By Talib Gibran
Throughout my life, I only care about my mind; its growth, its strength, its resilience, its protection, nothing else.
I wasn’t born tiny, no I wasn’t. Maybe I was average, and in the Third World, average means big, or it doesn’t.
And later in life, when I started growing in shape and form, I was afraid for my brains. But, as always, I invested all my energy into growing in intellect, not only grow but grow differently.
And instead of using a physical strength – which I don’t have – I use my mind for defence. It’s hard to trap my mind; it’s so tricky, so agile that even I don’t understand it. All those gloating feelings agonizingly disappeared when I met this girl on the beach, Anna.
Anna showed up in my life when I was struggling to condemn women into a side of my brain dubbed ‘DANGER’. My heart was broken a few times already – I broke a few hearts myself – and I’ve had to pick up the pieces in excruciating circumstances.
But enter Anna, and I consider myself the actual danger to her, not the other way round. She is different.
She is pure. She has an unconventional beauty; I can’t really understand it.
I don’t think she understands it herself. And love started budding. She doesn’t only catch my heart, she catches my breath.
That is a hard thing to achieve, especially for someone who’s the newest person in my life.
I’ve always regarded myself as a sapiosexual; I’m only attracted to intelligence, not beauty.
But falling in love with Anna – with her sparkling eyes and genius intelligence – made me realise that intelligence is actually beauty. She turns my head – with both smartness and charm – like a swivel chair.
Since Anna and I broke up – well, since I realised she had another guy – I thought she was the problem, so I got rid of her.
I solved her, so I thought. But what I didn’t know is that the solution was more problematic than the problem itself.
That single decision, or better still, indecision, to freeze what we had changed everything, even the biological process that helps me sleep.
Anna: “Can I tell you something?”
Me: “Yes, Anna. Tell me something, let it be good though”
Anna: “I’ve realised I actually never loved anyone before”
Me: “Really? What do you call what you have with the other guy?”
Anna: “I didn’t have the chance to actually love. He was just there, since childhood. He never left. We grew up together, accepted to get married when we are ready, without actually deciding. It’s like someone arranged it for us”
Me: “Still, strong loves are usually built overtime. You two had time, maybe what you shared was actually love”
Anna: “It’s not. That’s why it was easy to leave him after so many years. I didn’t feel the rush with him. I’m not excited every minute, like I am with you. The days and years just boringly passed. But with you, it’s different”
Me: “Why did you wait until I left only for you to break up with him? It kinda feels like you used me to break-free from him”
Anna: “No Talib. I didn’t use you. It’s just that I was sure about my feelings for you but I wasn’t sure about the direction we would take. I wasn’t ready to lose what I had if I wouldn’t get what I wanted”
Me: “I thought I was clear enough. You forgot about the house we were gonna build in space?”
Anna: “Trust me, you did more in a week than any guy can in a decade. I knew whatever I feel for you, if it works, I wouldn’t miss anything in life. I don’t know why I still dragged my feet”
Me: “I can help you answer it”
Anna: “Stop being silly, I’m in my serious mood today. Haha”
Me: “Yes, ma’am”
Anna: “I was really afraid”
Me: “Of what exactly?”
Anna: “Of losing you, if I told you about him from the beginning”
Me: “I had my fears too. I still do”
Anna: “Talib having fears. I wanna know about it”
Me: “When we first had problems and we parted ways, I was afraid we will never be together again. Now I am afraid we will”
I admit the pain was too much. It revealed my stupidity and naivety, at once. I wanted love. And I wanted it on the cheap. I wanted a flawless girl……and she was right there but I blew it. The ache was like a shard in my guts that never left. I died a little more each time I thought about what happened; how from seemingly getting the best to getting nothing. Well, except a cold heartbreak that felt like concrete drying in my chest.
Anna: “So essentially you’re telling me that you want us to be together, again?”
Me: “Is that not obvious?”
Anna: “Not really. When I saw you on the beach that evening, lonely and lost in your thought marveling at the waves, I knew you would be key in my life. I just didn’t know I would fall in love with you so quickly”
Me: “It wasn’t quick, you kept me waiting. I almost thought what I felt wasn’t mutual”
Anna: “It’s always been mutual. It all boiled down to who had the courage to spill it first. I didn’t”
Me: “I would have chosen walking on fire than that little confession. It was hard; I still tremble when I think about it, despite the poetic nature of the conversation”
Anna: “And I still relish the conversation. It was the best I had. It was real and pure”
Me: “I was a broken guy for weeks. The pain was too blinding to see the possibility of us reconnecting”
Anna: “I know, Talib. That wasn’t my finest moment. But I suffered too. I even had to seek advice from a friend of mine during that difficult moment”
Me: “I’m glad you had help to weather through it. You’re lucky”
Anna: “Haha, come on. You could have sought advice too”
Me: “I know but I didn’t think anyone could help me. No one experienced what happened to me. And like Melissa Copelton said, much like no two relationships are truly alike, no two breakups are truly alike. This means that every instance of heartbreak is an individualised experience that only the person suffering has the right to comment on. So I kept mine to myself, the grief all to myself”
Anna: “That was tough. You didn’t deserve that”
Me: “No I didn’t but only someone who knows me can hurt me that much. As it’s often said, it was an inside job. Haha”
Anna: “Haha, I can see you haven’t lost your sense of humor”
Me: “Oh no, that’s the only thing immortal in me”
Anna: “Great. Be strong for me Talib. Let’s try this again and with the experience and knowledge of each other, we can much more than just build a house in space, we can build a family there”
Me: “I hope so. I feel good about it”
Anna: “Good. I feel alive again. Thank you. I will text you first thing in the morning”
Me: “I will be waiting. Take care”
Our conversations are usually unrestricted but we could all feel certain boundaries we didn’t want to cross. It’s been a while since we had such a heart-to-heart conversation so no need to rush anything.
The night had already grown old. I dropped the phone beside my head on the pillow and stretched on the bed – my ivory tower of romance – and closed my eyes. Playing our conversation in slow motion across the inches of my mind, I realised that even though there are no perfect people, Anna and I are perfect for each other.