech because you're calling me an idiot
7ala: Na3am?
Saif: My mum is the one talking to your mother 7abeeby
Saif: Mabrook 3alaich ana ;)
I felt my fingers going numb. Shit I wasn't prepared for this, ok yes he told me he will talk to his parents and that eventually it will happen but now that it's happening.
I am not ready for this!
Saif: 7abeeby.. 7ala..
Saif: PING!!!
7ala: Na3am?
Saif: I love you
I stared at the screen not knowing what to reply. A hundred feelings all rushing through me at the same time, love, fear, anticipation, panic.
Saif: 7ala?
7ala: 7abeebha..
Saif: I can't wait.
Slowly I typed in my response.
7ala: Me neither.

Mirror.. (17)

“I love you,” he whispered as he placed small kisses on my temple, softly blowing on my hair line and in the process making me extremely dizzy.
“Saif..” I whispered in response, trying to break the spell he put on me by moving away from him,
“3yoon Saif..” he answered kissing my fingers and pulling me back into his arms, “galb Saif..” he said as he pushed my hair aside and kissed me bellow my ear.
“Stop..” I said, my voice sounding weak and unconvincing even to myself, “3aib Saif..” I whispered,
“Laish 7abeeby? Soon you’ll be all mine”
“Soon but not today” I said, finally gathering some strength to get off his lap and onto the chair opposite him.
“Haha ok ok fine, sorry 7abeeby” he said as I pretended to be mad at him, “you’re beautiful, inside and out.”
“Of course”
“So if I was ugly would you still love me?”
“I loved you before I saw you, the fact that you’re beautiful is just a bonus, but you are the prize.”
And that was how he honestly made me feel, like I was a precious gift, something to cherish.
“You know what you have to do now right?” he said as he walked towards the door,
“Don’t go..” I said pulling him back inside the small room,
“La 7abeeby I have to, and you have to, there’s a call you have to make”
“Maby Saif, I feel like this is a dream and if you left I will wake up and I’ll be all alone again”
“It’s not a dream” he whispered, placing his lips softly on mine one last time.
I went back home knowing that I had something important to do, I had to call Mohammed. I had been postponing this call for a long time, I sensed from the beginning that the relationship wouldn’t work, he was a nice guy really, maybe sometimes too nice.
I sat on my bed and dialled his number, he picked up the phone after the first short beep,
“Hala.. wainech ilyoum?”
“Umm.. I was in the gallery sorry”
“La it’s ok.. so.. how are you?”
“Good” I paused, not knowing how to start,
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something”
Oh shit.
“Umm.. yeah sure ask”
“Where are we going?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean we’ve been talking for some time, and you know I wanted the relationship to move forward..”
“Mohammed you’re a great guy o kel wa7da tetmanak but I only see you as a friend”
There I said it.
“And all this time you were just leading me on?”
“You know I felt from the beginning that you were selfish, but I didn’t realise how selfish until now”
“Excuse me?” This is unbelievable!
“Yeah, you’re so into yourself, you’re vain, sometimes rude..”
“What? You were just asking me to marry you! Now I somehow became completely undesirable?”
“I never said that.. I’m just saying, this is who you are and I was willing to overlook it, no one is perfect 7ala”
“And why the hell were you willing to overlook it? Don’t tell me you’re in love with me!” I was fuming, how dare he talk to me this way.
“Of course not” he answered coldly, “but you’re from a good family, you’re pretty, well educated ya3ny it was a good match, again no one is perfect.”
“You’re unbelievable!”
“No I’m just being honest”
“Ok well..” I was lost for words, I was beyond shocked, how did the nice sweet boy I was talking to turn to this calculating bastard?
“Bye 7ala” he said and ended the conversation.
I stared at the blank screen with disbelief and quickly dialled Saif’s number, so much for him being a nice guy.
“You will not believe this!” I yelled as soon as he picked up,
“Believe what 7abeeby?”
“That bastard! I just broke up with him and you would not believe what he said to me!” I quickly gave him a recap of the conversation I just had and expected him to be as furious as I was, but the only reaction I got from him was loud laughter,
“I’m glad you’re finding this funny, ana bamoot min ilqahar!!!”
“Hahahahaha sorry 7abeeby la tez3eleen bas why are you mad?”
“Excuse me? He called me vain and selfish and practically told me that he only wanted to marry me so I can be his trophy wife and give him beautiful children!”
“So? You should take that as a compliment”
“How the hell would that be a compliment?”
“Well, the compliment would be that you are so beautiful, so gorgeous that any guy would be willing to overlook.. what was it?”
“My vanity and selfishness”
“Yes, he would be willing to overlook this just to be with you”
“Am I really that bad Saif?”
“You are.. sometimes”
“And why are you overlooking that?”
“Because I love you”
“Why would you love a vain and selfish person?”
“I love all your traits 7ala because they’re what makes you you. I see your pride, your passion and your love for me, I see all this reflected in your eyes when you look in the mirror. I love your selfishness because I know that as much as you love yourself 7ala, you love me more. I would never overlook your traits, ever because that would mean that I’m throwing away a part of you. I love you just the way you are, the good and the bad.”
“You always know the right things to say” I whispered, my anger fading as I listenedd to his beautiful words,
“I’m saying what I feel. You make me feel 7ala.”

Mirror.. (16)

I sat comfortably on his lap as he hugged me and held my hand, tracing the lines on my palm with his finger,
“I missed you” he whispered, taking in a deep breath and smelling my hair, “I missed everything about you”
“Me too” I said turning around and smiling, a real smile for the first time in a very long time. I wished I can close my eyes and freeze this moment, just as it is, just me and him in this small room together, and not think about anything else around us. The world was just this room, and life was only this moment.
“What have you been doing without me?”
I hesitated for a moment before I answered his questions, I wanted to start this the right way, no more lies, I was going to be honest.
“Umm.. remember that guy I told you about?” I felt his back stiffen as he heard those words, a small frown forming on his smooth forehead. He looked amazing, all I wanted to do was kiss him and stare at him.
“What guy?”
“You know, illy 5e6abny?”
“Yes” he said, his grasp tightening on my hand. I put my other hand on his and slowly eased his hand open,
“Umm well, I said no” and he let out a small breath, “but” I paused looking at his reaction, “I have been talking to him for the past month, to get to know him” I continued, watching his blank expression and his flared nostrils. I could tell he was furious, but he couldn’t say anything since he was also engaged a month ago, “Saif?”
“Say something?”
“What are you planning on doing?”
“I don’t know” I said, shrugging my shoulders, and I really didn’t, “what do you expect me to do?”
“Seriously? So you broke up with your fiancée, what now?”
“I get a new one”
I felt like my heart was going to stop, life is so weird, an hour ago I was expecting a proposal from someone and I get it from someone else.
“Is this the best you can do?” I said, pretending to be mad at him when all I wanted was to yell ‘Yes’ and kiss him.
“Hahah la but you didn’t give me a chance, you caught me off guard with this guy, but 7ala seriously, you end this tonight, you know I’m the jealous type, I can’t bear the thought of you with someone else. All this time I was away all I could think about was how stupid I was for letting you go and for pushing you into someone else’s arms.”
“I only want your arms” I said, hugging him again and kissing his forehead, “so tell me, what happened with the fiancée? Is she pretty? Is she prettier than me? Tell me she was fat”
“Hahaha she wasn’t fat, yes she was pretty but no one is prettier than you. Nothing happened, she was my cousin but I didn’t really know her, it was a family thing. We talked a few times on the phone, but I wasn’t interested and I had a weird feeling about her, she was too quiet. Last week I called her and told her I wanted to see her, I couldn’t do it any longer, it was unfair to both of us, so I had to end it face to face. I explained to her that I was in love with you,”
“Ohhh you did that for me?” I could feel my eyes filling up with tears again, happy tears, I was happy because I knew that the man I loved loved me too.
“Would you let me finish?” he laughed, “yes of course, you know I love you, I would do anything for you, but anyway, I told her what happened between us, and she started crying, it turned out that she was in love with someone else, but her parents refused because they couldn’t say no to my parents.”
“That’s sad. Miskeena. Te5ayal you never said anything and you two ended up being married, you would’ve both been miserable”
“We were, so we decided to tell our parents together, we put them in a room the next day and explained everything, needless to say there was a lot of yelling, but in the end I think they just want us to be happy, imagine that all this could’ve been avoided if my father and uncle actually talked to each other, kel wa7ed fehum kan meste7y ygool la 7ag ilthany, and we were the ones suffering”
“I’m glad she’s in love with someone else. I would’ve been sad if she was in love with you.”
“I’m glad you’ll finally be mine.”

Mirror.. (15)

“Daloooooooool!! I miss you!!” I yelled into my phone,
“Hehhe I miss you too.. how are you? It’s been ages since I talked to you”
“I know, I’m sorry, I’ve been really busy with the gallery”
“Yeah? Not too busy for cousin Mohammed though?”
“Hahahh yalsa5eefa”
“How is he with you?”
“Hmm.. good..”
“Yeah ya3ny we’re getting to know each other”
“Hehe madry ya3ny it’s been a month since we started talking, he’s nice..”
“But he’s not Saif”
“No he’s not” I sighed, “I still miss him”
“I know you do, bas Mohammed really likes you”
“And I like him too, he’s sweet, he’s funny, he takes good care of me, ya3ny I know that if I were to marry him I would be happy, but still a part of me holds on to Saif”
“I know”
“Dalool it’s not easy, I saw a life with him, he was a part of me for so long”
“I understand, but don’t you think you’re being unfair?”
“I don’t know”
“Well, Mohammed wants to propose again, I think it’s too soon, but he seems to believe that everything is going well, I wanted to give you a heads up so you’re not caught off guard.”
“Thanks D”
“Don’t hurt him, he’s too nice”
“I know, I’m sorry”
“Don’t be, I know you can’t help it”
I wish I still was that girl who was so in control of her feelings, I feel so helpless. Never in my life did I allow my feelings to take over, I used to juggle guys and emotions without ever being affected. Today I’ve become a shadow of my old self, I feel broken, the spirit that everyone used to admire is no longer there, and all because of what? For a guy who refused to fight for his love.
I sighed again and picked up my pencil, at least I’ve come out with one good thing with this break up, I became more focused on work and have actually started to accomplish something with the gallery.
Just then my phone started ringing, Mohammed calling.
Oh God. I’m not in the mood.
I continued watching the screen blinking with his name; I don’t feel like talking to anyone right now. I tucked my phone under my handbag, convincing myself that I didn’t see it ring.
Two minutes later it started ringing again. Ya Allah, why is he so persistent?
Except it wasn’t him.
I gingerly picked up the phone, my finger hovering over the green button,
“Aloo” I whispered, my voice trembling and my tears threatening to fall any second,
“Aloo” he whispered back. God how I’ve missed that voice, I missed his laughter, his lame jokes, his sleepy good mornings and loving good nights. My heart ached for the man that gave me up so easily, and I knew at that moment that I could never be with anyone else, because a word from him made my knees go weak, and for five minutes with him I would give up everything and everyone I loved.
“Saif..” his name came out in a sob, I missed him to the extent that I could no longer breathe, it’s true what they say, you never know what you have until you lose it.
“I need to see you”
“Saif I can’t”
“You’re getting married.”
“I broke up with her”
“What? Sara didn’t tell me...”
“Sara doesn’t know, no one knows yet. 7ala I can’t live without you, this has to stop, I can’t think, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I don’t care about anyone else, all I want, is you”
“Please, I can’t talk to you on the phone I have to see you”
“Your parents?” I whispered, I was scared, I was too afraid to be happy, what if this was all a dream? What if something bad happens before I see him?
“I talked to them, they’re not thrilled but they’ll get over it. I need to see you.”
“Good, because I’m parked outside your gallery, I’m coming in now”
“What? Wait! No wait! I look like shit!” I yelled, frantically looking for my mirror and trying to erase the traces of black mascara that streamed down my face with my tears.
“You always look beautiful” he whispered standing at my office door.
I looked up at him, trying to take him all in, his thin frame, his tired eyes, his messy hair. I was afraid that if I moved from my place he would vanish into thin air and I would be alone, all over again.
“Is that really you?” I whispered.
He nodded, slowly inching towards me and shutting the door behind him.
“7ala..” he whispered, grabbing me in his arms and holding me tightly. I felt like I was suffocating, I was suffocating under the weight of his body, under the loneliness I felt without him and under the fear of losing him again.
“Promise me you will never leave me again” I whispered, choking on my tears,
“Never, in my life, will I make you cry again” he said, kissing away the tears that were flooding my face.
I pushed him away from me, and held his face in my hands, looking him in the eye,
“Don’t ever let me down again Saif” I whispered,
“Never” he replied, kissing me lovingly on my lips. Strangely enough I felt a sudden surge of anger, and I kissed him back, urgent, needy kisses, kisses that held the resentment I had for his betrayal, kisses that were full of the sad emotions I carried with me for the past nine months.
“Shhhh..” he whispered in my ear, as he let me take my revenge, and held me as I sobbed against his chest, “are you feeling better?”
I nodded, burying my head in his chest, not wanting to meet his eyes.
“Look at me” he said pulling my head up, “I will never let you go, do you understand?”
“Yes” I whispered, this time feeling a little more optimistic than before.

Mirror.. (14)

Saif: PING!!!
Saif: I need to see you...
7ala: I love you Saif
Saif: I love you too, my life without you is impossible, I don’t care about anyone else, all I want is you...
I opened my eyes to read through those sweet words again, only to realise that it was all a dream.
He was not mine anymore, and I had to wake up and face my nightmarish life. He was not mine because he was finally engaged to his cousin, he was hers and I was alone. I had found out from Sara that the engagement he had been postponing had happened, after all there was nothing holding him back, I was out of his life, forever.
After my art gallery opening I toyed with the idea of getting to know Mohammed, but I wasn’t emotionally ready, if I had at that time listened to my foolish brain then I would be tormenting myself over another failed relationship.
I was still not completely over Saif, but I felt that I needed to give myself a chance, a chance to have some happiness in my life.
I picked up my phone and scrolled through my contacts, quickly dialling the number before my nerves failed me again. After two short beeps I heard his husky voice on the other side,
“Um.. hello?”
“I’m waiting for your explanation”
“Excuse me?”
“You were thinking for two months? So I assume you either wrote a book on how to start a relationship or you really don't want to get to know me”
“Hehe, la bs I needed some time”
“Yeah I thought you did, but two months? Don’t you think that’s a bit long?”
“Madry, int mn awalha ga3ed t7asebny?”
“La la, madry, I thought what I asked was quite simple, get to know me and let’s see where it goes”
“I know...”
“But nothing is that simple” I whispered,
“You’re a complicated one aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean you pretend to be happy and easy going when in reality you have a lot of deep issues”
“Are you psychoanalysing me now?”
“Hahah la I’m just making conversation, so...”
“How is the beautiful 7ala doing?”
“Hehe stop, don’t embarrass me”
“I’m just being honest... you know you’re gorgeous”
“Hmm... keep going”
“Hahah I thought you didn’t want me to embarrass you?”
“Hmm... I don’t get embarrassed easily, I was just pretending” I said giggling.
We talked for about two hours, only hanging up because my mother nearly broke my door down to call me for lunch. I enjoyed that conversation with Mohammed, I don’t know if it would turn into a relationship, but it seemed like a good start. At least I knew there was no cousin waiting for him to marry her lurking in the shadows, there was a future to the relationship.
It was safe, and that was what I needed most at the moment; I needed to feel safe.

Mirror.. (13)

Talal: PING!!!
Talal: Mabrook
7ala: Thanks :D I wish you were here!
Shit, shit, shit. I was late to my own gallery opening; I quickly dropped my phone in my bag and wobbled down the stairs in my high heels. I spent the last three months travelling to find the perfect pieces for my first exhibition. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Home’, it mainly revolved about Arab artists who lived abroad, so it was full of beautiful imagery of what each perceived as their home, I loved all the pieces, they were all full of love, full of nostalgia and longing. Exactly how I felt, but the depth of their feelings towards their homes made my feelings for Saif appear to be superficial and childish. To say that this trip has helped me to get over Saif would be a lie, however it did help put things into perspective; it proved to me that life does go on, no matter what.
Half an hour later I was walking through the doors of my gallery, every step I took I was being congratulated by people, some were familiar faces and others were complete strangers, but everyone seemed to be happy, and enjoying their time.
After greeting my guests I finally felt like I had a moment to breathe, I walked over to my friends,
“Hi! Tell me you love everything!”
“We doooooo!” yelled Sara and hugged me, “I’m so proud of you wallah”
“Thanks 7abeebty, I never thought I could pull off something like this” I said looking around me,
“No wallah everything is great” said Dalal, she flew into Doha especially for my opening, I really do love my friends.
“Oh, hi” I said smiling, “I didn’t know you were here” for some reason I could feel my cheeks getting hot, which meant that I was probably red, not a very good look for me.
“I can’t seem to be able to stay away from you” he said smiling. Yes, now I’m definitely red.
“Oh 7ala you remember my cousin Mohammed,” said Dalal,
“Umm, yes of course” I mumbled, how can I forget the guy that I rejected for no apparent reason?
“Really? I thought you would’ve forgotten me by now, I thought I would have to reintroduce myself to you”
Uff that smile is doing things to my heart.
“Uhh la shda3wa” I said with a semi giggle.
The rest of the evening was a blur, but I had this feeling of being watched, and every time I looked around me, I would see him, smiling at me, a smile that made me feel warm and special.
A few hours later just as I was getting ready to finally rest my aching feet and get into bed, my phone started ringing,
I frowned, not recognising the number, maybe Dalal changed her number?
“Oh, hi?”
“Umm.. sorry itha az3ajtech bas 7abait agoolech mabrook, everything was beautiful today”
“Men ma3ay?” I said, my heart beating,
“Oh ana asef, it’s Mohammed, I’m sorry I took your number from Dalal, I thought she would’ve told you. I’m so sorry, shit this is embarrassing. Oh you weren’t supposed to hear that”
“Hahaha it’s ok, la 3adi, she didn’t tell me she probably forgot, but it’s ok. Thank you, it’s so sweet of you to come and to call” I said smiling, like an idiot.
“La bel3aks, it was my pleasure, I enjoyed it.”
“Can I ask you something? And you don’t have to answer, ya3ny 3adi lo t9ekeena fe wayhy I’ll get it”
“Hehe la shda3wa, ask”
“Why did you reject me?”
I didn’t know how to answer, so I kept quiet.
“I’m sorry for being so blunt, as I said you don’t have to answer.”
“No, no it’s ok. I didn’t really reject you as a person, it's just that I’m not really thinking of marriage right now.”
“Why not?”
“Umm.. madry..”
“I don’t know you 7ala, and you don’t know me, but for some reason, dashaity galby and I see you becoming my wife, maybe it won’t happen, I don’t know, but would you consider getting to know me, and maybe giving us a chance?”
“You have nothing to lose” he answered, and I could imagine the smile on his face,
“I guess..”
“Think about it.. please” he said, “te9be7een 3ala 5air”
He was asking me to give him a chance, and to think of the future, when my heart was still hanging on to its past. Could he be the one to help me get over Saif?
“I miss you” I whispered, thinking of him, and wishing the words I had just heard were from Saif.

Mirror.. (12)

I sat on my bed staring at my phone, the letters in front of me not making sense; it was like I was reading a language I didn’t know, didn’t understand. I felt detached, just as if I was looking at myself from above; the girl sitting on the bed, staring incomprehensibly at her phone, her knuckles white as her fingers strained from clutching the gadget in her hand.
I felt numb.
I slowly unwrapped my fingers from around the phone and set it down on my side table. I could feel my breath quickening as the message started to sink in, what does he want from me? Should I answer?
I took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, trying to slow down my racing heartbeats. I’ve been strong for so long, I won’t ruin it now, I decided as I felt the warm tears cascading down my face.
I miss you.
Shit why did I do that? I thought to myself when my phone instantly started ringing,
Incoming call
“Aloo” I whispered,
“I miss you.”
“We shouldn’t be talking to each other”
“Why not?”
“Because you don’t want me Saif” I replied, trying to stop my tears and failing miserably,
“You know that’s not true,”
“Then talk to them Saif, do something, don’t be so negative.”
“I wish it was that simple.”
“Then what are we doing? We shouldn’t be having this conversation, you shouldn’t be calling me, I shouldn’t be crying because you don’t deserve my tears!”
“Because I can’t be without you.”
“And you think the past six months have been easy on me?”
“Whatever you have been feeling, multiply that by a hundred and you might get an idea of how I feel 7ala. I can’t anymore, I pretend that I’m ok when I’m not, and I can’t pretend 7ala, I can’t pretend that I don’t dream of you, I can’t pretend that the two days that I spent with you are the happiest days of my life. I can’t pretend that I don’t dial your number everyday a thousand times and then back off at the last minute before pressing the call button. It should be easy for me to say that I’m ok, but it’s not, I can’t deny that everyday...” he stopped taking in a deep breath, “everyday I wish I can go back in time, and just stop it at where we were happy.”
“It doesn’t work like that Saif. I can lie to myself and get back to you until one of us gets married or whatever, but we would only be cheating ourselves. We would only be delaying the heartbreak. We both know that. I’ve been trying to be strong, trying to stay away from you and trust me when I say this has been the toughest thing I have ever done... Saif, you know me more than anyone, you know how spoilt I am, how weak I am, so you can’t let me do this alone, you have to help me. You have to stay away, Saif please. Please don’t break my heart anymore.”
“I can’t live without you.”
“Yes you can, we both can.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.” I said as I kissed the phone, ending the conversation with the only person I ever loved more than myself.

Mirror.. (11)

I woke up to an incessant vibrating noise coming from my stomach, I fumbled around until I found my phone lying under me on bed,
Talal: PING!!!
Talal: PING!!!
Talal: PING!!!
Talal: PING!!!
I giggled when I saw his messages; it’s been six months since my ‘break up’ with Saif, the first few weeks were the most difficult and surprisingly, Talal was the one who stood by my side during those tough days. It was really unexpected, I was sitting one day, sketching my ideas for the concept of my gallery, when suddenly I felt this extreme sadness, I felt like there was no good in the world; if Saif can do this, then there definitely was no good in the world. I had not heard from him after that day, he didn’t even bother to apologize again, which might be good because I wasn’t strong enough to say no for much longer. My ringing phone that day saved me from my severe depression,
Talal calling.
My fingers hovered over the green button as I contemplated whether or not I should answer his call, a few seconds later I gingerly pressed the button.
“Inty wainik?”
“Why haven’t you been calling me?”
“Why haven’t you been calling me?”
“Ana kint za3lan o na6rek tra’6eeny”
“La wallah? Hahah, 5air laish za3lan?”
“Inty nesaity shsawaity?”
“Jeety ilba7rain bendoon ma tgoleenly, ana ga3ed m3 ilshabab o wa7ed minhum ygool shofo hathy il7ilwa ily jat, I look up and guess who I see? How the hell did you think I would feel?”
“Hmm.. now that you say it this way, I guess you make sense.. I’m sorry..”
“5ala9 it’s too late now, it’s ok. How are you?”
“Not good” I said and broke down crying,
“Shhh shhh, it’s ok hawneeha 7abeebty, mafy shay yestahel”
“I know, I know but I can’t stop” I said, my tears just flowing,
“It’s ok, I’m here, I’m here” he whispered. He stayed on the phone listening to me crying for the next half an hour, just whispering to me and reassuring me that everything will be ok, without pushing me for details. After this sobbing session I felt much better, I felt lighter, cleaner.
“Thank you Talal” I whispered,
“You might not know this 7ala, and maybe I don’t show this to you, bs inty 3endi shay kbeer”
“Thank you,” I whispered again, shocked at this revelation. I really thought he didn’t care about me.
“Hehe you sound shocked?”
“Honestly?” I sniffed, “yes.”
“You know what the problem is?”
“You and I, are so alike we can’t communicate with each other, you don’t understand me and I don’t understand you, yet.. I do care.”
“I care too”
“I know”
“Thanks Talal, I needed this and I didn’t expect it, thank you.”
“People can surprise you sometimes.”
“Yeah..” I replied, thinking of Saif and him. How is it that the good guy ended up breaking my heart and the bad boy was the shoulder I cried on?
Talal: PING!!!
The vibrating noise brought me back from my day dream to Talal and his nagging Pings,
7ala: Haaa? Haaaaa?
Talal: Is this how you talk to 7abeebek?
7ala: Waina 7abeeby?
Talal: Testahbelain?
7ala: 7abeeby :P
Talal: Eee.. 5alek ketha
7ala: 5air?
Talal: Wala shay zahgaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan
7ala: You realise you woke me up?
Talal: You realise I don’t care?
There he was again; my friend, who thinks he’s my boyfriend, being his usual rude self.
7ala: I know you don’t care :P
Talal: PING!!!
7ala: Ya Allah you have got to stop using this!
Talal: Am I annoying you?
7ala: Yes
Talal: Good :D
I laughed and dropped my phone on the bed and got up to take a shower. I have started setting up my art gallery and I felt great. The opening was set to be in another two months, my father found me the perfect small house that I converted into a gallery and was now finalising the decoration before I start setting up the first exhibition. I was doing great and feeling great, everything was going just as I wished. Everything, except the fact that I still missed him.
I walked out of the bathroom, towel drying my hair and saw my phone flashing, must be Talal and another one of his Pings, I thought smiling.
I love you.
“Great. Just what I needed.”

Mirror.. (10)

I spent the next five days in bed, I lost track of time, I slept all day and only woke up to shower and pray, I hardly ate anything during that time, all I did was cry and sleep. In my dreams everything was still ok, he still loved me, we were still together and I never mentioned anything about marriage.

During the short intervals in which I was awake, I tried to rationalise what happened, and I reached the conclusion that I deserved this. For two years he was faithful to me and for two years I played around; this was karma, pure and simple. Now that I realised that I’m in love with him, it turns out that it was never meant to be, I had it coming really.

On the fifth day I was still in my semi-comatose condition, my best friend Sara came over, apparently she got worried when she kept calling me only to find my phone directly going to voicemail, so she called my mum who in turn voiced her concerns on my condition. Of course neither of them knew what was going on. Sara kept knocking on the door until I somehow dragged myself out of bed and opened the door for her.

“Haaaaaa? Shtaboon? I’m asleep! Doesn’t anyone understand the concept of privacy nowadays?” I mumbled as I stumbled around the dark room until I found my way back to my bed.
“Are you mad? You had me worried sick! You’re phone is switched off, your mother has been crying for the past five days because she has no idea what’s going on with you, she’s blaming herself because she thinks that you’re doing this because of a proposal! 7ala what the hell is going on?” she said as she switched on the lights and walked over to me.
“Ya Allah Sara!! Why did you switch on the lights?” I yelled as I squeezed my eyes shut, I have been living in darkness for the past five days and my eyes were unaccustomed to light, “o ba3dain I don’t want to talk to anyone, if I did I would’ve switched on my phone!”
“7ala what’s wrong? Come on spill” she asked, clearly concerned.
“What’s wrong? Everything is wrong. I am wrong.” I whispered as I broke down on her lap, sobbing, and telling her what happened between my gasps. When I was done, I looked up at her and she was just staring straight ahead,
“7ala I’m so sorry, kela minny I introduced you to him” she whispered,
“La come on Saro, you didn’t know, you wanted what’s good for me” I replied hugging her, “bs you know I deserve it, now I know what it feels like to be heartbroken. I did it over and over again, now I’m getting a taste of my own medicine..”
“Don’t say that..”
“It’s the truth Saro..”
“No it’s not. No one deserves to feel this way, and you definitely don’t. Laken ana baraweeh il7mar”
“No Sara please, 5ala9 I want him out of my life. I needed this time to clear my head, to mourn the relationship, but now it’s over, I want him out of my life, I want all of them out of my life actually. 5ala9 I’m done.”
“No wallah I’m serious. I’m deleting his numbers, his emails, his BBMs.. everything.. I don’t want to remember his existence in my life. It’s a page that I’m turning over”
“I guess you’re right, but shway you’re scaring me”
“I’ve never seen you like this, all broken up over a guy”
“I guess this is how it feels like to have feelings”
“Yeah. It sucks. Never get feelings Saro” I said attempting a smile.
“Hehehe 7abeebty” she said hugging me again.

An hour later I was out of bed, dressed in the most decent thing I can find and since I haven’t been eating for five days my clothes were hanging off me.

I walked out of my room to find my parents in the living room, whispering together and both going quiet as soon as they saw me. I squeezed myself between the two of them and snuggled against my father putting my head on his shoulder,
“Ha baba?”
“Baba I think I want to do something useful with my life”
“Like what 7abeebty?”
“Hmm.. I don’t know.. I need to think about it.. bs I’m toying with the idea of an art gallery, there aren’t many around Doha and if I come up with the right concept I think it will be very successful”
“I agree, start working on your research and concept and we’ll find you a location”
“Thank you baba,” I said hugging him and jumping off the sofa.

I went back to my room and rifled through my handbag to find my phone, I switched it on to see if I have any messages. As soon as I switched it on I started receiving the missed call messages and BBMs,
124 missed calls from Saif.
Saif: Please don’t do this 7ala I love you
Saif: Please don’t shut me out
Saif: Wallah I would do anything for you
Saif: Please don’t misunderstand me, just listen to me and give me a chance to explain
Saif: I know you think what I said was awful, but I can’t put my family through such a struggle. I know they want me to marry my cousin and I’ve been putting off the engagement for a year because I want to see you settled and happy first
Saif: 7ala please just switch on your phone, I’m worried about you
Saif: Just tell me you’re ok, I don’t want anything else, I love you, wallah il3a’6eem I love you
Saif: Please just tell me you’re ok

I read through his messages, all repeating the same meaningless words, he didn’t mean to hurt me, he loved me, he wanted to see me happy.

All bullshit.

I scrolled down the messages, a part of me not believing that this is it, this is the end, no more Saif, you know the feeling you got when you were a kid the first time your parents took off the training wheels from your bicycle? This is how I felt, unstable, unprepared and scared, I lost Saif, I lost my safety net, now if I fell he won’t be behind me to catch me.

I went back to my BB messenger, going through my list of contacts until I reached his name.


I slowly clicked on Delete Contact.

Are you sure?

Was I?

I didn’t know; but I pressed that button. I guess now is the time to find out.

Mirror.. (9)

I spent the rest of the day with my friend and her family, and yes cousin Mohammed was there. He seemed like a nice person, but my heart was already occupied by someone else; Saif. 
Talal kept calling me throughout the day and somehow in a blink of an eye I felt completely over him. It was like spending time with Saif had opened my eyes; I was in love with him, and all the playing around was because I was scared, I was afraid of committing to him, but now that I realise it, now that I’ve begun to register this, I felt that there was nothing to be afraid of; I was in love.
I didn’t see Saif before he left, but I promised that I was going to try to visit Dubai some way or another, just to see him, and that I will spend all my time with him, he will have my undivided attention.
I headed to the airport with a heavy heart, I was going to miss my friends, but mostly I would miss Saif, for some reason telephone conversations don’t seem to be enough now, I wanted to be with him, to be held by him and be loved by him.
Should I mention the relationship to him? No, that would seem too desperate right? Or maybe not, I mean he loves me, and I love him. We’re both in the marriage age, he’s been working for a few years and doing very well. I chose not to work after graduation because, well, firstly I don’t need to, and secondly to be honest I’m too lazy. I always wanted to do something on my own, establish my own thing but never got round to it, my dad says that I’m not focused and that it’s a waste because I could do great things; well he’s my dad, he’s meant to believe that.
A short flight later I was back in Doha. 
I love travelling, I love being abroad, but nothing beats the feeling you get when you touch down in Doha, the lights seem brighter, the colours more vivid, even the traffic seems more tolerable in Doha. Every time I arrive in Doha, as soon as I leave the airplane I take in a deep breath and close my eyes; in that single breath I can smell the sea, the sand and the distinct smell of Doha. 
Home is always the best place on Earth.
An hour later I was safely nestled between my mother’s arms, my head lying on her shoulder as she hugged me tightly, as if holding a baby. I was the youngest in the family, so obviously I was the spoilt one, I always got what I wanted, when I wanted it. My parents travel a lot, so they try to compensate for their absence with over indulging me and my brothers and sisters, which we don’t mind honestly.
“Inty ma tekbereen 3ala hal7arakat?” laughed my brother when he saw me in my mother’s arms,
“Int sh7areg galbek?” I said sticking my tongue out at him,
“7imdilla welsheker, yahel yahel” he said shaking his head and leaving me and my mum alone,
“7ala yumma,”
“Ha mama”
“Ilyoum kalematny 5altech Mariam,” 5alty Mariam was Dalal’s mum, who was also friends with my mother,
“5air?” I said frowning, my mum had this happy, serious look on her face, I think I knew where this was going bs kilish mub wagta.
“Tgool ina fe 7ad se2al 3anech lama kinty hnak”
“Tgool inich chefteeh?”
“Men?” I knew who it was, but seriously? He only saw me twice and he wants to get married?
“Weld i5et’ha.. isma M7amed?”
“E chefta, o ba3dain?” I said pulling away from her,
“Ana gelt laha ina betfakreen o benred 3alaiha, bs inty i5thy wagtech, la testa3yelain, o ba3dain gelt laha lazem tet3arefon 3ala ba3a’6...”
“Ay net3araf mama min 9ijich? Ana maby atzawaj!”
“Laish 5air inshallah? Laish ma tetzawejain?”
“Bas maby!!” I yelled storming out of the living room and running to my room.
Saif: I miss you already :*
I quickly dialled his number when I found his message,
“Hi 7abeeby”
“What’s wrong?”
“Tell me..”
“My mum..”
“What did she do this time?”
“She wants me to get married, it’s like she wants to get rid of me or something..”
“Don’t say that, every mother wants to see her kids happy”
“Yes, and marriage is not what makes me happy, at least not to random people” I rattled on,
“Hmm.. laish fe 7ad?”
Should I tell him?
“7ala? Fe 7ad?” he continued,
“Hmm.. Dalal’s cousin saw me at the wedding and he wants to propose”
He kept quiet for a few seconds, I could hear him breathing deeply,
“Is he good?”
What? Why is he asking me that?
“Umm.. I guess.. I don’t know him, bs Dalool temde7a”
“Then think about it” he said quietly, his voice was barely audible, so I thought I heard him wrong, was he telling me to consider someone else, someone that wasn’t him?
“You want me to think about marrying him?”
“If he’s good..” he started, I cut him off immediately,
“What about us? What about you and me?”
“Saif? What are you trying to say?” I said, I felt my voice starting to quiver as tears started dropping down my face,
“7ala you know I can’t marry out of the family, let alone out of the country” he continued,
“No I didn’t know. You’re telling me now.” I whispered,
“7ala I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you..”
“Maybe you should’ve thought of that before you started talking about love” I said coldly,
“I do love you, 7ala I do, but this is my family, I can’t marry out of my family”
“Because int weld nas o ana aish?”
“Don’t say that, anyone would be proud to be part of your family”
“Yes, anyone but you apparently” I said sarcastically,
“Don’t.. 5ala9.. mafy da3y tgool shay thany.. I get the picture..”
“7ala ana aby ma9la7tech..”
“No you don’t. You’re just trying to find a way to get out of this, fine, I’m giving you a way out Saif, you don’t have to marry me off to ease your conscience, so I will end this now”
“7ala.. don’t do this..”
“I didn’t do anything.. you did.. and don’t worry, I’m ok, you don’t need to feel guilty or anything, as you said, anyone would be proud to be a part of my family, so if it wasn’t Mohammed, it’ll be someone else, sooner or later. It was good to see you Saif, honestly, but I don’t think I’ll be seeing you again”
“7ala please..”
“Goodbye Saif” I said hanging up, and switching off my phone.
Why is it that I have so much drama in my life?
That night, I sobbed myself to sleep. That night was the first night in a very long time that his voice was not the voice wishing me a good night, and it won’t be the first thing I hear when I wake up the next morning.

Mirror.. (8)

I woke up to a shrill ringing noise that I could not identify; my mobile was on silent, where the hell was this ringing coming from?
It took me five minutes to realise that it was the hotel room’s land line that was ringing and not my mobile. Who uses land lines nowadays?
“Na3am?” I said picking up the phone, this better not be reception or housekeeping. I hardly slept since we came back from the wedding at 5 am, and I could still hear the loud music in my ears.
“9ba7 il5air 7abeeby”
“Metfare’3 Saif!!” I yelled into the phone,
“Hahaha laish I’m just waking you up” he said laughing, I looked at my watch to find that it was 10 am, and suddenly had the urge to cry; I was exhausted.
“7aram 3alaik wallah, I’m so tired, int ma t7es?”
“Laish laish 7abeeby? Afa, ana ma a7es?”
“Eee lo t7es ma gawamtny min 9eba7 Allah 5air o ana nayma ams ilsa3a 6!!” I said, my voice breaking up with sobs of frustration.
“Inzain inzain, ana asef wallah, 5ala9 go back to sleep, I just wanted to spend time with you before we both headed back home” I could hear the guilt in his voice, and felt sorry for him, I mean I can always sleep later, right?
“La 5ala9 I’m up 7abeeby, yallah come over I’ll order breakfast”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, yallah come”
I got up and scrubbed my face clean to remove the residue of yesterday’s foundation, that even the hot shower I took last night didn’t seem to be able to remove. Once I was sure that I had gotten rid of all traces of last night’s make up I walked out of the bathroom and ordered breakfast.
“Good morning 7abeeby” he said as he walked in the room, this time I was the one who hugged him as soon as I saw him.
“I’ll miss you” I said holding him tightly and squeezing my eyes shut,
“Me too, I got used to seeing you for the past two days, I don’t know how I’ll be able to start my day without you tomorrow”
“Hmm.. let’s not think of that, ok?”
“Ok” he replied.
The next three hours were lost with me in his arms, and us just talking about random things, enjoying each other’s company. It was then time for me to meet my friends for lunch, before the bride goes on her honeymoon, I quickly got dressed and rushed down to the lobby to find the whole family waiting for me, I knew most of them but there were a few unfamiliar faces.
“Hi” I heard a husky voice behind me, I turned around to find a guy smiling, his hand stretched in front of him, ready to greet mine.
“Hi” I replied slowly putting my hand in his, he seemed familiar, where have I seen him?
“I’m Mohammed, Dalal’s cousin, umm.. I saw you yesterday at the wedding?”
“Oh yeah, sorry I didn’t recognise you without the ghetra hehe”
“Hehe that’s ok, how are you?”
“I’m good and you”
“Not bad, I hope you’re enjoying your time on our sunny island?”
“Ee wallah, I am, I don’t want to leave hehe”
“Then don’t..” he answered, looking at me and smiling, the way he said it made me frown, I don’t know why, it’s just a normal saying, I mean he was most likely just being nice but for some reason, it seemed like it held another meaning. I excused myself and joined my friends quickly.
“I see you’ve met cousin Mohammed” said Dalal,
“Yeah, he seems nice”
“He is, very nice actually..”
“He’s also looking for a bride”
“Ok and?”
“And he’s been asking about you, not very subtly mn ams”
“So he’s a great guy 7ala! And imagine if you marry him, you’ll live here and I’ll see you EVERYDAY!” she said hugging me.
“Hey hey, who said I wanted to get married? Just because you did doesn’t mean you should be running around fixing people up!”
“Come on, he’s great! He’s not bad looking either”
“No he’s not..” I replied, looking at him, he wasn’t hot like Saif and Talal, but something about him was pleasing, his looks were ok, but he was definitely charming.
“I don’t want to get married now Dalool, besides, you’re forgetting about Saif, I thought you liked him?”
“I do, but come on, you guys have known each other for what two years? Has he ever mentioned the future?”
I didn’t answer her because her mother came over to say hello, but even if she didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to say anything because she was right, Saif never mentioned the future of the relationship, we never defined it and I never cared, but Dalal has a point, or doesn’t she?

Mirror.. (7)

I fell asleep in Saif’s arms yesterday; I don’t know if it was the bed, or the fact that he tucked me in last night, but I woke up feeling energised with a wide smile on my face. As soon as I opened my eyes I picked up my phone to read a message from him,
Saif: Good morning sleeping beauty :*
7ala: Good morning my prince
Saif: Am I really?
7ala: Of course you are
Saif: I love you
7ala: Me too
Saif: Breakfast?
7ala: Yes please :)
Saif: Ok, I’ll be there in 10 minutes, order us breakfast 3ala ma ayeech
7ala: Ok what do you want?
Saif: Kelshy mn eedech 3asal
7ala: Wa3 that sounds so gay Saif
Saif: Hahaha ok ok, just order the breakfast I’m coming
I dialled room service and ordered breakfast for the two of us and ran to the bathroom to wash my face and attempt to de-puff my eyes before he comes. 10 minutes later he was at the door, looking as hot as ever in shorts and a t-shirt, his hair still wet from the shower. I don’t know if it was the combined smell of shampoo, aftershave and cigarettes, or the stubble growing oh so sexily on his face, but I suddenly had the urge to jump into his arms and kiss him. Instead I pinched myself to stop from doing that and quickly gave him my back to walk back into the room.
“9ba7 il5air 7abeeby, don’t I get a good morning kiss?”
“No you don’t”
“Not even a hug?”
“Hmm.. I’ll think about it”
Somehow a second later I was in his arms,
“Men bey5aleech tfakreen?” he whispered as he crushed me against his chest, I pretended that I didn’t want this, but I was hoping that he would hug me, I loved the feeling I got when he held me, I just felt so safe between his arms.
“Ya 3yoona?”
“Don’t ever let go of me” I whispered back,
“I promise” he said kissing my head.
We spent the next two hours just watching TV and talking, I loved the time I spent with him, it just felt so normal, like this is how it was meant to be, suddenly for the first time in my life I thought about settling down, I started thinking that, yes, I could spend the rest of my life just like this, between his arms, being protected, being with Saif.
Today was my friend’s wedding, so after breakfast the rest of the day was spent in a whirlwind, between hair and make up and then rushing down to the wedding. Needless to say everything was impeccable, the bride looked absolutely gorgeous and the groom was handsome, we danced, we laughed, we cried a bit, but everything was just happy and beautiful.
“Ilfal lech 7abeebty” whispered the bride into my ear as we were wishing her goodnight at her suite; my mind immediately drifted to Saif.
7ala: I love you
Saif: I love you too
I went to bed feeling the same way I felt when I woke up this morning, content and safe, with a huge smile on my face.

Mirror.. (6)

I felt my fingers quiver over the buttons as I typed in the response,
7ala: I didn’t think you cared :(
Talal: La wallah?
7ala: Yes, I kept calling you and you never answered!
Five minutes later there was still no response from him, great, now he’s ignoring me again.
I looked up from my phone, searching for him with my eyes, and sure enough, there he was sitting with his friends, smoking, completely oblivious to my existence. I was fuming, how dare he ignore me like this?
7ala: PING!!!
I saw him picking up his phone, checking my messages and then slowly putting his phone down on the table. Just as he was doing that, our eyes met and he slowly lifted an eyebrow, as if to ask me what do you want?
I can’t believe him, I really can’t. Who the hell does he think he is?
I tried to concentrate on my friends’ conversations and to enjoy myself, but seeing him just ruined my mood. I’m supposed to be the one ignoring him, not the other way round! He’s supposed to flatter me, tell me I’m pretty and try his best to see me; not look at me and lift an eyebrow!
I was supposed to meet Saif in my room after dinner to watch a movie, but I was no mood for him, Talal pissed me off. Although I did have fun earlier with Saif, maybe I should really forget about Talal and concentrate on my relationship with Saif. Yes, I think that’s what I should do, I mean he’s everything a girl would ever want, and he loves me.
7ala: I can’t wait to see you
Saif: Me neither, do you want to watch a comedy or drama?
7ala: Scary movie
Saif: You’re looking for an excuse to hug me right?
7ala: Lol, you wish :P
Talal: PING!!!
Talal: Put your phone down, it doesn’t look good.
7ala: Excuse me?
Talal: Whoever you’re talking to can wait, no need to keep your phone in your hands 24/7, I believe you’re sitting with people.
7ala: What the hell? Why are you watching me?
Talal: Because I like what I’m seeing.
And with that, my heart melts again. I have no clue how he does that.
Saif: What time are you going back to the hotel?
7ala: Umm madry, maybe 2 or 3 hours, why?
Saif: I’m out with my friends, don’t know when we’ll be done, we’ll be going for sheesha after dinner.
7ala: Oh ok, if you’re busy it’s ok, I can see you tomorrow I guess.
Saif: La 7abeeby, text me when you’re on your way back.
7ala: Ok :)
Talal: Shgelna?
7ala: I love making you jealous
Talal: Who said I’m jealous? I don’t care who you talk to.
WHAT? He didn’t say that? Nooooo he didn’t!!
I looked up to see him staring at me, and as soon as our eyes met he shrugged his shoulders, picked up his phone and cigarettes and he and his friends left the place.
That’s it, my mood was ruined, I wasn’t even looking forward to the scary movie with Saif, I hardly touched my food or joined in the conversation with my friends.
Two hours later we were on the way back to the hotel,
7ala: We’re heading back now
Saif: Ok 7abeeby, I’ll be there in 15 minutes.
7ala: Ok see you.
I reached my room and washed my face, changed into tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, and laid down on the bed waiting for Saif to come. Exactly 10 minutes later he was softly knocking the door, I shuffled in my flip flops to the door to let him in and opened the door to find him carrying a huge bowl of popcorn and a bag of chocolates and junk food.
“I’m prepared with scary movie, junk food and wide arms to hug you at any time” he said grinning,
“Wayed m9adeg roo7ek, mafy hugging” I said giggling, and grabbing the bag of junk from him,
“You look different”
“La wallah?”
“Yes, what’s different? Other than you being extremely short that is”
“He He, funny. Testahbel Saif?”
“La wallah, why do you look different?”
“I have no make up on?”
“Oh, yeah. You still look gorgeous though”
“I know” I said sticking out my tongue at him.
“Come here” he said grabbing me and pulling me into his arms, “you’re tiny” he whispered into my hair,
“No I’m not you’re a giant! Ya3ny I can’t talk to you unless I’m standing on the table, sh’hal7aala?”
“Hahaha ok I’m sorry, maybe you would rather we lay in bed?”
“Ba3aaaaaaaad? Achoofek 5atht ra7tek wayed?”
“Hahahah ok ok I’m sorry, but it is a scary movie you know, and I give you permission to have full usage of my upper body as a pillow for you”
“Inzain benchoof” I said grabbing the DVD from his hand, “it actually does look scary” I continued, settling myself on the sofa next to him, where he casually put his arm behind my shoulder and pulled me close to him,
“You’ll need me next to you” he whispered as the movie started.
Talal: PING!!!
I put my phone on silent and threw it away from me, I won’t let him ruin this day, Saif deserves better.
“I think I need you next to me all the time” I said looking up at him.
He looked down, kissed the tip of my nose and said,
“I’ll always be here.”

Mirror.. (5)

I felt my heart beating faster as the plane was touching down in Bahrain airport, today I will be seeing him for the first time.

What if he changes his mind about me when he sees me? I have never felt so vulnerable in my life, this was new to me. I have always been confident, I knew that people treated me differently because of the way I looked, and I revelled in it. I knew that one look from me would make men weak and I get what I want, this always made my life easier.
I frowned as I thought of Saif; he was different. He didn’t care that I was beautiful, he was interested in me, only me. What if me wasn’t enough anymore? I mean he has never actually been with me, what if he realises that I’m just an empty shell, that I don’t deserve this love?
I looked in the mirror to check that everything was in place, the short flight didn’t allow the dry air in the cabin to wreak the usual havoc it does with my hair, I quickly stuffed my mirror into my bag and unbuckled my seat belt to walk into the airport. As soon as I switched on my phone it started ringing.
“Yes mama, shda3wa al7een illy yesme3ech ygool ray7a New York! Kelaha ilba7rain!”
“A5af 3alaich ba3ad mub binty?” I could hear how tense she was, I had to calm her down so she doesn’t keep calling every 5 minutes.
“La mama bs ya3ny Dalal betyeeny twadeeny ilhotel, o Noora o ilbanat kilihum ga3deen hnak fa ya3ny ma 3alay shar ana mub broo7y” I was going for a friend’s wedding and my mum couldn’t come with me, this was the perfect opportunity to meet Saif really, it was the only time I would be travelling alone, perhaps in my whole life; I’m so glad I thought of telling him!
“Ok yumma yallah kalmeeny fe illail 3ayal”
“Ok mama bye ana 3end iljawazat”
I was done from the security in no time, and was walking towards my friend only 10 minutes after landing,
"Dalooooool!!” I yelled into her ear,
“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!! I missed you yalkalba!” I hugged my friend tightly, we had met through family when we were kids and have been close friends for as long as I remember, being in two different countries wasn’t a problem in the friendship and she was getting married this weekend, her and her family were staying at the hotel for the wedding so my parents agreed to let me travel alone just this once.
“So tell me.. are you excited?” she said looking at me with a mischievous smile, I knew she was referring to Saif; shit Saif, I’ll be meeting him in less than an hour!
“You should be the excited one! You’re getting married!”
“Uhhh sektay I’m so nervous! Please entertain me with stories of the dreamy Saif, I want to take my mind of the disaster that is my wedding”
“Hahaha laish disaster 7araaam! Don’t say that”
“Nothing is working, the wedding planner is crap, the flowers that I ordered aren’t here yet, the stage is not how I imagined, please don’t get me started!”
“Ok ok 5ala9”
“So what?”
“Tell me! How did you decide to meet him?”
“Madry Dalal, it just felt.. right” I said smiling, and honestly it does. Just then my phone started flashing indicating a new received BBM,
Saif: I can’t wait.
7ala: Me neither, I’m on the way.
Saif: I already checked in, let me know when you do and I’ll come to you :)
7ala: Ok.
“He’s there”
She nodded and gave me the goofiest grin ever,
“Ok, I hope he proposes, that would be so cool, you getting engaged on my wedding weekend! Oh no wait, no then you would steal my thunder, don’t you dare get engaged!” she giggled,
“Hey hey it’s the first time he sees me! Calm down woman!”
A few minutes later we were at the hotel,
“Welcome back, good to see you again” said the receptionist as we approached the reception desk, “shall I take you to the room?” she continued after I checked in.
“Thank you” I mumbled, I could feel my heart beating faster as I walked to my room.
“I’ll leave you now 7abeebty, call me when you’re done, I want all the details!” said Dalal kissing me good bye and leaving the room.
“Your luggage will follow Ma’am, enjoy your stay” said the receptionist as she closed the door and walked away.
7ala: I’m here :)
Saif: What’s your room number?
7ala: 620
Saif: I’m just a few doors away, I’ll be there in a minute.
I breathed in deeply as I took one last look at the mirror before I heard the soft knock on the door. I walked over and looked through the peephole, wow, not bad 7ala, he’s good looking.
“Umm 7ala I heard your footsteps so I know you’re standing by the door, can you open it please?”
I opened the door reluctantly and stuck my head out,
“Hi” he replied, “can you open the rest of the door wela it’s too difficult?”
“La maby”
“You need my help?”
“Hehe la,” I said opening the door and letting him in,
“Umm have a seat” I said pointing at the white leather sofas in the small reception area,
“This is for you” he whispered handing me a single red rose.
“You remembered?”
“Of course, how can I forget our debate on how a single rose means more than a dozen?”
“Hehe but it does! A single rose means you went through the trouble of selecting the rose, rather than ordering a whole bouquet”
“I can select the whole bouquet you know”
“Shut up, it makes sense in my head”
“Hehe” he laughed nervously, we were both standing awkwardly a few meters away from each other, not knowing how to act, “come here” he whispered,
In a second he was by my side and the next thing I knew I was in his arms, he held me tightly and I could feel his chest expanding as he took in a deep breath,
“You have no idea how long I have dreamt of this moment” he mumbled into my hair, I’m not a short girl, and I was in heels, yet somehow he managed to tower over me, my head barely reaching his shoulders.

 I felt tiny next to him, I felt safe, I felt protected.

“Ya 3yoony..”
“I can’t breathe”
“Hehe sorry 7abeeby” he said letting go of me, and grabbing my hand to lead me to the sofa, “sit next to me 7ala”

I sat next to him, looking straight ahead into the bedroom, was it a good idea to have him in my room? What if he gets the wrong idea? What if he thinks I’m easy? Shit how didn’t I think of this?
“Saif tara I’ve never done this before”
“Done what 7abeeby?”
“Had a guy in my room” I whispered
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH” he couldn’t stop laughing for 2 minutes, he even had tears in his eyes! I can’t believe this!
“I’m glad you’re finding this funny”
“Hahahahahah la I’m sorry, wallah I am, 7abeeby I know you’ve never done this before, I know ya galby, that’s why I love you even more for doing it for me” he said kissing my hands, “I love you 7abeeby” he repeated kissing each finger, I quickly pulled my hand away from him,
“Bas 3ad, don’t get used to kissing”
“I’m sorry 7abeeby,” he said brushing my hair away from my face with his hand, “do you know you have the softest hands I have ever touched?”
“Do you go around touching people’s hands?”
“Hahah I was trying to give you a compliment”
“People normally compliment the face, not hands Saif,”
“I love you” he whispered.
It was the perfect date, it was the perfect day, we spent 5 hours together just sitting, talking, giggling, watching TV, it felt so normal, so comfortable, it just felt right. I was going out to dinner with the girls tonight, to celebrate Dalal’s final night as a single girl, just as I was thinking that nothing could ruin this perfect day, guess who I bumped into?

As soon as our eyes met, I felt my phone vibrating,

Talal: Laish ma gelteely inik jaya ilba7rain?

Uh - oh.