The Space Between Us
Samia Nur Chowdbury
© Copyright 2022 by Samia Nu Chowdbury
Photo by form PxHere
I have always found it easier to narrate stories of heartache, usually because I can channel the raw emotions felt during the time to the miniscule of moments and give life to words, capturing the exact instance that I fell. Along the horizons of one’s lifeline, they meet all sorts of people- the ones that end up in their last chapters, the ones that the protagonist cannot wait to get rid of and the ones that got away, no matter how much you wanted them to stay. He fell in the third category; I knew that to me, he was the one that got away, but to him, I was a mere passerby, the vulnerability of a fleeting moment. To this day, I have difficulty pointing fingers at him and holding him accountable for the unforgiveable blunders because deep down, I had wanted things to be set right and convinced myself that maybe, just maybe, he was the right person stuck in the tricks of fate’s wrong timing. Did I resent him for using my emotions and vulnerability to his advantage? Certainly. Did I resent him enough to let him go? Not in a thousand lifetimes.
I have been a victim of dilemma since the day I opened my eyes to this world’s daylight. In my childhood it had been a game of choosing between banana fudge and coffee caramel, but with passing years, the older I got, the more complex the set of choices presented became. I was stuck in a loop of discarding tulip petals, chanting ‘He loves me, he loves me not’ over and over again until I had hallucinated a million ways the situation-ship could end. His mixed signals had left my brain to become nothing but mere mush, a clump of non-functioning brain cells and courtroom debates that went on for hours on end, coming to no absolute conclusion although it was embedded in my mind, that things like this do not end well, and that things like ‘us’ do not have what we call, a happy ending.
The painfully humorous thing about mixed signals is that it is not fully green, screaming in bold to go for it, neither is it complete and utter scarlet, consumed in pleas to stop. It is flickering, a state on confusion, intoxicating enough to make one tread the brink of sanity, wondering whether it is a love destined to work out or just a waste of hours and tears. I have waited and stared relentlessly, trying to compel the lights to stop flickering and stabilize so that I can make up my mind, for I am not one who wants to wake up with regrets 10 years down the road, this taunting signboard glaring above me in reminder that the reason of my loneliness is no one, but myself. The regret of missed opportunities weigh more than the regret of lost time, making me chase the outcomes not meant to be, blindfolding me so I can no longer see in clarity.
him, it was never being able to fall in love without the fear of
losing. Much of the time spent after every interaction I had with
him, was my mind twisting and turning, creating situations that were
yet to happen and calculating every possible outcome that would end
with me having a heart broken beyond the realm of repair, losing the
gift of loving selflessly and freely. I would often picture scenarios
where he would one day sit me down, a caffeine glazed donut sitting
at the empty space between us, trying to fill up the hollowness
submerging all the untold secrets. Keeping this donut, my favorite of
desserts, as witness, he confesses how he likes this girl who is two
years younger than him and thinks she is the one, continuing to ask
me what I had wanted to tell him. I would have to tell him that the
donuts lured me into meeting him as a joke and forever hold the
secret concealed, as it had been for over a year. Later in life when
I would walk past a donut shop in the bustling streets of Florence or
have guests over during dinner, the sight of donuts staring at me as
soon as the packet would be opened, would always remind me of the day
my heart was shattered into fragments, the mere view making bile rush
up my stomach, because there once was someone I had loved and lost,
the only proof of that love being a donut that
had sat between us and watched my tear-stained cheeks forcing a grin. What’s worse than a broken heart? A broken heart, that cannot bear to look at the special donut that once healed it.
He always made me feel as though I would be there with him for the rest of our breathing days, sometimes he would hint that he wanted me as a partner, other times, he would want me to be that special guest at his wedding. His wedding. My mind would picture a golden italic engraved card, the heavy scent of attar tainting it, interrupting my Tuesday mail- an invitation to the wedding of the guy whose bride I had dreamt of becoming. The thought of sitting on an uncomfortable community center chair in a burgundy lehenga, picking onto the sweets in the tangerine tainted rice while I hate him and his wife, the woman who has done nothing but create home in a place that I had wanted to grasp onto, sends shivers down my back. Even now, a year and a half later, the dreading thought nags me although I have moved past and changed continents. I had known no other way but to run, fly across countries and graze my lips to a dozen more in order to convince myself that I was over it, over him, over an unrequited love that was slowly but surely suffocating me. I did not know why I try to force love in places where love is not meant to be. There was a lot of things that was beyond my comprehension, my heart is, but one of them.
19/08/2021. I left for a new life, a new shot at being happy and maybe even loved. A life where I had promised to cut off the one who brought out the heartbroken poet in me but after 10 minutes of having left the airport, I found myself getting the Wi-Fi password and texting him, “Hey, I reached. Going to go quarantine now for 14 days”, the habit of glancing at my phone in the hopes of a vibration from Messenger still instilled in me. My new life started and alongside, the record of every tiny detail that was incorporated in my day was narrated to him, the phone calls getting longer and more frequent. I might have left him back almost 6835 miles away, but my heart still belonged to him. December rolled by, the promiscuous nature of my life was evident by my sleep schedules and company, but as soon as the intoxication wore off and the sun would show up, my loneliness led me back to him. The light pathways coated with snow turned into blizzards, Christmas getting so near that the ringing was almost audible. Through the holidays, I was relentless on an endeavor to start my upcoming year anew, archiving and secretly checking text notifications every hour. Like cigarettes are to a chain-smoker, he was the nicotine that made my bloodstream surge in anticipation and excitement, even the tiny bit of craving for pain. The countdown for New Year began and I had my phone clasped in my hand, it was awaiting one last conversation before the addiction that drew me to him, stopped. My phone tinged- he was talking about this girl he loves and how he was heartbroken because she wants to stop whatever they have, making it crystal clear that the game of tiptoeing that circulated around love, was never about me. My wishes had dilapidated into a saying that reverberated all around me, “Out of seven billion beating hearts, why did I fall for the one that didn’t beat for me?”
It is August now, half a year since I have escaped the shackles that I had constructed for myself, since closure. But I have made it a vow to write about him, because although my heart no longer remains his, the parts of it that he bruised heals with the stories that he left behind. The stories of heartbreak and pain and recovery. It is a reminder that love comes naturally; it can never be forced or pursued if it does not appear on its own, and a nudge that sometimes things do not go the way we plan them to, but it is important to realize that life does not end where our dreams end. As long as there is hope, there are new beginnings.
Somedays I remember him and look back at the person I was before him. Somedays I forget about him completely. Somedays I can even imagine a future with someone else. It’s slow, but it is progress. We are the masters of our own fate and if you choose to be happy, there is no one in this entire world who can keep you from that.