The one that got away

Today I miss him.

It's days like these I spend with my head in my hands, wondering what could have been if I had been content to just go with the flow; not challenged the status quo; accept a normal, safe-yet-stale existence in the Southeast United States. Staring out my window, at the crescent moon, cradling a single star, hanging just above the distant lights of downtown Cairo, effectively transforming the entire city into one blazing, beautiful mosque, I can't help but wonder "what if?" What if I had been less headstrong? What if he had asked me to stay? What if I said yes? What if he had loved me more? I remember one night, shamelessly drunk and standing before him in my purple formal gown, begging him to tell me to stay- for him, for us. I think he loved me enough to refuse, if only because he didn't love me enough to promise that my choice to stay in America would be worth it.

That moon that I'm looking up at has not even thought about rising in his sky yet. 10 AM in his world, where he is comfortably wrapped in the security of the life he has chosen: safe, logical, familiar. That life seems so far from me now, a distant memory, a shadow, a fog. And here I sit smoking on the roof of a building he has never seen, could never imagine, will never know. Is it possible that we have two such opposite realities now?

Today I miss him.

Today I think of the plans we tried to make together, plans for a life together which seemed unavoidable in its rationality. Now, however, I see we were vainly pulling the ends of fraying, mismatched strings, too far apart to be joined; an exercise in futility. Today I think of the plans that remain: innocent, simple, uncomplicated, unambitious. What if, what if, what if?

I would have stayed if he had asked me. I would not know this building, this moon, this country, this life. A sacrifice I was not asked to make. But what did I end up sacrificing for this building, this moon, this country, this life? This man, this friend, these plans, that future, those possibilities.

Was it worth it?

Yes, I think perhaps it was. This world, my new world, has been beckoning me, silently pulling me towards her for too long; she would not be ignored. She wanted me more than he did. I could never have been content in his world, his safe, predictable existence. I know this.

But today I miss him.

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