Based on true events.

How long does it take to recover from a heartache? Experts say, it usually won’t take longer than three weeks to get over an ‘ex’ and roughly about two years to compensate a broken marriage. Unless you are blindsided by the relationship or the loss of it. The ruthless truth behind this is, you can either work it out or walk it out. Others simply would not understand. 

I picked my first husband, God picked my second husband.

This Dolce & Gabbana the one is Devine. I might even empty the bottle this evening. God save me, with these imperfect eyeshadows. ‘Honey, this is not the first date’ I refuted myself. The bright yellow skies, hit my silky white curtains, permeating the entire room, leaving it with a heavenly sight. I sometimes sit blankly, with my thoughts stuck up onto something, a burning desire to take back my current life and its perfection to the past. The skies haven’t changed at this time, neither has its yellow lambent. This is where I used to be. With my favourite Paulo Coelho book, seeking answers to my nonorthodox yearnings. Years of coffee gone cold and many shattered mugs. It happens to me a lot. My reminiscence of the wartime. The battle against my own self.

“Date night, Hana?” Rifa was looking at me from her cubicle with her usual whimsical expression, judging me over my awkward simpers at the mobile screen. I rolled my eyes, “He’s in town” I turned back to the sleepy monitor, hiding a diffident smile under my lips. I knew I had to leave early today, I thought. I have strong feelings for him. This man could put any gentleman to shame. Or am I dreaming?

The glistening yellow has now turned further bright and I am almost ready to take someone’s breath away. Figuratively. I looked in the mirror, and did I find the vivid silhouette that’s been shaking up my life romantically, recently. He likes a little dramatic play every time. Making every time as our first time. “Heavens, the one I married?” My feet felt lighter whenever he was around. He pushes me into a deep slide of teenage nostalgia. I don’t blame him. Every woman deserves a man, that is happy to see her every single time like it is just the first ever.  

Once in a while, right in the middle of a mess, love gives us a fairytale. The God’s choice of a second chance.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Though it happened a year ago. Those were the days, I have been in and out of hell, on the verge by the end. I spent my days in a cage, with no reasons to get up. The days I wished the walls could talk to me. The days, I am desperately trying to let go. I learnt something very important then. It is not people who lose their hopes and the faith in moving forward. It is the society that is constrained to every situation, that suppresses you like you are in an axis of sharp knives. You are being watched. When you realise you don’t need an armour to get away, or weapons to fight such battles, this world will seem bigger. You have places to go. All it takes is a little bit of courage. To yell that ‘F’ word out to the world. Yes, ‘Freedom’.     

I have somehow worked to reduce the hours I invested at home. The library has always been my getaway. I haven’t thought about it. But I am sure, I have breathed an inordinate amount of time in here. I would call it my second home. I walked up to the fiction without a second thought, should I say I was excited to see my favourite book back on the shelf. I picked it up with love, like a kid that was gifted with its favourite sweet. I have read many Paulo Coelho books, but this one particularly puts me into a concussion and wakes me back from it. ‘Veronika Decides to Die’.

‘You could have saved much more if you had paid for the book in the first place’ the friendly librarian always bantered. I never answered her but smiled. We don’t value something that sticks up to us, stays within the arm-reach and could possibly give you dominance over it, that you own it. I didn’t want ‘Veronika’ to just end up in a pile of my old books. Even though I have gone through the same pages a hundred times, I felt the chill in my spine, like a future enriched with peace waiting for me, by each word I followed. But this time it was different. The seventieth page told me that a scavenger is looking out for this unworthy living piece. The average men, assuming they get what they want. Do they think, that ‘No’ cannot be an answer to their question? Women do not owe them anything. For good or bad. There I found a bookmark of emojis, and it read, ‘You are not alone’. The borrower’s history at the back of the cover has had my name continuously for the past four months. Except for the previous turn. It read ‘M. Ridan’.  

“They are beautiful,” I said as I accepted the flowers he offered. “Oh you should see you” with his neat smile, he extended. I love the fact that I belong to this man. A sudden gush of love flowed through my arteries. “I want to marry you a million times” he had written that to me once. In a secret note inside a Nora Roberts book. “The reservation is at seven. Should I make it eight?” He leaned against the wall like he was admiring the Da Vinci in the Louvre. 

It became a habit; giving ‘Veronika’ reasons to live. Passing book references as notes and it seemed out of ordinary. But this time it read ‘the guardian shall stand, with a spark’. I didn’t have to think much on that. The Guardian, by Nicholas Sparks. I rushed past the aisle to where I found all the Nicholas Sparks books. Is someone watching me? Am I being played? With those reluctant thoughts in my head, I flipped through its pages. Another green, sticky note, reading ‘Patterson’s Imaginary friend’. Hint to another book. I could have totally Googled for it. But somewhere deep in my mind, it echoed, ‘Play along’. 

I knew it had got to be within the fiction genre. I worked my legs back and forth around the four immense shelves. ‘Richard Patterson, James Patterson and David Patterson’ About twelve books to go through the synopsises of. For a second, I read that out loud. ‘She does have one friend – a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael-but only she can see him’. Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson. Without wasting more time, I looked for an obvious note inside. ‘Can Gebbia put the wood and the daylight together?’ I laughed yet admired the smart move. Thank God, it is either John Gebbia or Philip Gebbia. “Of course,” I thought. ‘Together, Wood, Four-Thirty, and a host of colourful characters weave a spicy tale of loss and the search for redemption’. Bravo, whoever you are Mr. Ridan. ‘Some Time Around Four-Thirty by Philip P. Gebbia. But it was not the end actually, the note inside of it said ‘Recall’. It took me a decent five minutes to understand all. ‘The Guardian, Sundays At Tiffany’s, Some Time Around Four Thirty’. A date.

He walks a foot up front, shadowing me and leading me at the same time. I wouldn’t take my eyes off him. I forget to, at times. Guiding me to the front seat gently, without losing that handsome smile off his face, he gets on to the driving seat. “Any change of plans, Nadia?” He turns back to my two daughters, gorgeously dressed in white. “Uncle. But Nada said, She wants to watch Boss Baby.” She giggled, winking at her little sister. “We will definitely watch Boss Baby after dinner.” He looked at me reassuring. There’s much more to him that I know of and I could possibly put into words.  

I knew, my book can now put to rest, with ‘The End’. 

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

There are no flaws in this evening. The restaurant’s ambiance is relaxed, with dimmed lights,  unnerving music and a settling floral decor. Perfect for a date and also for a family gathering. Quite an artist when it comes to romance, Mr. Ridan. We dived into a perfect propulsion, we stared into each other’s eyes, not speaking a single word. Until, the very moment, Nada jumped off her seat, almost screaming ‘Dad’. She ran past me and towards the entrance of the building. “Nada” I called, she wouldn’t stop and I saw Nadia too, following her. Both the girls reached the man I once knew. Then our eyes synced, in bewilderedness and an uncomfortable hesitancy. I happen to meet Jawad often. He sometimes takes the kids on outings and I never interfered in their father-daughter bonding. Ridan knew that too. But never when Ridan was aside. I turned to look at Ridan and I saw an equal amount of shock and bafflement in his face. “Reema” he mouthed. I shifted my sight back to my daughters. And to my surprise, I witnessed a lady by Jawad’s side, gazing upon us, and particularly at Ridan. “That’s my ex-wife” he whispered.