"Erhm.." I continued, taken aback. I thought I'd recite the only line I had thought of the previous day as the opening statement to this confession "Do you remember the story I gave you?". "Yeah, I still have it" she reassured. I took a pause before continuing "You understood it, right?". She said she did. I repeated the question. "You understood it.....right?". She just repeated her answered. I paused for a few seconds, just looking at her, waiting for something, giving her a confused look.
She finally broke the silence saying "I really did understand it, I know I never said anything about the part you're talking about but I did understand". Perhaps I should have stopped there and gone home. But I didn't.
"Oh" I uttered. I hadn't thought of anything past this point. She gave me an expression that said 'well?'. There was absolutely nothing that was coming to my mind. I finally said "Just...gimme 5 minutes to think". She giggled, once again I assume amused by my honesty and told me to go ahead and think.
I tried, but my efforts were fruitless. I decided I would just get her alone and then I would say whatever came to mind and end this horrible night. Little did I know that I had yet to see the real horror of the night.
I thought I would just ask her to go buy a juice or something. It didn't really matter how cliche or stupid the excuse was, I just wanted to get her alone with me. The words, however, came out wrong. I was supposed to ask her if she wanted to buy something *with* me. Instead however:
"Sarah, is there something you want to buy...with me?"
"...Are you sure?"
"Yes...is there something you want to buy?"
"Yes yes, just..come with me"
She awkwardly got up and walked with me. And thus began a symphony of social awkwardness, incoherent-ness and bad, bad communication. It was also the night I realized I tend to raise my voice when I get nervous.
"Sarah I've..erhm, just wanted to say that, you inspire me"
"And uhm, uhm..that" There was so much I wanted to say, why was none of it coming up???
We arrived at the snacks shop, I was standing unusually close to the stand, perhaps as a means of hiding.
"I've always wanted to tell you that...you're beautiful"
"Could you lower your voice a bit? I think everyone just heard you" She said, taking a step back.
"Alright...sorry..umm, and I wanted to say that, just being around you has given me reason to--"
"Your voice is seriously really loud"
"Do you really wanna buy something?" She said, taking a step back again.
"What? Yeah sure. What was I saying...you know I gave the story to the english teacher" It wasn't the most romantic thing to say, but I was desperate for words.
"What english teacher??" She snapped back. I was referring to the teacher whose class we met in.
"That teacher...was her name?" It was no surprise i couldn't bring up her name either.
"Mrs Nagwa?" She asked
"Do you seriously want to buy something?" She repeated. I thought I should buy something then. I turned for my wallet. I couldn't find it. I must have forgotten it back where we were sitting.
"I..forgot my wallet.." and then came the stupidest thing I had ever said to her "do you have any money?"
She reluctantly got out 5 pounds, saying she didn't have much money with her.
I took it and gazed around, trying to decide what to buy. It took me moments to realize how bad it looked for me to take money from her and buy something I didn't even want.
"Just..here take it" I handed her her money.
"So you don't want to buy something?"
"No I don't want to buy something!" I almost yelled back, frustrated at how she keeps spacing herself away. I motioned for her to come closer.
"No! Why are we standing here so close? I feel like the guy is with us in the conversation!" She said those words with a look that felt like my own sword, sharpening and dug deep into my gut. I couldn't tell why, but her ferocity in that split second almost killed me. I just swallowed whatever dignity I had left and moved away from the shop towards her.
"Did you like the part where I referred to you as Joy?" I asked, trying desperately to remember anything of the volumes I wanted to voice.
"Yeah...it was nice" she said in a tone that sounded unimpressed and an expression that I couldn't really place, but it wasn't good.
"I just wanted you to know that you're like the only girl I know well--"
She interrupted me again, "your voice is seriously really loud. I feel like everyone is listening"
I couldn't take much more.
"I just wanted to say that I loved you." I had no idea why I used the past tense. Pehaps at that moment, her once beautiful face and warmth-emanating body was now impaling me with ruthless spikes that drained all the love away. Or perhaps it was just easier to say that way.
And then came her reply. Her awful, awful reply. It was not rejection, but oh how I wish it was.
"Well..I'm not really good at replying to this stuff.." were the words that were left hanging in the air.
We were silent for a few moments. I couldn't bear to look at her face anymore. A face that shifted so quickly.
"Well..let's just go back" I said.
"Are you sure? There's nothing else you want to say?" She inquired. What was the point? She didn't seem like she wanted to hear anything anyway.
"No, nothing to say, let's just go back"
"Okay.." she replied, reluctantly.
And those were the last words I heard from Sarah for months, despite us being in the same school and sharing many classes together.
I went home that night, and cried. It felt good though. I hadn't cried in years. It was strange. As soon as the tears began to flow, this amazing feeling landed upon me, and as soon as it did, the tears recoiled. They refused to come out again and I was stuck with the this dark, dreadful feeling of worthlessness and self pity.
Those were the last words I said to Sarah, but they weren't the last she said to me. Months later, a few more words emerged from her beautiful lips to me. And those words were:
"Thank you, Omar".