I woke up at 4.55am, to a dark cold room, 10 minutes before my alarm
went off, like I sometimes do. It would’ve been a normal morning. I’d
delay a few more minutes until my alarm went off. Relishing the warmth
from underneath my duvet before slowly heading for the bathroom to
perform my ablution. Delay further, making sure to stretch every minute
as much as I could and see every second through, like a wet soil
soaking up sunlight. And then finally, at about 5.20am I’d walk slowly to
go pray my Subhi prayers.
During my 5 minutes walk to the mosque, I would think about her, about
the last thing she said to me, I’d think about how her head would tilt
back when she laughed, the three dark dots on her forehead that was
visible when she bowed down, which she often did because of how shy
she gets most of the time. The memory of her voice and her words
always made me feel better about anything, and I recall them just so I
can smile at how lucky I was to be hers and have her in my life. I would
think about our future together, how we would spend our days, cook
breakfast together on the weekends, I will be playing my game in the
afternoons and she’d be lying on my chest reading a book or a playing
with her phone. I’d cook her comfort foods on days when she was
moody for no reason, like she usually was or how I would kiss her
everyday on my way to work, regardless of whether we were fighting or
not. I imagined all the ways I would have to improve to make her as
happy as she made me. I pictured my life with her like an artist’s sketch
on a canvass, waiting for the paint to be added and make it permanent.
Those would have been my merry memories, walking me to the mosque
if she hadn’t broken up with me yesterday, with a text no less. As the
cold breeze hit me, the silence grew a little more and the loneliness
started to settle in. It wasn’t from the lack of people in the vicinity or the
darkness that cover my surroundings. It was a deafening silence that
made me feel like I was floating. As I contemplated what her text meant
for the first time in almost 18 hours, where the break up put us, I felt a
knot tighten in my chest, I started to feel the bridge of my nose moisten
and my vision blurry. I realized what was about to happen, what I have
been avoiding, was I even allowed to react like this? What if I was
caught with eyes drenched in tears, how do I explain it? What if I didn’t
have what it takes to make the tears stop? I have read of people
drowning in sorrow in books, was it literal? Could this lurking sadness
consume me completely? Oblivious to these answers, I decided not to
So instead, I forced myself to think about something else. So as I slowly
raise my hand to the ear level, saying Allahu Akbar to start my prayer,
my mind drifted to when we first met. It was at a party about 7 years
It was a birthday party of one our friends, an October party. We were
new in the university then, the end of our 100 level second semester
and exam was round the corner. The party was exclusive to the
celebrant’s friends, so security was tight. We had taken our time to get
ready, my four friends and I, we didn’t want to arrive too early and
because it had been drizzling all evening.
We arrived at the party at around 8.30, I was wearing a white plain tshirt,
a black hoody, 3-quarter khaki shorts and a black reebok sneaker.
When we arrived, the gate was crowded, people shouting, trying to
push their way through the bouncer and loud music blaring in the
background. We showed him our invitation and walked into the front
yard. It was a student hostel, 2 blocks of rooms to the left and right, a
one apartment opposite the gate and the security man’s room to the
right. It was one of the off-campus girls hostels, so boys were not
allowed in on a regular day. Everybody was dancing in the middle of the
house, the Dj was set up at the entrance of the apartment and in one of
the rooms on the right, the hosts were serving drinks and food.
We all split up to say hi to people we knew and mingle. As I turned away
from them, dancing a few feet away from me, there she was smiling,
hopping and swinging her hands in the midst of her friends. She was
wearing dark blue jeans, a red blouse and a black scarf. I froze for a few
seconds staring at her. Her laughter was so sincere and carefree. I had
only been to a few parties by then, so I was still learning how to
approach girls in parties. I am shy most of the time, so I gathered all the
confidence I could muster, checked my breath and adjusted my hoodie.
I couldn’t afford not to talk to her. I walked slowly towards her,
measuring my steps and half way to her we locked eyes. She smiled at
me and continued dancing. I reached her, touched the back of her
arms, slightly, aware of my every move, trying extra hard to keep my
breathing steady and she turned to me smiling. “Hello..Would you like to
dance?” I said smiling. “Hi..sure” she said turning to face me.
We danced for a few minutes at a small distance from each other, I
couldn’t stop staring at her. How she danced, the movement of her lips
as she tried to follow the song. I couldn’t come up with anything to say.
But something funny kept happening. I was taller than she was, her
head stopped around my neck so every time we tried to move closer
our knees would hit each other. Every time it happened, we would both
laugh and just continue dancing from a distance.
She asked if I wanted some cake and I said yes. As she left to bring me
some, someone came to tell me one of my friends got injured and had
to go home. I knew I had to leave, but couldn’t go just yet. I had to wait
for her to come back. I wanted to make sure I would see her again. She
came back a few minutes later. “Hey I’m so sorry but I have to leave.
One of my friends got injured” I said “Oh no problem. I hope he is
alright” She answered.
“Listen so my name is Adam, please what’s your name” I said “I am
Nai’ima” she said smiling.
I was so nervous at that point. I have never picked up a girl before in my
life. So instead of asking for her number, I said “Please I would really
love to see you again sometime, what department are you in?” She
smiled and said “Biochemistry” “It was very nice to meet you”
As I turned to leave, I felt her slightly grab my arm, turned me around
and hugged me. The hug lasted a while to my surprise. I rushed out,
amazed by the girl I had just met and worried about my injured friend at
The prayer had ended. And I was trying to focus on my supplications. I
was determined not to think about any of it. I was not going to let myself
feel anything. I was not about to let myself breaking down completely,
especially not here.
But grief sneaks up on you. Postponing it does not help heal you. And
eventually, I experienced different stages of grief. Each would either
make me reflect on us, how we used to be, how we could’ve been, how
it was going to be or how it was not going to be anymore. At each stage
I risked loosing a part of me, at each turn the pain almost took over me
and my beautiful memories of her started to haunt me. But it was a
journey I had to undertake. It was an experience I couldn’t escape.
Because eventually the pain led me to a new phase in my life.
This is my heart break diary: The biggest turning point in my life
End of part 1