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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Not tomorrow, now


By Talib Gibran I prayed Zuhr, maybe for the first time I did so with my heart and soul totally on someone else. I was in a tight spot. What I felt for Anna wasn’t just an ordinary crush; the provisional crushes typical among guys who just enjoy the beauty of new girls, and their crushes change as the girls change. No, mine was just unique…and it felt like something that was going to last for a long time regardless of the outcome. Me: “Hey, I’m back” Anna: “Finally! What took you long?” I wanted to just tell her right away. The butterflies that are growing into birds in my stomach but I couldn’t find the right words that exude real love and meaning. In that moment, I felt sharp agony and ecstatic joy at the same time. And then I realised, someone was right, love can make you happier than you’ve ever been, sadder than you’ve ever been. It can elate you and deflate you almost at the same time Me: “……” Anna: “Seriously? A blank text?” Me: “It’s a reflection of my heart. It’s empty. It’s blank” In my infinite lack of wisdom, that text message was clear enough, a true signal of burning desire to be with someone. Anna: “What do you mean?” That was a killer question. It was so direct that, it’s either I tell her exactly what I felt or just deflect it. But the stakes were high because losing her wasn’t an option. She’s too precious to lose. So I chickened out. Me: “Forget it, don’t mind me” The pattern was clear. With her brilliance and rare sensitivity to issues, I guessed she would instantly know what I was alluding. I just wanted things to change between us but I didn’t have the courage to change it myself. I wanted someone to do it for me. I wanted her to do it. It reminded me of childhood love stories, when there would always be a third party who would mostly be the messenger. The person would be delivering verbal—sometimes written—messages between two kids who are crushing on each other, so none of them would have to endure the pressure of telling someone something that difficult right in front of them. I wish I had that third party. Maybe, somehow, that has played a part in my psychology and until today, professing love to someone is an unattractive option for me. I’d do anything to avoid it. Anna: “Come on, don’t do that. Tell me what’s wrong” Someone once said whether you’ve loved and won or loved and lost; it’s always worth it. I disagree. If you’ve once felt what I feel, you would know that winning is the only way. Some people aren’t just meant to be lost. You fight to win them over because if you lose them, you might just lose everything good along with them. Me: “I will tell you. But first let me deal with it.” Anna: “You can tell me anything, you know that right?” Me: “I will keep it in mind. Lol” Anna: “Good for you” It was so easy but so difficult. It’s like western marriage proposals. There is 99% chance that she would say yes but you fret over it. I came so close to just open my heart to Anna. I wanted to tell her to cancel her visit so we could go somewhere that gives true meaning to love and beauty. I wanted to just grab her, perform magic and then, whoosh, we appear in the tropics and magical forests, streams and waterfalls because these natural places have the same beauty as Anna. I wanted her to see her kind, beauty next to nature. Me: “When are you going to the wedding?” Anna: “I had planned to go after lunch but since I’m not the chief bridesmaid, I’m going to stick around until evening. I guess your Zeddicus spell worked. Lol” Me: “Haha, Zeddicus spell indeed. I wish I had his wizardry” Anna: “What would you do with such power?” Me: “I would bring God’s most beautiful creatures right next to you so they would know that you’re more beautiful than any. I’d put the moon and the stars at your feet and make the rainbow your necklace as I watch their brightness dim because of your radiance. Put simply, I’d use magic to prove you’re God’s most beautiful creation” Each time I mustered a little courage to say something romantically connotative to Anna, I would be on the edge before she replied. But I’ve always thought about a few things: If she actually feels the same as I do; if all she thought about, day and night, was Talib and Talib alone; if the sound of her beating heart is louder than a whistle, a heart that beats and craves for me; if her dreams have been invaded by my image in all forms, then why is she still quiet? It is either she doesn’t feel the same—which would be tragic—or she is hell stronger than I am to be able to contain such defiant feelings. If I think about all these discouraging possibilities, the odds seem to be against me and it would practically stop me from going all Romeo on her. Anna: “Wow. That’s really cute. I could hear that all day and I wouldn’t be bored” Me: “I could say it forever without tiring” Anna: “Funny” Me: “And what would you do with magic?” I had to develop a new strategy. I was dying to know how she felt about me and I thought a Socratic conversation could actually work. Anna: “I would build a mansion in space” Me: “Space? You want to complete Neil Armstrong’s legacy?” Anna: “Nope. I have better plans in mind” Me: “Oh so there is something better than building a mansion in space?” Anna: “Absolutely” Me: “And what would that be?” Anna: “Living with you in that space mansion” The idea of living with Anna in space, starting a family and spreading cute space kids across all planets, except planet earth of course, was blindingly hypnotic. I couldn’t breathe. My heart beat. It heaved. It pounded aggressively. I felt a movement in my spine, one that lulls you to sleep by softening your bones. That was all the confirmation I needed from Anna. I felt weak, right from my feet. Me: “Wow, live with me all the way in space. That’s brave” Anna: “Don’t tell me you never wondered how life in space would be. Besides, I can live anywhere, as long as you’re there” I hated how she was routinely beating me to the right words. I felt powerless, unintelligent. I thought using magic to prove her beauty was the best. She simply showed me magic could be used better. But despite my inability to match her artistry in words, I was somehow consoled, knowing regardless of my imperfections, someone never cared. I felt at ease. Victor Hugo is right, the greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. Me: “I don’t know if I should smile or frown” Anna: “It wouldn’t matter anyway; I would smile even if you frown” That was it. She won. I’ve struggled against my true self to tell her how I feel but nothing was working. The harder I tried, the harder it got. Anna wasn’t just any girl. I’ve met a lot of amazing women in my life. There are others who I made the effort to know them because I knew they would add value to my boring life. There are others who thought the same of me…and made the effort. But in between these two are those who, with all honesty, didn’t just suddenly come into my life. Anna was among them. She was simply SENT into my life. You don’t have women like Anna because you’re handsome or famous or rich; you have them because God loves you and wants his best creation to give your life a real purpose. And I got to know that when her face constantly appeared on any other girl I looked at. She was like a shape-shifter of sort; practically changing into every other girl. I would walk in the streets oblivious of danger; replaying our conversations in my mind and travelling to the future with her, to space. When I think of her, I think of the rest of my life. Me: “(smiles). Your words have life. You could easily bring someone back to life” Anna: “Lol. I’m blushing” Me: “I would love to see your blushing face” Anna: “You will. All you gotta do is repeat the same words to me when we meet tomorrow” Me: “Consider it done” Anna: “Awesome. I have to go to the wedding now. I hope we would chat if I return early” Me: “I’ll be waiting for you” Anna: “Good bye” Kahlil Gibran said if you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were. I say no, Kahlil, I won’t. I won’t even wait for the future in space. Tomorrow is far away. I can’t wait. Me: “Anna wait, I need to tell you something before you go” Anna: “Sure go ahead.”]]>

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