I hate being in the state that I am in right now. I feel so torn between moving on, and keeping the love of my life close to my heart.
For the first time in my whole entire life, I fell in love. And for the first time in my whole entire life, the guy I loved, loved me back. Unconditionally, wholly, truly, fully.
After a failed almost relationship with this guy at college, I gave up on guys. I'm not saying I decided to turn lesbian or whatever, no, but I just... gave up on guys.
That was in late 2006, all the way through to 2007.
In June 2007, I started to notice this one guy in particular, who was the older brother of a close friend. Let's call him Ian. I knew nothing about Ian, apart from the fact that he was smart, funny, wise, and was someone who had a close relationship with God. Plus, he was totally someone who looked out for his siblings and his family. From my observations I got that he was willing to do anything for his loved ones, and I found that incredibly admirable and inspiring. And on top of all that, he was (still is) very, very hot.
So, seeing how perfect Ian was (still is). I knew he was never going to notice me in that way, 'cos he was way out of my league. Hot, smart, funny perfect guys would never look at girls who looked like me, I thought. So I pushed my feelings for him aside, and only let them arise whenever I saw him during the weekends (we teach at a religious school together), or whenever some guy from school wanted to ask me out, an image of him would come to mind and I'd turn my nose up at the said interested guy and sniff, "No way, you're nowhere as fabulous as someone else I know."
I'm serious, I did that. Bitchy, much? You don't have to tell me, trust me - I know.
Ok, so I pretty much coasted through the rest of college without an actual guy in my life; but at the same time, only having him, Ian, in my thoughts and daydreams. I was pretty contented with the way things were; me liking a guy who has no idea about my feelings for him; and constantly sizing other guys up against him. And most of the time, those guys who were sized up, failed the test.
So that was the way my life was, right up till I graduated from college, and got a job as a teacher at an out-of-town preschool. And all the while, I still saw him during the weekends at the religious centre. Often, I didn't speak to him; I'd just quietly admire him from afar. We spoke, don't get me wrong. We smiled at each other, and sometimes I'd notice him looking over at me, at times when I think he thought I wasn't looking. But that was it. Our interactions were limited to the times we saw each other during the weekends, or meetings, or staff holidays. But that was it.
Until June 2008, where our families, two close familial units, came together for a holiday, sort of like a going-away present to Mary, Ian's sister - she was leaving the country to further her studies in an overseas university. Only at the last minute, Mary couldn't come, but her dad still went on with the holiday anyway. And during that trip, this Ian, this lovely, thoughtful Ian, got me a book. It was a book based on the life of a religious Muslim man, who was torn in between loving two beautiful women; one a religious Muslima, the other, a devout Christian who had a heart that was made of gold. Before this trip, we had all gone on staff holiday trip together, and during one of those rare snatches of conversations I had with him, I had told him I was looking for that book, but couldn't find it.
And then, a week later, at this holiday trip with our families, he saw a few copies being sold at one of the stalls of the Malaysian market we were at, and got it for me.
And when he knocked on the window of my family car, and I quickly pushed the windows down, only to look up into that warm, lovely smile, and those dark eyes twinkling down on me, and when he passed me the book through the open window; I guess it was that moment that I truly, deeply, fell in love with him.
I didn't realise just how deeply I had fallen, till he got thrown off his bike in an accident, about a month after the family trip, and two weeks after Mary had already left the country. I remember being devastated, and helpless, and frustrated. I remember bursting into tears in the cab, while on the way home from an outing with a close girlfriend, after I got the news from my sister and my mom. I remember not sleeping that very night, tossing and turning in bed, eyes bloodshot, heart aching, mind screaming. I remember praying constantly for him and his family.
And for the days that followed, that vicious inner emotional cycle continued, unseen by everybody else but me. He was constantly in my thoughts, and I was constantly worrying about his wellbeing. But it was hard, because I wasn't a close friend, I wasn't a family member, I wasn't a relative; and it would seem very dubious if I suddenly showed up at his doorstep with a bowl of chicken soup and a shoulder to cry on, wouldn't it? And that knowledge alone left me a wreck, emotionally, on the inside.
During those few days of being on that emotional rollercoaster, I had no idea why I felt that way. It was horrible; everytime I was alone, I would start to cry, just thinking about his condition and feeling so helpless, because I couldn't do anything to help him.
And so one night, I just suddenly sat up bolt upright, blinking back my tears in a sudden bout of surprise. And that was when I realised that I was deeply, irrevocably, in love with Ian. And what killed me was the fact that he didn't know.
Call me crazy, call me weird, but somehow I knew that one day, we would both become close. I guess I must have known it all along, especially after that failed almost-relationship; because I didn't bother looking at other guys, or shot down any who even had the nerve to breathe the same air I did. Even now, looking through all the entries in my private blog that are all about Ian, Ian, and Ian again, it was obvious. That I had just been patiently waiting for the day that he would finally notice me, and speak to me.
And that did happen. Him speaking to me, I mean.
Before Mary left, we (the young teachers at the religious centre), decided to throw her a surprise farewell party. And since I was the one who had suggested it, alot of the responsibility fell on me. And since Ian is Mary's older brother, the two of us liased alot with each other, discussing, scheming, planning, and helping each other out. And somehow along the way, we found ourselves on each other's IM's lists. And the discussions carried on.
After Mary left, and after his accident, even though there was nothing much to talk about besides work and the kids and the religious centre, we got talking on IM. We started talking about God, about religion, and it felt amazing, to be able to talk to someone who was going through the exact thing I was.
(Note to readers: You have to take note that after I graduated from college, I was going through some really tough, major spiritual changes, and after Mary left, I made one radical decision on my own; I decided to don the hijab, leave my "wild" days behind and be a good Muslima. It was difficult at first, because alot of my friends had a tough time adjusting to the changes I was going through, and I got a lot of criticism as well. But hey, all is good now, thanks to Him. (:)
But during our fourth or fifth IM conversation, he told me that he had a girlfriend.
I was crushed, of course. I was devastated. Duh. Who wouldn't be, right? But I took it all in stride. I valued his friendship too much to let my feelings override it all, that I decided to push my feelings for him aside and focused on being someone who could possibly be his close friend.
And so we became inseparable on IM. At first we would chat with each other like, twice a week, or sometimes thrice. But then those chats became even more frequent. And after another staff holiday/work retreat together, we became even closer, and our chats took an all-time high. We would chat almost every night; talking, laughing, joking, discussing every issue under the sun. And many times we chatted the night away, all through till the morning.
And from those chats, we progressed to meet-ups. I remember our first meet-up together being not exactly the most romantic place in the world; a quiet, non-descript coffeeshop tucked away deep in the heart of my neighbourhood marketplace. It wasn't exactly the most romantic place, but it was definitely memorable.
And that meet-up wasn't just for any old meet-up either. He wanted some advice about a problem he was having with his girlfriend, only, at the time, he told me it was his friend who needed the advice. It's a pretty religious-based question, and I don't know whether I want to post it on here, because it's really private? But all you need to know is that the problem he was facing, is most definitely the strongest reason why he left me for her in the end.
So from that meet-up, I guess we both got closer. But there were some stuff he didn't let me in on; like his feelings about the death of his late mother, his sister's absence in his life... the guy lost alot of people who were close to him - his mother, his grandmother, and now his sister, although her absence from his life is temporary. But still. The pain of losing someone dear to your heart; that pain should just be made illegal, I swear.
I don't know how, I don't know why, but when he broke up with his girlfriend, I was the one he came to first. And I took it upon myself to help him get through it; giving him advice, sorting through this confused thoughts and emotions together, just always being there for him; a constant pillar of strength and support.
He broke up with his girlfriend twice. And those two times were because he needed some time to be on his own, so that he could work towards building a closer relationship with God. But those two times, he caved under the pressure of being alone, after being with someone else for so long, and not being able to see a life without her. And that was why he returned to her.
And before he returned to her, after the second break-up, he told me, in a voice that was quiet, remorseful and full of regret, that it was only right if he withdrew from the very close companionship that we both had shared. It was the right thing to do, he said, because his girlfriend didn't like the fact that her boyfriend was close to another girl. And he felt that if he really wanted to make their relationship work, or closeness had to stop.
I totally got that, because, putting myself in her shoes, I wouldn't want the same thing to happen to me either. And so I accepted his decision, but not before revealing my feelings to him.
Before anyone starts accusing me of trying to emotionally blackmail him by roping him back in with my feelings, I would like to say that I wouldn't have revealed my feelings to him, if I had known that they, my feelings, would have an impact on him. I guess I only told him because at that time, he seemed set and determined in his decision to go back to his then ex-girlfriend, and I didn't think anything would ever come out of my confession.
But I guess it did.
Even before I confessed, he was already developing feelings for me; thus the second break up.
But one night, about three or four days after they had gotten back together, Ian initiated an IM conversation with me. And I, having been so lost without him and missing him so much I cried buckets every time I thought about him (which was alot), welcomed him back into my life with open arms. Okay, not so open arms. I held back a little, because I didn't want my feelings for him to get further developed and then when he had to leave me again because his girlfriend wasn't happy about it, I'd end up getting hurt.
But the friendship went on. The chats went on. The long, endless conversations, and videocalling, went on.
Till one day I had to go on a five-day holiday trip with my family (I know, I know, I go on alot of trips), which meant I wasn't going to see or speak to him for five days. And I swear, those five days were the longest, most painful, most agonizing five days of my life. And to make it worst, dearest He Who Must be Obeyed extended the holiday by one day (I wanted to kill him). I couldn't wait to get back.
So after I got back, I fell back into the long chats with Ian again. And then a few days later, he told me, via a videocall on IM, that they had broken up, for good.
I didn't know whether to be thrilled or wary. I decided to be both.
** okay, I think I'm going to take a short break because right now my tummy is just BEGGING to be filled. Preferably with a large plate of onion rings or a large pack of Ruffles, sour cream and onion flavour. Yum. Later. **
#one, #man, #two, #women, #love, #triangle