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City of Banjul
Monday, October 2, 2023

One last time

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By Talib Gibran

This generation is love-struck. We fall in love so easily and so many times that it becomes just temporary sensual experiences accumulated in our lifetimes.

And because it is too many and too often, we don’t really make any efforts to stay in love with one person since we would have more chances than needed in the future.

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It’s a reality in our time that has made love – something so sacred – so banal at the same time.

With rotational conflicting positions between religion and modernity, we are left with nothing but to constantly break each other’s hearts, by falling and ‘unfalling’ in love in quick successions.

Yet, conscious of the apparent danger of breaking Anna’s heart – or she breaks mine – we dropped into a pit of what was supposed to be love at first sight, hoping ours is different from everyone else’s.

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Anna: “Good morning sunshine”
Me: “Oh, sunshine”
Anna: “You don’t like being called sunshine?”
Me: “Not really but when you say Talib, at any time of our conversation, it feels so deep as if you gave me the name at my birth. It’s better than words like cupcake, sunshine, bae or babe, honey, sweetheart. What do these things even mean?”
Anna: “Smh. They are sweet words. Such words make people happy”
Me: “Well not me, I only get confused. I want something almost uniquely mine”
Anna: “And you believe that thing is Talib?”
Me: “Precisely. At least I would know you’re not going about calling everyone Talib. If you do, then something is fundamentally wrong with you”
Anna: “Haha, so I go about calling everyone sweetheart or babe?”
Me: “That’s right, it’s common and we just borrow these words from each other and use them on innocent people like me”
Anna: “Hah innocent. Look, no one is borrowing anything, Talib. The words are there for everyone to use”
Me: “That’s the ‘everyone’ am talking about. We call each other these names without even meaning it. It’s like you type ‘lol’ or ‘haha’ without actually laughing. Maybe you’re even frowning or cursing”
Anna: “Do you have problems with everything people say or do”
Me: “No, not everything people say or do. But I have problems with what everyone says or does. It’s usually what you shouldn’t say or do”
Anna: “Unbelievable, how are you still alive?”
Me: “Oh don’t you worry, that time will come soon. Don’t force it”
Anna: “No way, left to me alone, you and I would be here forever”
Me: “Not here, maybe in space. This earth cannot make anyone happy anymore. It has lost its touch”
Anna: “Remember it is us, we can bring joy to anywhere we so wish”
Me: “That’s actually sweet”
Anna: Hmm, so there’s something I want us to try again”
Me: “I cannot keep up with your speed. You need to slow down, otherwise we are going to hit a bump again”
Anna: “We hit a bump last time because there was actually a bump, now there is none. We can even fly, if our legs aren’t fast enough”
Me: “That is refreshing to know. You’re in cheerful mood today. Tell me what you want us to try again”
Anna: “I want us to meet. And this time, I want it where we both have good memories of, at least a familiar neutral ground”
Me: “Oh, so you want us to meet. Sounds nice, I already have goose pimples hearing that”
Anna: “Awesome! You’ve shown so much courage when we first met; beating your fears and mine at the same time. It’s my turn now”
Me: “Well, let’s hope your turn comes good cuz mine was a mess”
Anna: “It wasn’t a mess Talib. You changed my entire perception about men; about love and marriage. You did a pretty good job”
Me: “You changed my perception too. And in the end, the new me and the new you were not enough. I still walked away”
Anna: “And yet, here we are planning to meet”
Me: “True, okay I’d still give you the power to pick a venue. Do you have any familiar neutral ground in mind?”
Anna: “Oh yes, the beach”
Me: “Hmm, I like it already”
Anna: “This time, no Wednesday. It was a terrible pick last time”
Me: “It is your show, Anna. I’d meet you in the sky if it’s possible”
Anna: “How sweet of you! How about Saturday, at 6pm? I want us to watch the sunset together”
Me: “Perfect, there’s no better day for me”
Anna: “It’s a date then. Let’s make it happen this time”
Me: “You can bet on that. Don’t just stand me up”
Anna: “I’m your fixed point, am not going anywhere. If there’s anywhere I’d go on Saturday, it would definitely be to the beach with you”

I usually have bad experience with women. I don’t have boundaries. I go all in, with almost everything about me out in the open for her. And once she walks away, I’d then hate on pretty much every woman, for a long time before another heartbreaker comes my way. And then history, as always, would repeat itself.

Me: “You’re unusually very confident this time”
Anna: “Yes I am. I’m sure things will work this time. I’ve learned a lot from this experience”
Me: “I must admit I’ve never thought we would ever talk again, let alone meet”
Anna: “I’ve always been the optimist, remember? When you walked away, a precious part of me just went missing. I’d do anything to get that back”
Me: “So you’re not necessarily getting me back, you’re getting that precious thing back”
Anna: “Smh, you had to twist that as well, didn’t you? You’re such a moron!”
Me: “I was just making sure there’s a distinction between what’s precious to you and what’s helpful”
Anna: “The precious thing is you, Talib”

We all feel bitter sometimes when we couldn’t succeed in something, especially if that thing is love.

I put so much energy into this…and I was disoriented for weeks when it failed.

The story started so beautifully; perhaps too beautiful to last forever.

And even though I was heartbroken when it ended, it didn’t come as a total surprise.

That’s what these relationships are after all; they almost always end along the way.

Me: “You were what I looked forward to every new day, Anna. Only you mattered to me.

And because what I felt was so strong, I was perhaps a bit complacent that nothing could ever break it. That we could roll on in love forever.

I couldn’t have been more naïve. Someone asked me who gives their entire love to a lady they have just met”
Anna: “So you’re now taking love lessons? How things have changed! Look, what we shared…..share is beyond anyone’s comprehension. Our story is special Talib, and I want us to prove it to the world that this wasn’t just a random crush that eventually fades with time”
That’s what I was looking for. Assertiveness and determination. And like Victoria Schwab said, for one dazzling, infinite moment, I felt like I was standing on a precipice, the end of one world and the beginning of another, a whisper and a bang. We are giving this one last time, and it sure will be a good time.

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