Dangerous mirrors

July 12th, 2004 by

I remember the last time I saw her. Starving, we had gone out to Subway to grab a bite to eat or to walk, I can’t remember which. It was to take a break from all the studying, the coding, the projects, the deadlines. I remember why I cared about school that time. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. I did it too, almost though. I swear.

My roommate wanted to bring her along. I didn’t care for the world at that time, having just made the life altering decision to be muslim. I just wanted to have dinner and I hate eating alone though I’m amazing company even to myself. She was utterly and absolutely fascinated with me. This I slowly realized when I was digging out change at the payphone and she stopped by to say what a lovely time she had had. We did have a lovely time, despite a crappy half wet apartment and take away food from the local desi restuarant; it was her first time eating pakistani cuisine. She hung around for a few seconds uncertainly and I didn’t notice; the change in my pocket was now getting hard to find but I solidly believed it existed.

I remember how shocked she was when I told her all the stories that I had told her, all of them true, didn’t you know, they were all about you. I remember her wide eyes, her absolutely blank startled face, her light pink lips parted slightly as she tried to put into order her world once again. Her body snatched to basic life support, legs working independantly, arms barely moving to keep to their last position of balance. Balance.

I had read her too well and few authors like their work read back to them. Partially because no-one can capture their passion, their tone for it. Partially because they don’t think anybody would truely and absolutely get it.
I got most of it. And gave it back.

I never saw her again, though we did exchange emails a few years later. The impact of truth had erupted too close to her, the blast radius forcing her to tumble down to a basement of solitude. And protection. The emails themselves had little content to it. It was a formal courtesy to each other, given that I was quite shaken up with an accident in the family. Her words were guarded and I remember smiling sadly at them. We had just started our interfaith-discussion and now I could never continue.

Meeting new people can be like that.
Like finding dangerous mirrors on walls you walk past.

3 Responses to “Dangerous mirrors”

  1. Faiza Says:

    Hey Waleed,

    Yeah, I just dropped by to say hey, so yeah… hey! =) What’re you up to these days? Still in the Mid-East?

    When’re you headed to Toronto?

  2. Anju Says:

    so if the fourteenYears stories AREN’t you, this one IS you, correct? It’s not filed under “fiction,” after all.

  3. Waleed Says:

    Faiza: I’m ok. Working here in the Middle East, and trying to land a bigger job as a professor in the making. Let’s see.

    Anju: Yes, this one is me. I met someone for two weeks once and she left a lasting impression.

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