15 years after the wedding…
It is that same time of the year. I’m on my way on the road, this time going away for a project, meeting deadlines, juggling life. Between I must stop, pick up my daughter and drop her from daycare to her mother, who’s back home. It’s snowing again, and it seems decades that I met Madiha for the first time. Everything changed after that, my perspective of life, the way I handled situations, everything. I remember that time I wasn’t sure if someone could love someone so fast, but with time, I realized we could. I could. Sometimes it takes a second. Really.
I remember waiting desperately for the wedding to begin. It seemed months, years away. I remember how I dressed, and like a teenage girl, checked reflection once and again and over again to make sure I looked presentable. I counted the minutes. Breathing was shallow. Nervousness at its peak.
At one point I remember wondering if it was all a dream, maybe I had made up that encounter. I was too tired to have done it. Not that I had ever done it before, but you know, I wondered.
I smiled into my review mirror, smiled at my innocence. I was 24 at that time. And I thought I knew everything. Only the years (and the age) would bring clearer perspective, I did not know.
Yes, if anyone would ask me, I am happily married. To the love of my life. I am committed, and things are great.
We’ve picked up daughter number three and on our way back home, me and the little one talk about all the things from what she did that day to what her friends taught her (always more important than the teachers) and my mind is elsewhere today, because this evening was so much like the time we first met.
Finally, we had all gone to the hall, I had taken my own car because I couldn’t stand the chaos. It had been beautifully done, I remember thinking, surprised because these things hardly seemed important to me. I remember waiting. Oh, the wait. Finally, I saw her, just as she was entering the hall.
We’re back home.
“Hi” I say to my eldest daughter, who opens the door. “We’re back! I’m just gonna go run some errands, can you look after your sister? “
She rolls her eyes and sighs loudly as if I’ve given her the most difficult task ever.
Okay then. I quickly kiss both the girls and head out.
“Bye daddy!” My preschooler cries, waving vigorously. Her hair is so bright, and so shiny, and I feel a burst of happiness looking at her.
Her mom, (back from the shower I presume) had joined her in the balcony, and both were waving like mad women and I smiled at them, God I loved them so much.
“Bye baby! Bye Ella!” I yell back, waving as well.
I remember vividly waiting at the entrance, pretending to be so casual (yet a very Romeo styled majnu), pretend- talking to people I barely know, to pass the time. Most of the people had arrived, but she wasn’t among them (I know because, great stalking habit AF) and desperately I thought, ‘ab tou khana bhi lagne wala hoga’. The first time in life, though, I wasn’t hungry. Suddenly, my phone rings. I sigh and fish it out, only to find it’s my mum. Trust her to call her on crucial times like these, including last 10 minutes of the basketball/ football/ any kind of sport I’m interested in.
“Ahmed? Beta you didn’t call!!! I wanted to talk to Seema! I told you to call me! Where were you the entire day?”
Not burying sujji ka halva I thought.
“Sorry mum. Ek tou I think you expect too much from me. Isn’t it enough that I’m here? Seriously. I’m your walking / talking telegram. Everything you needed to say you’ve already said through me, the guy who doesn’t know anybody. Isn’t that enough?”
Ok, I nervous-talk when I am…. well…. nervous. Mum doesn’t get a clue
“Ohooooo, still, I do have to talk to her, you know. You know it’s important to…”
Her voice fades off, though I know she’s still talking, I can hear her somewhere in the background, because : Madiha has arrived.
I never understood till date how I was afraid I would miss her, how could I miss her, when she stands out in the crowd. She’s wearing light blue (sea green, turquoise etc etc), her long hair is all tied up in a bun. She’s among friends (or family, how would I know) she’s probably holding her best friend’s hand, because they don’t resemble. She’s looking beautiful, but I knew she’d look amazing, that’s not what shocks me.
As she passes by me, our eyes meet, my heart races off and I see a flash of recognition in her eyes. She stares for a bit, then smiles, put her finger on her lips “shhhh “ she whispers, smiling.
And then she’s gone.
“ ….. helllooooo? Are you still there? Where are you? AHMED? “
“Sorry mum” I come back to the world, holding my phone
“where did you go?”
“Sorry I put you on hold” I sigh. “The bride just walked in”
They say you love once, that’s not true.
I know I fell for her the moment I saw her, there was chemistry, at least for me. In all those years, her memories haven’t faded away. I’ll always remember her as the girl who took my heart away…. for the first time ever.
That being said, if anyone of you are wondering if I’m leading a sad, disloyal life, then no. Sure, she was someone important, but those days are past us. I love my wife. I actually met her at a crowded seminar, she was the most annoying person present there. Her car broke down on her way back home, and everybody suggested I take her with me, since we were going the same way.
Worst 40 minutes of my life.
But after that things got so much better, so I guess it’s all good. inserts wink (more on how I met your mother story later, pun intended)
Ironically, our youngest is called Madiha. And no, I didn’t suggest it/ neither does the name remind me of her. Madiha the lady with the halva was from another dimension. My Madiha is the apple of my eye, a crazy, accident prone, hyperactive toddler who doesn’t sit still for one half boiled egg (I.e 5 minutes) lol. How I met my wife is exactly the opposite of how I met Madiha, and it is probably why our relationship flourishes.
Needless to say, we’re very happy.
Something’s just happen sometimes, you know, they teach us stuff, but they are not there to stay. That’s how it was with us.
It will always be a chapter in my book, a chapter I can look back and smile.
~The End ~