It took me 3 days of dodging Nasser's calls for me to final unintentionally bump into him on campus. I didnt even realise I had bumped into him until I was walking off after muttering apologies and he shouted my name. 'Dude, where have you been hiding? did you get my messages' I nodded trying not to hold his gaze. 'oooh.. I get it, youre avoiding me?' I frowned, 'of course not, Ive just been really busy with coursework and classes. I was going to phone you once I gave in this assignment and talk about what you had mentioned' He waved me off 'whatever, I dont mind and I totally understand if you dont want anything to do with the situation. But just give it some thought, give it a chance, you never know.' How could I tell him I didnt want anything to do with the situation? this was his family, he would obviously be upset, maybe even think that I thought I was too good for his family. I didnt want that, I didnt want to alienate the only true friend I had made since moving here and then I started to regret my whole attitude to it all. I would think with a more open mind from now on. 'Hey some of the guys I know have a game of bball tonight, you wanna join in? just some guys from my building, not all students. Around 7pm' he thought for a moment before asking 'will this lessen my chances of having to put up with family for a few hours? count me in!' I laughed and remembered why I liked Nasser. 'Come round to mine for iftar if you want, it wont be as big as your party but we can eat, pray then walk around to the courts. It isnt far,' 'Sure, lemme tell the family' And with that he pulled out his phone and phoned his house, I heard him talking to Sadia and my heart ached.. this was another reason I had been avoiding Nasser, I thought if I avoided him I would forget about her, but it didnt work that way and it was hurting me. I realised that they were separate entities and that I shouldnt give up both for one.. I definately wanted the bond I had formed with him to carry on, I wanted a bond with Sadia too but it just wasnt possible and the realisation of that hit hard.
He came off the phone and we started walking down the street, it was still 5 hours until iftar and I didnt know what his plan was for those hours. 'So whats the plan with you until food?' I asked him slightly hoping that he was busy. He scratched his head and thought for a little while 'I got to pick up some things from work to catch up on while Im off and then I got to take Sadia to some meeting downtown. You wanna come?' I shook my head at the thought of seeing Sadia again, 'Ive still got this assignment to finish remember' glad that I had previously mentioned it to him without wanting to lie. The assignment wasnt due in for another 3 weeks, but I had previously made a decision to get it finished early so was giving myself a deadline for 2 weeks earlier, which was actually coming up quickly. 'Ok, well Ill give you a call when Ive dropped her off,' I nodded my head, 'send her my salams,' I told him as we moved apart before stepping forward to shake his hand. 'Ill catch you later then, you want anything particular?' He shook his head and waved before running off in the direction of his work.
So had I come out better for staying away? not at all and I realised that now. She was still in my thoughts occassionally, and I missed the guy who had become my right wing man. I sat down in the park with my books on my lap and thought, I thought about this girl that Nasser had mentioned last week, I thought about Sadia, about how I saw our relationship if any in the future. Was I prepared to forget about it before it even started? Or was I willing to fight for something that might not even be mutual? After an hour of sitting there, on the same bench I came to a conclusion... I couldnt just let it slip by without fighting for it and if it wasnt mutual at least i would know. I took out my phone and sent 2 text messages.
'Wanna meet up and discuss these meetings soon? Can show you some pictures :) lemme know, Eth'
'Maybe I will sit down with you and talk about this girl you mentioned. I need to occupy my mind, see you later. Dude'
I sat and waited. Im not usually a waiting on messages type of guy but the answer and the response time to these were important. I didnt have to wait long for a response, my phone vibrated and I opened a message from Nasser 'insha'allah Ill talk to the family, you can meet em at my place.. think it would be more comfortable. Speak to u later. Dude' My phone vibrated again as I was reading this message 'Hope youre ok over there, be good and please stay in touch, I worry about you. Lots of love, mum xxx' I smiled at the thought of how long it had taken my mum to write those few words. Then remembered who I was waiting for a message from as I dialed my mums number. I sat there for about half an hour talking to numerous members of my family at my mums house and finally made my mum realise I was ok after Lisa nicely told her about my physical appearance when she had seen me last week which I was grateful for. We said our goodbyes and I promised to phone more often, then I hung up to find 3 messages in my inbox, which I wasnt expecting. The first was Nasser apologising that he would have to cancel iftar and the b game with me cause of family stuff. The second was from Sadia suggesting tomorrow night to meet up at the local coffee house on campus. The third was from Sadia asking if I wanted to come over tonight to get her out of some family stuff. I smiled at the thought of brother and sister, 2 opposite sides to the spectrum and also at the thought of me being her scapegoat. I wrote back to Nasser calling him a wuss and telling him to phone me when hes free, during the time I was writing I got a call from a buddy who lived down the hall from me cancelling the game because of work commitments and study sessions within the group. So then I texted Sadia and told her of my open evening, she immediately wrote back and mentioned she was finished at her meeting in 1hour, did I want to meet her from the highrise? 'dad will feel better if Im walking with someone, esp u!' I agreed with her dad and agreed to meet her from her meeting.
This was it, I told myself, this was going to be the make or break evening. I got the bus home to pick up my camera and a few of the prints I had developed the evening before in the campus dark room.