It was a clear night with bright moon. The breeze was blowing so gently. It was the end of May; People had just disposed of the chilly days and the sedentary lifestyle the rainy season had been imposing.
The beauty of the weather kindled in me a desire for a having a wander to Daliya; The quiet neighborhood I had always wished to dwell in after wedding. Its charm lied in its isolation and its quality of being purely residential since there were neither shops nor markets, which gave it a sheer tranquility and made it the destination and the haven of numerous well-off people; Most had come from big cities like: Rabat, Casablanca, and erected luxurious buildings and occupied them only on vacation, escaping from the hectic life of their industrial home cities.
The wonder I took that day reminded me of my high school days; I used to have a stroll almost every day after school; usually on my own and very rarely with some pals. To be honest, I had always preferred privacy to company, for the first made me contemplate my dreams and ambitions and recollect myself. Whenever I reached Daliya, I would seat myself for a long time on a threshold of an unoccupied house of two floors. Though the house was a bit close to the avenue, the serenity and the peace of mind I felt there were unparalleled. Sitting in front of the house became a part and parcel of my daily ambles that I used to feel furious when I found the threshold taken up by a crew of boys gathering around a faint flame of a candle , gambling. I abhorred them, albeit I knew none in person. I saw only shapes in darkness and I hated those shapes, for they deprived me from enjoying the most crucial part of my walk.
The purpose of the high school strolls was different from today’s. Being a student, my concern had always been to excel in my studies and, hence get closer to my goal, which was getting a decent job. Thus, the purpose of the nocturnal walks had always been motivating myself, gathering my thoughts and reminding myself of my dream. However, the purpose of this wander was to rid myself from the stress and the strains of the job I had always craved for. That’s human nature; we never get content.
The moment I stepped in my preferable neighborhood, a reminiscent sensation ran over me. I looked back at my adolescence days and thought that in spite of the fears, worries and impulses of the phase, it remains a great milestone. I dwelled a lot on my memories and I didn’t recover till I reached the place where I could see the house in front of which I used to hang out. Unexpectedly, it was taken up by a small shape I couldn’t detect what it was. I rubbed my eyes in an endeavor to discern who or what was, but in vain. It was too compact to be identified from a distance. When my acute vision failed to recognize it, I resorted to my reasoning; taken into account the size of the shape; it couldn’t be a dog, I thought. Even if it was in a curled position, the biggest dog would look smaller. The possibility of the figure being a sack of garbage was improbable taking into consideration the quality of the dwellers; so the only possibility remained was a human being who might have discovered the magic of the place.
Indeed, I felt a bubble of rage at the thought just the way I felt towards the gamblers. Along with the fit of fury, I felt an urge of curiosity to know the identity of the intruder. Impatient to wait more, I marched off towards the house. Few seconds later after getting much closer, I discovered that it was a human being, but I could determine neither its sex nor its stage of life, for she/he was putting his/her covered head between his /her legs. Ahead of him I could see some pieces of unknown object glittering. For a second, I reckoned it might be a wonderer, but the thought was soon proven wrong when his identity was exposed by the diffuse lights of a car which passed so fast. He was a boy and he was too dressed-up to be a tramp. He must be in trouble, because only the confused would isolate himself at such this time and in such this place.
I thought for a second that it would be unjust to intrude into his privacy, but I thought again and came to the conclusion that it would be more unjust to leave him like that without even inquiring what was wrong with him. I took the decision of approaching him and walked out to him determinedly. He raised his head at the approaching sound of my footsteps. When our eyes met, I, to my amazement, found out that she was a girl not a boy. She was a teen.
Fearing for scaring her, I hurriedly searched for something with which I could strike a conversation with her and said, after realizing that the glittering bits were of a smashed phone, “You know, cell phones deserve to be smashed, because they sometimes bring undesirable calls”. I paused for a second, waiting for her to say something, but she kept silent and I resumed “you know; I like this place very much. I used to sit here every day. It’s a very calm place indeed. I was planning to sit here and ……………”
“Do you want me to clear up?” she said at last. Her voice was shaking. The shake was not that of fear, but that of pain.
“No, I didn’t mean that. I just wanted to know if you’re experiencing the quietness and the peace of mind I used to feel here when I was your age” I said in a soothing voice.
“Peace of mind, you must be joking. How can one feel peace of mind in such this unfair world?” She said in a deep sad voice. “Unfair world” is a phrase that I had heard only the jobless or the bereaved utter and now I was witnessing a teen producing it with a very serious tone. “What on earth is wrong with her?” I wondered and my curiosity was aroused.
“Well, the world might be unfair sometimes, but if you are surrounded by caring people who love you, life will ……….” Before I finished my speech, she interrupted me threateningly “don’t utter the word “love” please. It doesn’t exist. It exists only in fairy tales”
I paused for a while thinking of what to say, then I said confidently “well, sorry if you have been hurt or let down by someone, but I assure you that love does exist not only in fairy tales, but also in real life”. I paused for a while and continued “for instance, don’t your parents dote on you?”
She sneered at my question and bitterly said “My parents are too busy to dote on me. All they care for is their business. Sometimes a week elapses without meeting them. They aren’t concerned for me at all. How I wish to feel the warmth of my mum’s chest! And you know when I see my peers being picked up from school by their dads, I feel envious and sometimes my eyes mystify and only with difficulty that I choke back tears and …….”
Overwhelmed with emotions, tears rolled down on her cheeks. At that moment, I unconsciously hugged her and started patting on her back and whispered into her ears “don’t worry little girl everything is going to be alright. Your parents love you so much. They work so hard only to secure a bright future for you”.
The period of our hug lasted more than I had expected. I was waiting for her to take herself out of my chest presently, but she kept lying against it so gently as if she was feeling my pulse. Her hunger for affection was so obvious. She was in strict need for someone who could give her long cuddles. This is the case of most of our teenagers.
The situation was so awkward; finding myself hugging a complete stranger was the last thing I could expect that night. I can’t deny that I really sympathized with her and I was ready to do anything to help her although no bond related me to her.
She was completely collapsed and someone had to show her that life was still fine and that the agonizing situation she was in was temporary and she, one day, would look back at it and laugh at herself and would regret having done any thoughtless act and would blame it on the people who were around her and didn’t give a hand. I wished that she would remember that a complete stranger, whom she met by chance, helped her and made her recover her wits.
However, helping her was strictly tied to identifying her problem, which was related to making her confide in me, which was something I was hopeless at. Being an aloof man, people had always found it difficult to approach me, let alone unburdening themselves to me.
I had to change from being distant into being approachable if I wanted to find out what was wrong with her, or else I wouldn’t be able to help. This became a challenge and a short-term goal which I set my mind on and had to accomplish.
I knew that dealing with teens wasn’t something within the reach of everyone. They are too sensitive and they think that talking about their problems is a sign of weakness. They also take too much time to trust. But, I had to know what made her leave home fearlessly at night and risk isolating herself in such that setting.
Feeling determined, I held her by her slender shoulders and pushed her back gently, saying “you know, when I was your age I fell blindly in love with a girl whose name was “Sara”. She was beautiful, hard-working and very decent. She was the envy of all the boys in my high school. This irritated me and made me became very jealous, hence holding grudge for anyone who talked to her or even approached her”
I paused to see if she was showing any interest or no. To my surprise, I felt that she was very intrigued and wanted to hear more. Then, I resumed “I was a lover from distance. In other words, I was a secret lover who was too diffident to express his love”. Her eyes glittered with interest, which made me carry on talking “I used to talk to Sara almost every day, but she failed to notice that I was carrying the torch for her. We spoke almost about everything except about our feelings towards one another. I was deadly sure that she was in love with me but maybe only as a friend.”
After uttering the word friend, I let out a heavy sigh and a sad feeling came over me, but I managed to suppress it and resumed.
“Then, what happened later? Did you reveal your feelings to her or did she find out herself?” She eagerly inquired.
“My love for her was great, but my respect for her was greater. I tried to make her understand in many ways, but all my attempts went to naught. She continued deeming me and treating me as one of her best friends, totally unaware that she was the whole world for me. I tried to deal with the situation, but it got more complicated. Finally, I decided to break up “
“Did you break up with her without letting her know that you were in love with her?” The girl interjected.
“If love isn’t mutual, it would be much better to be left unexpressed; otherwise it would lose its purity and its meaning. I’m still carrying her love in my heart. It’s a sweet memory. It was very difficult for me to separate love from possession at the beginning, but as time went by, I gradually started convincing myself that everyone has the full right to choose the person they want to be with. And if you fall for a person who doesn’t love you back, it’s neither your fault nor his or hers.
So, we don’t have to blame neither ourselves nor the other part for something that none can control. I love Sara unconditionally and I’m sure she failed to notice that I was in love with her because she didn’t see in me the guy she wanted to spend her life with. Anyway, I’m really happy because she’s living her life happily and the way she wants. Love is a noble feeling; it is supposed to be void of all forms of negative emotions such as: hatred, jealousy, vengeance … if you love, your love must be unconditioned. Some people say “I love him/her, if he/she loves me back”. I won’t call this love because it is conditioned (“if”). Other people become depressed when they aren’t loved back. This love is conditioned too. Still others who kill themselves when abandoned by their lovers. I think life is too precious to be wasted impulsively. God has given us the gift of life. So, we have to take care of it .
Love is a natural feeling which comes spontaneously and without our permission. So, for me, REAL love does not necessarily entail being loved back. If you really love him/her, all you should wish after is seeing him/her happy even from a distance.” The moment I paused, I looked straight into her eyes which, to my bewilderment, were filled with tears.
“You know Mr. This is one of the most touching definitions of love I have ever heard. Everything you said about love is right. It’s a noble feeling that shouldn’t be mixed with negative emotions. You have totally changed my view towards the world. You know why I’m hanging out here” she paused and started searching in her jeans pockets, and then she took out something between her index and thumb and hang out her hand in my direction. I spread out mine too and felt for what she was grabbing. I gripped something that was too small and soft. I exposed it to light to know its identity. It was a pill.
“Why are you carrying this pill?” I inquired interestingly.
“It’s a suicide pill. I was planning to put an end to my life. I was only waiting for people to stop passing by, because I didn’t want to be taken to the hospital, hence saved. God has sent you like an angel to open my eyes. Now, I have really changed my idea about love. I thought love is possession. I thought that if the person you love doesn’t love you back, it’s better to die. I have been abandoned by my boyfriend. I really loved him that I couldn’t think straight after I was deserted. I needed someone to talk to, but I don’t trust anyone. I believe that If you confide your secrets to a person, be sure that he would use them as a weapon the first time you fight with him. That’s why, I keep my secrets to myself. I’m very grateful to everything you have done for me. Yes, life is too precious to be wasted thoughtlessly. “She said the last sentence very determinedly and stood up. We bad farewell and dispersed.
Indeed, I felt an unparalleled sensation of pride of both what I did and heard. I felt that I succeeded at achieving the goal I had set my mind to. I also felt a huge surge of relief after unloading my feelings after years of pent-up. However, a bad feeling soon came over me at the thought that there might be other young lives on the verge of being wasted.