It took me a year to make up my mind about his new stance. I finally reached a decision at the start of January 2012, when Mr. Aamir and I bumped into each other again.
My family had traveled to Lahore for my cousin’s wedding. At this point, my relationship with Aamir was a strained one, and our communication had diminished. Because of that, I was surprised to meet him again, albeit accidentally.
He saw me sitting at a café with my young cousin, so he approached and asked to sit with us. Why? I do not know. Maybe he wanted to show that he was a nice guy. In any event, we remained in a light mood and exchanged views about everything except love or the definition of “friendship.” I did not feel anything toward him, as I knew that he would go home and flush me from his memories again.
This was the time when I began telling myself that he was only a friend and that my love for him was definitely one-sided. It gave me pangs of jealousy to think of his beloved, or even any of his other friends. I stopped relying on him for every matter. I stopped unconsciously pushing him toward me, and I stopped asking him about each and every mistake, big or small. I spent a whole year telling myself that I had to act like a good chum only—nothing more, nothing less.
This was probably the hardest task for me—telling myself that my love for him was one-sided. I did not have to repeat past mistakes. I had to move on. However, my mind never accepted this because Aamir had been with me a long time and kept introducing me to his friends as his one-and-only girlfriend. It was enough to build frustration in me.
He had a mysterious mind. When we were alone he called me a friend, but among friends he changed the depth of our relationship.
One day I decided to speak to him about it. I was afraid of his temper, as he had never liked discussing this topic, but I knew I had to ask.
I gathered all my courage.
“Aamir! Who are we?”
“What? What do you want to say? Do you not know who we are?”
“No, I am kind of confused. Please help me.”
“What help? Seems you are going mad over me.”
“No, I am not mad. I just want to clear my mind about our relationship.”
“I told you already and do not want to open up the same old, torn, and worn-out story again. Please give me a break. If you want to be a good friend, be with me; otherwise, please leave me. You already know that I make friends rarely, but once I make them, I do not leave them.”
He was scolding me. Still, I listened to him carefully and promised to keep the relationship clear in the future.
“Girl! What you did…are you crazy? Are you out of your mind? Are you not in your senses?”
This was Anna. She was scolding me like a big sister, but I had no words to say either in favor of or against the matter.
I knew she was right, yet because of her reaction I never again spoke to her about the situation.
During my cousin’s wedding reception all of our family members discussed marriage and relationships. They were counting the number of girls and boys who were still single. Being the eldest, I was on the hit-list.
“When are you getting married, Mariyah?”
“How old have you become?”
“Still did not get a good match?”
“Need matching assistance?”
“Your father is becoming old now; how much would you rely upon him?”
“Should I get you a good match? I know many people who could do that for you.” (This came from my stubborn aunt, who was famous for not leaving a topic alone. From that point on, the moment she saw me, she began asking the same questions.)
Oh gosh! There were questions I could never answer. It was true that I was getting old, that I had not yet taken interest in any other guy, but one question stood out. My father was indeed going to retire soon.
My mind boggled again. What to do? Moving on from Aamir was the only answer.
“If you want to survive, try to avoid him,” I said to myself.
I decided that, for the sake of my future, I couldn’t even remain friends with Aamir. I drank the poison and terminated contact with him.
A month later, my “stubborn aunt” brought a proposal to me. Anna tried to tell me all the positive things about my suitor, and I acted like I was listening, but I wasn’t really understanding. I did not think things through or even take a second look at him. I said yes!
My family was very happy. My aunt was satisfied and my father was overjoyed. They made plans for my dream wedding. I knew that getting married was the right thing to do, yet I felt a sense of displeasure. It was November 2013 and I would be getting married in March 2014.