Liana telling the story in a nutshell

Love is the twin of a beautiful dream that survives birth to reality; but my love was a reality that survived arduous parturition only to remain a beautiful dream

Blog Archive

October 18, 2007

69. "Say it for God's Sake, Say it" / Part XIV

I leaned against the copier, my back pressed to it, and stood, hands folded against my chest, anxious for an explanation. He maintained what seemed to be an everlasting silence, settling his smiling eyes provocatively on mine. My thin patience ran even thinner, and surprisingly contrary to my shy nature, I took the initiative, killing the nervous wait, “What is this all about?” “I told you,” he replied and reiterated calmly his previous reply, “It’s about time.” His provocative demeanor inflamed further my stifled rage, which I sensed now to be surging, engulfing my head and burning my face, which must’ve been glowing red.

Despite my befuddlement, I was aware of how much he was enjoying this ungoverned manifestation of emotions. “And what’re you up to now?” I asked, assaying hard not to betray my feelings. But such self-control was unnecessary since the question in itself was quite revealing, and had said it all. I was hoping that he was surely going to talk about us, about me, and about the plan he had for us, the plan that naturally lay behind such a precipitate decision, which he had taken unilaterally. Instead he spoke in clipped sentences, “I’m leaving for the airport in a couple of hours. I will be flying to (X - country) to negotiate a job offer. I’ll be back tomorrow.” Done with his agonizingly concise statement, he carried on with the sipping of his coffee, calmly maintaining the same provocative look. For a moment, I sensed my treacherous tears selling me out, but my crushed pride held them in check. And I uttered nothing. I just turned my back to him, and vented my rage on the poor copier, fiddling absentmindedly with the paper tray, pulling it out, and placing it in again, pretending to be engaged in some diligent photocopying job, oblivious to the fact that I had nothing in hand to copy from. Losing my battle with the wayward tears didn’t take long; they cascaded down upon my hands and on the tray, wetting the papers while I poured more of my indignation on the tray that protested against its cruel handling by screaming its pain loudly as I struggled to place it back in again. All of a sudden, the tender and warm touch of an affectionate and loving hand encircled my right wrist, sending an electrifying shiver through my whole body. This timely much-needed touch unleashed more of my tears, bringing forth a wild rush of conflicting emotions. My heart throbbed, my ears hummed, and for a moment I sensed the whole world around me freezing, everything seeming to have come to a deadly standstill. Hurt and humiliated and at sea, I stood there fighting a powerful urge to throw myself into his arms, rest my burdened head on his shoulder, and cry my love out. But the devastating sadness that had me crushed down to the bone, let alone the shock and fear of losing him that had ravened my sanity, seemed to have all of a sudden vanished, giving way to wave after wave of overpowering rage. I sensed the shy female inside me turning into a huge volcanic mass that was almost verging upon the point of eruption. And despite the resolution that I had made the previous night to overcome my shyness and let it all openly out, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t utter or say anything. I was clueless, absolutely clueless, not knowing what to say or how to say it. I just wound up pulling out my hand angrily, so angrily that I sensed my elbow shoving into his chest. And I rushed out of the room, wishing him a sarcastic “Good bye and Good luck.”

I felt like being sucked into a tumultuous and whirling sea of unbearably agonizing emotions that I, myself, couldn’t understand or comprehend. Even the words that I had time and again drilled into me the previous night seemed to have all suddenly evaporated. They just vanished. And sentences like “Make sure to inquire about the residency status of your Iraqi wife” or “What’s your plan for your future Iraqi wife?” were utterly wiped out of my memory. True, it was my inexperience letting me down one more time, but the female whom he had himself invariably pampered with his overflowing love and affection wasn’t accustomed to such harshness. Even on the very few occasions when he had to give his work priority over me, he surrounded me still with his abundant affection, however fleeting his visit would be. It was the first time I sensed him to be totally unmindful of my emotions. The vacuous and painfully blank look that I caught in his eyes split my soul in half.

I was no longer able to stay on my feet, and my irrepressible tears were following their own volition with seemingly no let up. I left the office, pretending to go out to the toilet. Once in, I slid my back against one of the corners, squatted, and cried my heart out. When I got back, he was nowhere to be seen.

The twenty-four hours that elapsed until the next morning were utter torture. And I could hardly wait to see him.

Next morning, Fury, armed with her Sherlock Holmes skills, plunged fervently into action and shortly was able to confirm his itinerary. “He has flown back early this morning”, she said. Wait had multiplied, killing the patience that had already been pronounced dead, and I couldn’t put up with it any longer. Around one o’clock I found myself dialing his number, holding the receiver with my right hand, while having the index of my left hand geared up for action. The ringing tones were silenced by his voice coming through the line. I only half heard his “Hello”. My index jumped into action, hanging up.

I couldn’t fancy going home that day. I was fully preyed upon by melancholy. And my only recourse was Dina. I updated her with my “shocking” news. “Not unexpected,” she said. “He’s American, and sooner or later there was going to be a time when he would leave, or is it that you expected him to remain in Iraq forever?”

Once I had submitted to her forceful determination to eat something, she put me to bed, and set off to see my mother. She reckoned it was about time my mother heard about it all directly from her, instead of both my parents learning it through the agony and misery drawn clearly on my face, and which was now too obvious to be concealed. She was also anxious not to lose their precious trust or face their blame and reproach when all was revealed.

My heart had been beating fast since she had left. Awful scenarios were festering painfully inside my mind until I was finally overtaken by oppressive sleep that lasted long after she returned. Even though Dina had started working some time ago on mum, preparing her indirectly for a “wayward” marriage, any expectation of my parents’ approval being granted without resistance was a mere flight of fancy. And it was not inconceivable that both my parents would unanimously pronounce such a marriage an insane idea. For apart from anything else, approving the marriage meant flinging me with their own hand to the far side of the world where they would not be able to see their only daughter except once in a very long while. And that in itself was way beyond their endurance.

Dina, patting my forehead, was seated on the edge of my bed when I opened my weary eyes. I mustered the remainder of my strength, and sat up in bed, hugging my knees, ready to face the music. From the look on Dina’s face, things didn’t seem to augur well at all. As she recounted later on, she was greeted with indignation for hiding it all from my mum. My dad was not at home; his reaction was another issue, yet to be reckoned with. Dina’s composed and calm nature absorbed, however, mum’s initial shock and managed to contain wisely her fury. “Your daughter loves him. There was nothing that I could do. I tried every possible means to sway her away from him, but I gave up only when I realized how unwilling she was to give up on him. And you know how sensitive and emotional Liana is, and also how stubborn”.

Dina didn’t leave mum until she had quieted down her worries, assuring her of the chastity of the relationship, and how she had been keeping things under her constant watchful observation and advice.

“But have you sensed any possibility of her approving the marriage?” I asked anxiously seeking the bottom-line. Dina multiplied my worries through a shake of her head.

Mum called around seven and asked to talk to me. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t talk to her. And Dina told her I was having a shower. The sense of guilt for having hid things from her for the first time in my life was overwhelming, and this was compounded by my shyness. I was too embarrassed to discuss such a huge issue with her. With mum and dad I was always a kid, acted like one, and was treated like one. And marriage is an issue only grown-ups could discuss. Or was it that with my parents I didn’t feel like I had grown up enough to get married. I guess love had knocked on my door a bit too early. And the kid who had dwelt inside me for twenty-one years was no match for the female who had beautifully evolved in body and face.

My parents figured out the cat-and-mouse game that I was playing with them; they came to visit around nine. I didn’t have the least courage to face them. Dina told them I was asleep. But a few moments later, mum was sitting on the edge of my bed, awakening the phony sleeper.

I felt so naked in mum’s presence that I pulled the comforter up, covering my whole body right up to the shoulder. And I couldn’t look her in the eyes. Despite the pure and chaste romance, that particular moment made me realize the “horridness” of falling in love. I have always known my parents to be loving, judiciously tolerant and lenient, but mum at this point sounded different. Well I guess I saw her differently, perhaps because this was my first experience ever with love and marriage. “When did this whole thing start? Tell me all about it and don’t leave anything out,” she commanded. “There’s nothing much to tell mum, he’s just like any other marriage suitor,” I said avoiding her eyes. Mum was, and still is, the best at reading my eyes. I might hide things from the whole world, but hiding them from mum was impossible.
To Be Continued>>>>>>>>>>>>>>