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Sep 2014
To Begin...
There are things I feel that I need to express. Channeling my emotions this way is something I haven't done in a long time. Sometimes, when you feel that no one else understands or cares enough to understand, this is a good place to start.

I am a young, complex, sophisticated woman at a critical junction in her life. I know inside that everything will be okay, no matter what happens. I know that I have to constantly and consistently strive to be better in everything that I do. I know that no one else can make my dreams come true. I am a strong, proud woman.

I wish, that I didn't have to be so strong.

I've learned that the journey matters more than the destination. My boyfriend first told me this about a semester ago, when things were better between us. He was talking about our exercising goals, but I applied it everywhere. I held fast to his words of wisdom, like golden nuggets shifted and separated from dirt that the tide washed in.

He's right, you know. The journey matters more, especially because most people never reach their attempted destination. Sometimes, we half-assedly try. Most of us are too lazy or preoccupied to become successful quite the way we want, although some of us learn to make a compromised form of success. But that is life, you never know what happens next. The moment you begin to think you have it, you lose it. The moment you realize you have nothing, you find something that is beautiful yet unexpected. That is how it started between me and my guy.

Let me begin with our story. I still remember the moment he walked into that second floor Union building, with a somewhat shy, half naive smirk on his face, clumsily trailing behind his best friend Roney. I might have been wearing a sleeveless black top with small pink flowers, but I am not sure anymore. He was wearing over-washed, light blue jeans, black and white converse sneakers, a yellow shirt depicting a marijuana plant, a brown leather wrist bracelet. He had that amused look on his face, as if he was getting paid to be there. From the moment he walked in that door, I decided not to like him.

That day, I was assigned to handle our first "desi" meeting by myself. We had decided to start this impromptu organization, and they all decided I should be President for the obvious reasons. I was everyone's friend, they respected me, and took my advice. In a way, though they were my peers, they saw me as an elder. Although I made immature decisions in my own life, they saw some sort of leader in me, and I could bring people together. I was well liked, pretty, somewhat popular at one point, talkative, and convincing. I used to have a sparkle in my eyes when I talked, and people easily fell in love with me. Somehow my relationship with my ex-boyfriend had drained me totally. I didn't believe anymore, in anything. For the first time in my life, I was unsure of anything and I felt lost.

I wasn't confident, but that day I had to put on a face and pretend I could command a group of unruly, uncooperative south-Asian desi kids. I felt like I was losing control. He walked into the room, and headed for straight for a group of girls, Pooja and Sweety. No luck. Next, he introduced himself to a group of high school Caucasian girls. Maybe a little bit more hope there. At that time, I was so infuriated that this strange newcomer could frustrate my attempts to control the already unruly group, by flirting in the middle of an info session! "Guys--Quiet!!!!!" I remember trying to get their attention.

He remembers this story somewhat similarly. "You were the diva *****, the queen bee, and all your drones fluttering around to do your ***** work," as soon as he says it his mischievous face breaks into a warm, doting smile, and he quickly kisses my forehead. "I'm kidding, Jaan. Well..." I stare up at him, thinking about getting mad, but I also begin to laugh. Amused, he gathers me into his arms and holds me for a minute.

At first, I tried to dislike him for the mere fact that he was PKI, because one had hurt me before. Then one day, that didn't matter anymore-- G was mine. Just when life had begun to lose its appeal, and I didn't know who I was anymore, he walked into my life and breathed freshness into me. We looked perfect, we were perfect together, and we brought out the best in each other.

A winter flashback, before he left for his studies. "T, I don't ever want to lose you.... You are so perfect." We are sitting in his basement, cuddling in a brown, ethnic shawl. There was snow on the ground, that had fallen on the ground previous nights ago. I had assed my last law school exam of my first semester at W, Hakes Property final, so that I could rush into his comforting arms. He always told me that I can succeed. I knew I was smart, but he told me that I had a great head on my shoulders, and I could do the impossible. And eventually I would learn to believe him.

While we slugged our shots of whiskey and whatever else he managed to dig up, and as his older brother drank alone upstairs, we hugged each other, fearing what would happen to us.

The time he first told me he was leaving replayed over and again in my mind. It was earlier that morning when we first woke up. He didn't want to tell me the first night. "Did you cheat on me?" I had asked him, knowing he didn't. "No, T, never to you I would do that. You mean too much to me." "Well, do you have cancer?" "I wish, that would be easier to deal with." "Are you leaving the country-- flying to Pakistan and living there?," I laughed as I asked that last question, because it was impossible. "Nooo," he laughed with me, looking down. We had this same conversation on the phone every night he called me. "Well?" I waited for an answer. "Jaan, I will tell you in the morning. Tonight, you are all mine, just have faith in me."

The next morning he kissed me awake and held on to me as the sun rose. "Tell me." Fifteen minutes later, I burst into tears. As water endlessly gushed from my eyes and I blew my nose into his shirt, he quietly held me tight. It was that moment, I realized how much he really meant to me, and I to him. My feelings shocked me, but it pleased and pleasantly surprised him. For a few minutes, he teared up too before regaining his manly composure. "Jaan, we can get through this. We are strong. Nothing can come between us, and definatley not this. Just think of it as study abroad." I nodded and blinked back tears as he held me tightly to his chest. We laid there for most of the day, before going downstairs to dramatically drown our cute sorrows in the empty calories of alcohol.

Sometimes I replay these moments in my head, wondering what happened between us. Doesn't he like me anymore the way he used to? What happened to my G, the one who made me feel so happy and free. I wonder why he doesn't call. I wonder why he doesn't respond to my texts, or think about me. I wonder why he doesn't want to know how my week went, and how he doesn't listen to me anymore.

I think about asking him. Then I remember my futile attempts over the past summer, and him telling me I care too much about the semantics of our relationship, and that I am being too dramatic. I know for a fact that I am not being dramatic, but I stay quiet because I don't want to chase him away. I know I am not like other women. I am strong. No other women can put up with my man, because they could never be as strong minded and confident as me. Sometimes, I wish I wasn't so strong.

...The beautiful dream I once saw, etched in silver, on a quiet beach fades away the faster I walk towards it. As I finally catch up to it and open my hand, I realize I am holding only to plain, brown sand. I wish I could just know. I wish I could ask him what he wanted, why he quietly slips away like sand slips through the cracks in one's fingers. What happened to the glittering silver dreams, that danced and teased me on the shoreline? I wonder if I had imagined it all along, but I know better. I know somehow, somewhere in the distance, in a parallel dimension, it exists-- my beautiful silver dream. I can almost reach my hand out, and just grab it-- but I can't see it.

I still care about him, more than he would ever know. I would do anything for him, and always be there for him. I want to know why he is emotionally distant, whether he still has feelings for me, or if he is trying to force feelings for me. He knows I am strong. He knows no matter how badly I hurt inside, I won't ever show it. I will hold my head up high, and smile as confidently as the day he met me. I wish he could know that he means the world to me. I wish he could tell me how he felt- even if it hurt me, I would prefer the truth. I wish he would have enough courage to talk to me.

I am afraid that if things go unsaid, one day we will never talk again. I want to grab him, shake him, and ask him, "Has everything changed for you, or should I leave?" I want him to know that I would never judge him, after all he will always be mine in a way. I want him to know that I can handle it, and whether as a good friend or an enchanting mystery that exists in a parallel dimension, I will always be in his life, if he wants me there.

I want him to know that if he doesn't want me in his life, I will quietly leave forever- like a dream once dreamt that never came true. Because I care about him -Β Β for him I will be strong. I want to ask. But I am afraid to speak.
Written in late 2011.
Tanvi Bird
Written by
Tanvi Bird
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