I had him once. He was my best friend, but I was not ready, and ultimately – he was not my love story. I did harm there, and I have been thinking of him since the weekend. We’ll come back to him later. For now, let me write that I’m still not sure when my love story will be written, but I do look forward to being a part of a team with a man who’ll keep me laughing and who’ll let me wake up slowly to the smell of the coffee that he’s brought to bed. I’ve never been one for grand and extravagant overtures of love, but rather have always preferred the small daily kindnesses that signal a lover is thinking of us when we’re not next to them.
My love languages are tied between quality time, and words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, and gift giving, in case you were wondering.
Since the weekend, when she slipped into town, and said this, and though our conversations and subject matters vary wildly, there was a particular theme. Common, and standard, it was the subject of relationships and dating and What is happening there, Maha?
The truth has been rolling around inside of my brain for a while, fleeting, maybe on purpose. I’ve not been ready to sit with it, and so I have simply avoided looking at it unless it forced itself into my line of vision, at which point I immediately punt it as far as possible.
What is it? It’s that I remain far too fragile to engage.
Critical Sidebar: Though this has manifest itself in my romantic world, it is in fact not rooted in harm from past men. Rather, I am made raw by what I see around me; the acts of unkindness and injury committed by humans towards others, the amount of times I watch as so many siphon from those who love them, only to meet the needs of their ego-selves. Really, this fragility is rooted in a heart which wishes so much to see people treat one another with only grace.
Now. Since I have never been a woman who dates casually, I have instead opted to remain as single as possible until I am no longer so easily lacerated. Or until a man who knows how to keep me, in fact keeps me.
Here’s the dilemma – I cannot be in a relationship, because to be in one means that I am engaging a man whom I deem worthy of a relationship. And a man who is worthy of a relationship is a man with whom I wish to be vulnerable, because it is to him that I would like to give a part of this very small heart, while I protect his with the same care and loyalty I expect in return.
To be with someone about whom I really and truly care, is to be even more vulnerable than I feel at present. And this is not something of which I am in fact capable. At least not today, though I am open to rounding a corner and letting this world surprise me. InshAllah.
The alternative is to engage men about whom I could not give a shit; long weekend men who, were the earth to split and swallow them from my life, I might not notice. Because such men cannot hurt me, right? Because it is only those who we value, who possess the power to inflict harm.
And why would I ever let a man touch me if I did not see him as a man who is value-full?
I have never been lonely enough.
I would rather spend my time reading or writing, learning, colouring, thinking, listening to music, roller skating, dancing, cooking, baking, staring at myself in the mirror, reshaping my eyebrows, people-watching, picking at my nail polish, watching youtube videos you have caught the drift which I have just lobbed at you, yes?
So back to him, the one I harmed. He loved me for years, I would find out after he was engaged, from his other best friend, who asked me to step in. Of course I could not. Of course I did not. Maybe if I loved him back the same way? Not even, because again – he was not my love story. But he was the right kind of love for my today-heart. This is a small ode to him, and the men like him; the ones built for safe-keeping and safe-making. You are adored in a world where you are increasingly less the norm. This fragile heart sees and loves you, even if she does not say it too loudly, and only years later.