She liked him. She loved him, if that’s the most suitable word to describe that throbbing feeling. Deep down, she kept him in her heart when her parents said to cut off their ties because he was hospitalized due to a hard fall, and his backbone might have to bear the suffer in the future.
She was a good daughter, the only one for them, and she knew better than to defy her parents. So she did what they wanted. She relayed the message, for which she was sure the guy would be broken-hearted, but she had to. She had to choose.
But hope never left her. She still harboured the seed of hope, that one day everything will be clear to her parents, and they would consent. But it was too late.
When her phone rang and she saw the name, she flinched of joy, though they hadn’t talked to each other for years, because she was a good daughter.
“Assalamualaikum.” Her lips trembled when she tried to smile.
“Waalaikumussalam.” She replied, didn’t know what to be said next.
His voice sounded calm, after many years, that voice was still as vivid as she could remember.
“How are you?” he asked, shortly, after a deep heaving.
“I’m great. What about you?”
“I’m... I’m going for my akad nikah in 10 minutes.”
She was frozen. Cold shivers suddenly started running down her neck. That couldn’t be it, no. She misheard it.
“I’m sorry. I know you’re filial. There’s no way we could be together. I just want you to know, that I have to go.” She had to sit down.
Her hands trembled, her heart stopped, the world seemed... distant and unreal.
“I hope... you have a happy marriage. Forgive me...” and she pressed the red button.
She couldn’t wait. Tears were already running down without her realizing. Her chest was heavy. She didn’t feel like breathing. She was broken apart. He left her, finally.
When she had hopes, and hopes were all she had left when all failed. And now, he was finally gone into another’s embrace, forever. And she was still filial.
Loving someone for 15 years was inevitable in marriage. No other choice was given, either staying in marriage in love or staying apart after divorce in vain. But it was unfortunate for her when she loved him since they were 8 out of marriage, until two days ago.
She knew she had to get it through him. His brother encouraged her anyway. No good will come from a contained feeling, except pain and uncertainty, he said.
So 5 years ago, she did, with disturbed mind and trembling hands, she conveyed it through Friendster, and she was relieved to see the words before her eyes. It didn’t matter if he said no. She would still be relieved. Half the burden was already lifted when she started typing.
But the rejection never came. She should be glad. They were in that kind of relationship, and she felt unbelievably good. When someone you loved was with you, you could walk through everything in life. Like a dream, her long-contained feeling was not unrequited. Worse, it would never be unrequited.
A year passed by, when he finally said it. He already had a girl, but he could never choose between her and the first. Bitter. She was the second for him, and she knew how deep first love could be. So she quietly said she understood, after weeping and wailing so hard, and no shoulder to cry on, she withdrew willingly. She would only want to see him happy, even from faraway, even just on the screen. She would never dream of being the one who broke two loving hearts. And she vowed to never look for him again, unless he would certainly be alone, and she thought that day would never come.
Then the shocking news dawned on her. He was alone, not by choice. Somehow, it was impossible for him to marry her first love. When the news came, they saw each other briefly, but she didn’t say a word. Her vow was eating her up. How could she imagine him being miserable without his first love?
For two years, he conveniently had chats with her once in a while, cordially asking about life, when all she wanted was to tell him that she knew. And she finally said it, and to no surprise, again, the rejection never came.
He wasn’t sure she would want to be with him. His job required a man no family, but she still insisted. She would only bid goodbye if he did, but he didn’t bid any. He held on, so she held on tighter. She let him go on his voyage, and waited for his return with a blooming heart.
She knew he would come to his senses, that he would only have her, the one who held on to her love for 15 years. He would say, he’s decided, and she would only smile afterwards.
That’s why when the notification popped up in the middle of her class two days ago, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
Syamil invited you to his wedding.
She reread the line over and over again. This must be wrong. It should be! She clicked on it as quick as lightning. And the names appeared before her eyes.
Syamil & Zarina
Her heart stopped beating for a second. Could this be wrong? But the words stayed still. The longer she stared at the screen, the heavier her chest felt. Her breath became stiff. She finally locked the screen, and her students questions sounded distant when they were only a feet away. She held her head with her two hands. Fuzzy. Everything seemed unreal. Her hands and feet were cold. And she still had half an hour for the class.
She summoned her strength with great difficulty, and tried to tutor all the way until the hour was up, and she was finally free on her thoughts and will again.
She only wanted to be alone. When she finally was, she pulled over and poured her heart’s content, as loud and as hard as she could. The heavy chest finally lightened. She drove back with tears rolling down her cheek, her vision blurred. Though dangerously, she managed to reached her destination.
How could he? Finally, she was ditched again. But it wasn’t the dumping that made her heart ache, but it was him, who was never able to say it until the end, and she was crushed the hardest way.
Rejection was not what she feared, but she would never forgive him for not being able to say, “I already have someone else.” But of course, the rejection never came, at least not the way she wanted it to be.
That night, she deleted him from her life, forever.
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