Rose // Eman Khalid
She and I
our fingers entwined
and bodies aligned
we danced sensually
to the rhythm of an old song
as she bent closer
I parted my lips
allowing her to kiss me
I woke up
It was just a dream,
I miss you.
One of the worst feelings in the world is missing something or someone you never had. Sometimes when we like people, we make an image of them in our minds hoping they’d be exactly like we think they are. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they aren’t. In my case, I’ll never know. One of the reasons why is because I admired her from afar not telling her how I truly felt about her. I was afraid of confessing my feelings. But most of all, I was afraid of myself.
I asked my grandmother once
“What does it feel like to fall in love?”
She replied ever so softly, in the honey-like voice of hers,
“Falling in love is complicated and it is different for every person. Most people realize their love for someone years after their separation and most individuals never even get to taste the sweetness of love even after being together for years. Love could be right in front of your eyes and you wouldn’t know. But love tends to make people addicted to each other and when one of them leaves, the other dies, emotionally. Love is like that old song you can’t get bored of. It is that poem that makes your heart skip a beat every time you read it. Love is delusional and insecure at times, but love is never possessive. Nor does love urge you to change yourself. It will accept you with open arms just the way you are. Love can make a poet out of an ordinary man. Whenever love comes, it comes without a warning. Like the strong waves of a tsunami, it will turn everything in your life upside down and leave you a wrecked mess. But be careful of the ones who claim to love you but do nothing but hurt you. Those are the kind of people who can never be anybody’s. They are selfish and aren’t capable of love, ever. Love is life and life is precious. And if you’re ever lucky enough to find someone who feels like home, comfort, warmth, peace, and serenity, never let them go. Never let them go.“
But, she never told me about unrequited love. How painful it is to watch my beloved smile every day and kiss the lips of someone who isn’t me. How suffocating it is to know that you aren’t allowed to feel the way that you’re feeling. She’d never accepted me. And you can’t control who you love. You cannot control the way you feel towards a specific person. That’s the way the universe works.
I saw her for the very first time when she shifted to a house beside mine. Her hair flew in the air and her honey brown eyes shone in the bright sunlight. I was only eight years old and to this day, I’ve never seen anyone as beautiful as her. I was in awe of her beauty. I’m sure, God made her with me in His mind. She was like a living breathing doll and me, a paradox, with hollow cheekbones and short hair. We were so different from each other. But as the saying goes, opposites attract. I peeked at her through the window. She noticed me and waved her hands. The moment she smiled at me, I knew my life was never going to be the same again. I smiled back at her shyly. Rose was her name.
Rose was like a book. Soft and tender on the outside with thousands of stories about love, life, and heartbreak inside of her.
She carried a hurricane within her wherever she went. At least, that’s what she said when he left her.
He. How could he break the heart of someone as precious as her?
If she’d given her heart to me, I’d protect it from any harm, pain or distress that may come her way. He broke her heart and I swear to God at that moment, the rage that I felt was unbearable. I could’ve torn the sky apart, separated the two seas and destroyed the land in which we walk if I could. But I am only human and I am only capable of comforting her as she’d sob uncontrollably with her head on my shoulder silently whispering with a voice as broken as a sad song, “he broke my heart!” and I’d reply with an “it’s okay”.
She doesn’t know, she breaks my heart too.
We lay in bed together as I hear her soft breathing beside me. In the darkness, I couldn’t look at her. But I know, she looked pretty even with her eyes closed and her eyes, her eyes were the most beautiful thing about her. I leaned towards her face, taking in the smell of her body and it never failed to make my heart race and palms sweaty. She smelled just like roses. I wrapped my arms around her. As we lay underneath the stars in the darkness and stillness of the night, I questioned God “why do I feel the way that I do? If we’re not meant to be together, why is she the only one I think about? I can’t even kiss or touch someone without thinking about her.” It’s been five years today, but I still haven’t got the answer to this question.
There was only one thing I wished for from the universe and that was if we couldn’t be together then at least don’t take her away from me. I want to be able to stay beside her in happiness and sadness, in sickness and in health, in love and in heartbreak. I want to be able to make sure that the one who comes in her life would never abandon her. But the universe is cruel and so is life. There are some people in our lives whom we think we have a forever with. But we don’t. We don’t know the last time we’re saying goodbye to someone.
She had to move overseas for her higher education and there was nothing I could do about it. We promised each other that no matter how many years go by, we’d still be friends. I kept my promise but she didn’t. And it’s not her fault too.
I wasn’t the one whom she loved.
But I still wrote her letters every day. For the past five years. One day, I just stopped. I knew that if she wanted to talk, she would. They never teach you in school how to grieve the loss of someone you never had. I see Rose everywhere I go. In the museum when I’m admiring a piece of art and in the garden when I see a beautiful flower blooming. I see her in the clouds of a thunderstorm and the rays of the morning sun, they’d remind me of her warm smile and how it melted my heart. I see her in the books she once read in between the lines of her favorite poems. I see her in my morning coffee, it would remind me of her hair. I see her in the twinkling stars at night and in the moon that shines high. There isn’t a place where I don’t see her. There isn’t a moment when I don’t think about her.
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine told me that Rose got married to one of her colleagues. She showed me her wedding day pictures. Rose looked happy.
My Rose looked happy. I went home that night and saw our old pictures. It’s funny how time changed but my feelings remained the same. As the saying goes, there are so many things in life but no such thing as the same love twice.
Today, I will write my very last letter to her.
Life got in the way and both of us went our separate ways. I’m sure you had your reasons for not calling me or even sending a text. I heard you got married and I couldn’t be more happier for you. I just want you to remember one thing and remember it carefully, no matter what happens, there lives a person across the seven seas who’ll do anything for you. We were best friends but I fell in love with you the moment I laid my eyes on you. In a bond, there’s always one person who loves more than the other. In our case, it was me. You probably didn’t even know how I felt about you, so you and I will meet somewhere else perhaps in another life where I’d be yours and you’d be mine so I wouldn’t have to bear the pain of watching you from afar doing all of the things to someone else I wish you’d do to me. And perhaps we’d live in a world where us loving each other wouldn’t be such a crime. I hope, we meet again and that day will be the happiest day for me. I’ll tell you all about the things that have happened to me once you left and how everyone after you seemed so ordinary. I hope we meet again in another life, fall in love and never let each other go so I wouldn’t have to say that you were the one that got away. There’s so much to tell you but I’ll only say this much, you are like a poem I hope to never forget and keep in my heart, forever and always. Until we meet again.
your best friend “