The Caliph Omar said there are three things you cannot retrieve/take back.
A word uttered in an unthoughtful moment of anger
An arrow speared in the wrong direction
and an offered opportunity that you missed...
I like to think that being in my 40's, heading towards my 50's am past these lessons. In many ways, I am. Even in my utmost moments of anger, I think beforehand...
I don't throw arrows unless I am sure I can weather the consequences of my act.
And I weigh opportunities to tell if they are real or not...
In that sense, I can say with a peaceful state of mind that I don't regret any of my acts as per the above definition of "missed opportunities".
Let me get to the crux of the matter now.
I went for a brisk walk this early evening. I would have wanted to sprint/jog instead, but when a physiotherapist friend of mine told me that jogging leads to bladder incontinence later on in life - I thought against it.
But guys, you can go ahead...your bladder will not descend between your knees, unless you have prostate dysfunction, elevated uric acid or just the old boring knee/back problem.
Come on now, we know you got those problems but you hide them - not too well, may I add.
I generally like to remind guys of these truths, because they seem to think themselves immune to change and to the proverbial law of gravity.
Mission accomplished - I think.
Anyway back to my story. Here I was brisk walking with my mp3 which I don't even know how to use, and lo and behold, who do I bump into ? None but S.
I could not believe my lying eyes. Had not seen S. in ages.
I don't know about elevated uric acid but this guy had changed - big time.
- Oh my God S. what are you doing here ?
- What are YOU doing here ? he retorted.
We had forgotten for a moment...
- Let's have coffee, he said.
- Sure. To hell with keeping fit, I thought to myself.
S. had definitely changed. He looked much older. Lost tons of weight. Was very unemployed and very broke - like so many of us.
- So how is your wife ?
- We have parted.
- Sorry to hear that.
- Don't be. Is there anything that has not changed in our lives ?
I tried diverting the subject...
- So tell me how have you been ?
So he went on...told me about where he's at and said "en passant"
- I met the woman of my life.
That got me very excited, I wanted to know all about her. It is most rare to meet the woman or man of your life, so I probed...
- She came here on a holiday. She had re-settled in America. She is an accomplished artist, you know...
- Yes and ?
- She was it. This was the woman for me.
- And ??? Tell me...I urged.
- Then she had to go back, so we parted.
- What the fuck ?! Are you serious ? How could you let her go ? You are crazy.
- She lives abroad...
- So fucking what ?! You, she, arrange to join her or her join you.
- But she is an artist, am just a computer programmer.
I could not believe my ears...
- So bloody what any of you two do - the important thing is it happened. You met the woman of your life and am assuming she feels the same way.
- Yes she does, but...
- For God's sake what but are you on about ???!!!!
- Layla, imagine every time we talk, and it's been over 2 years now, it's like we are back to day 1.
I could not believe my ears...I really could not.
Here was a guy who met a woman, his soul mate and here was a woman who met her's and they were both too scared to make it happen !!!
There was nothing I could say that would ease S.'s fear of true love. Nothing I could say that would shake off his archaic fear, in which he seemed to be frozen for eternity...
We changed subjects and chatted about other things...
I walked slowly back home, feeling quite sad in an osmotic kind of way, repeating to myself Sayyedna Omar's wisdom, as if to absolve myself...