By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, April 28, 2012
I am not a misogynist. Writers, poets, psychologists and many others have already described women and girls as shadows that run away the moment we men follow them and then follow us the minute we run away. This, at the end of the day, is human nature over which we have no control. Needless to say, there are very few exceptions that prove the rule. What has really motivated me to put pen to paper over this is incessantly hearing complaints from an close friend of mine who has fallen passionately in love with his cousin, a gorgeous girl that always runs away whenever my friend is in sight.
This story of unrequited love experienced by this close friend and neighbor, Jamal, isn’t new to us. Perhaps, many of us, including myself, have already gone through it. Yet, what characterizes my friend’s one-sided love for his cousin is that he finds it debilitating to succumb to and forgo the issue once and for all. He has shown me the love-filled messages he sends to his cousin, and the laconic responses he gets from her. “I like you as my brother,” she usually tells Jamal. Regrettably, according to Jamal, this is the heartless statement that continuously breaks his heart and brings him to tears.
There were times when he doubted this romance and thought of changing his romantic advances. He tried bringing her flowers of all sorts; he tried giving her presents on her birthday; he tried inviting her to his parties; he tried telling her the sweetest words and evincing his deeper passion for her soul; he tried convincing her that he is unique; he tried threatening her with the notion of his imminent departure; he tried everything. Still, his mobile phone rings and the message reads, “Thanks a lot for your sacrifices; you’re like my brother; I’m like your sister.” For the umpteenth time, he feels forlorn, dejected, heart-broken and disappointed. In other words, he is now more certain than ever before she is not the girl of his dreams.
For him, his cousin has such high an opinion of herself as clearly manifested in many of her responses. She once informed him that she has no slightest idea what love is, how it tastes, whom should love whom, and who shouldn’t do. Innocent and optimistic, he strives to teach her step by step about these things, hoping that she will one day change her mind and love him in return. Over time, however, he receives more responses full of the usual indifference and unrequited feelings on her part. He then realizes that all his attempts have been met with more failure and disappointment. Sometimes, Jamal tells me that his cousin isn’t worth all this current predicament. At times, she feigned ignorance in love matters. At other times, she blames Jamal for lacking a lively romance and a lovely personality.
Notwithstanding, all his relentless efforts are in vain to try to convince his cousin that he is a man worthy of her love. The responses he has received from that point onward are fraught with more apathy, carelessness, little or no empathy, stubbornness and more resistance to falling under the spell of love. Several ideas strike Jamal’s mind from time to time. One of his ideas was to begin ignoring his cousin for some time to test her interest. But this approach garnered no inquiries or interest from her. Only later did he conclude that the trick didn’t pay off and that he has merely been deluding himself and indulging in suggestions that will regrettably get him nowhere.
Although lacking enough experience, I told him that love never comes by force and that it doesn’t help to quote Celine Dion. I recounted to him similar stories that, unlike his, have led lovers to live together after a long struggle. To calm down his flailing emotions and broken heart, I drew his attention to other youth that daily fall prey to the same, poignant destiny and to the fact that falling in love is better than never trying. However, love remains blind no matter what I tell him. He still carries on doing the same thing and receiving the same replies that only give him the impression that it is no use trying. Still, he has yet to give up! He even met her parents once and raised the issue of marriage – they didn’t object at all. They told Jamal that it is up to his cousin to judge.
Many days have passed by, heedless of the suffering Jamal has endured inside. We once sat at a cafe over a cup of coffee with two other friends. On the spur of the moment, Jamal strangely raised the issue of his cousin, a nuisance to our usual discussions. Yet, this time, after listening to Jamal’s story of unrequited love, the friend sitting opposite me, a teacher of French, intervened to say that Jamal’s cousin is like a shadow, and to put an end to more suffering, the teacher suggested that Jamal try not to follow the shadow, his cousin, for as long as possible. Surprisingly, more encouraged than ever before, the lovelorn Jamal, at last, made up his mind and no longer followed the shadow, his cousin, for nearly up to two years now. Yesterday, stunned to death, he hastened to me to show me the message he had just received from his cousin. The message reads, “I love you, too.”
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper.
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