Tonight is Saturday night and, as custom has it these days, you might be dancing to the latest Dua Lipa hit, on the way to find yourself a new man in the shady corners of a pretentious gay venue. To be fairly honest, chances are this is what you are up to right now, maybe even assisted by some Tinder magic.
However, there’s the remote possibility of you sitting on your bed right now, just like me, looking at that oh-so-French fake chimney of yours and thinking about why would you have a fireplace if it can’t be used at all. Perhaps, and only perhaps, you’re drawing an analogy between unused chimneys and unused hearts whose feelings go down the drain. Chances are this has never occurred to you, though. Sorry, it’s just my imagination.
As the season blinds my judgement with a curtain of brown leaves, I start to distort what the world was like on sunnier days. It’s easier to remember all the tender kisses than the painful negatives those same lips articulated over the months: “There’s no us”, “I don’t want to be your boyfriend”, “I don’t do long distance” …
However explicit you were, our saliva continued its daily commute from your mouth to mine and back. Rabat became an unlikely tennis court, and all that affection made it easy for me and my complicit heart to ignore the deafening warnings you were voicing. I embraced confusion and told myself I would deal with that issue in due time.
I guessed I heard the wake-up call and chose not to mind it too much. Instead, I trusted my gut, that screamed “love will find a way”. It has always done in every single romantic comedy Hollywood has ever produced, why wouldn’t it this time? Well, I underestimated your stubbornness. I overestimated my ability to persuade. As I was to find months later, you were not the type to allow your feelings take over, you had a plan, and no one could join or disrupt it.
Had I known that you were a firmly standing rock, immune to my clumsy ballerina moves I’d have never swiped right. That was what I used to think. But it was of course an outward lie, and I knew it. I’d rather spend a day with you than a thousand without knowing those purple eyes of yours.
“I just want you to know that you get to be weak with me”, I kept on saying. I had read that somewhere on your blog, and although the post was older than dirt, it sneaked into my mind whenever I thought about what we had.
I had little success in this mission. Fragile as you are, you were walled off with the most impressive barricades the world has ever witnessed. I knocked once, twice… countless times. I was polite in the beginning, but became demanding after some weeks. Only silence came from the citadel. A deafening silence.
I don’t know whether the walls themselves are deaf, though. I suspect they are not. I write them letter after letter, WhatsApp after WhatsApp and email after email. I write poems on my diary and exasperate white sheets with my thoughts and feelings. Will I ever get a response? I don’t think so.
“What has this heart gone through? What was it that left it so torn apart that he had to come back wrapped up in such a way?” I wonder. I don’t think I can grasp the magnitude of the earthquake. I don’t think I can understand anything anymore. I only know I want to hold your heart in my hands and sing a lullaby.
Instead, here I am almost one week after I started this purposeless text. I’m alone and lonely in a city that used to be cheerful, trying to pull myself together. I drink coffee and wine by myself, sometimes having conversations in my head with the ghost of you. You might not imagine it, but I’ve already showed you around and you know the story of many of Madrid’s most famous sites. And we’ve slept together some more nights after Amiens, sorry I didn’t ask you for permission, I couldn’t help it.
One morning I recall waking up and going to the toilet in a rush to squeeze the last memories of you from my dreams. I ended up bursting into tears as my semen hit the floor like a tidal wave. Who was I trying to fool? You were far away, dating a guy that reckoned it was more of a priority to ask you whether you ate pork than to get to your heart. I hated him. He could see your face as often as he wanted and even kiss it without having to ask for permission.
Today is not Saturday night anymore. A full week has gone by and I’m still writing about you at a café instead of getting shit done. It’s irresponsible but I can’t focus on anything else than you. My tummy shakes when I put my trousers on if I realise they were a gift from you. I wear your underwear as often as hygiene advices.
I refresh your Tumblr page as if my life depended on it. Same for my email. There’s probably never going to be a notification from an account with Amazigh flavour. But I will probably refresh it till I send a fake email myself. Well, at least this way internship responses don’t go unnoticed.
You still love me now, but you are going to forget your love. You are going to turn the page and I won’t. I can’t help but clinging to what we had because it was almost perfect. Because it is as close to perfection as it has ever been so far. No friend or relative has succeeded at waking me up from my Moroccan fairytale.
It’s getting late. You are slowly erasing love from your heart making it a brand new blank page. You’ll soon be back on your feet but I will remain here. This page doesn’t exist anymore, you are burning it in the flames of your oh-so-French fake chimney. You’ll burn me with the leftovers of our love. I know that you are warning me to jump off the sinking ship. But I can’t.
In this page something weird happens. I can pretend. Here there’s still the taste of your lips. I can still feel the warmth of your heart and caress your tummy. In this fake page I wrote right here, in the most cherished corner of my imagination, I even get to softly bite your nose, something real-life Anouar wouldn’t let me do.
Anouar, Anouar, Anouar. Soon my friends will start to eye roll when I mention your name. I don’t care. I will tell new friends about you and your heart off limits. About your lips. About how tenderly you fucked me. I will tell everyone that after five months since the last time we made love I sometimes daydream about it. When this happens, I only come back to reality when someone snaps his fingers at me.
Everyone says it will heal. But it doesn’t. I’ve always considered Paris as a good choice for my masters, but now all the others seem to be gone. I only feel stronger about you as things settle and I realise this was actually real. It is more and more difficult to try to find the will to turn the page. How do people make it? Perhaps they are dumped by guys who don’t love them. Then it would be easier. Perhaps it’s going to be easier when you finally get over me. Now I can only hear a devil on my left shoulder whispering those two words… “What if?” I try to be strong, I should keep myself from calling you, from bursting into tears when we talk, from expressing what I feel.
I must shut up or you will eventually hate me. And that scares the fuck out of me. I must let you get over me, regardless of my feelings. It’s okay if I drown, but I should drown quietly. That’s how a gentleman behave. I’m no gentleman yet, I know I cheated on you. But I’m trying to be one. I owe you that because of how amazing you are. Because loving someone means letting go of him if he doesn’t wish to be your loved one.
This is so difficult Anouar. I hope you dance to the last Dua Lipa hit and find someone tonight. Someone that makes your walls evaporate and doesn’t ask you whether you eat pork. But also someone that doesn’t try to keep you in a place you no longer wish to be. Please tell me as soon as you find him. Perhaps when you don’t love me any longer it will be easier to turn the page.
Yours fully, sincerely and wholeheartedly