I donít know why I chase after her the way I do. I have always been
a rational person, never a sentimental one yet suddenly my emotions seem
to have overtaken me, leading me where I cannot see. Ever since I saw her
in my French class, my mind has been preoccupied with her. First I was
impressed, impressed by her beauty, elegance, grace and charm, then I became
infatuated. My infatuation quickly turned into an obsession, a secret obsession.
I had never thought of one single thing as long as I did of her; her image
filled my mind throughout the overwhelming majority of my waking hours,
impeding my studying and my peace of mind. Although I had strongly decided
not to tell her about my feelings for various reasons, I often approached
her indirectly as I tried to be around her as often as I could. I
was completely capable of just walking up to her and admitting to her what
I thought, but there were several problems to that. First, that would be
too easy, it would undermine the respect and value I have for the innocence
and sincerity of my feelings towards her, as it would cheapen her as well
as the whole process. To just readily and casually ask a girl out, or to
try to easily start anything of the sort sucks the life out of romanticism.
I would much rather give the process value and weight by thinking of that
step as a big deal rather than just a daily routine. Second, if it turned
out she wasnít available or interested then I would have destroyed the
possibility of even becoming just a friend for she would then always be
uncomfortably conscious of me. Third, I would place her at the face of
the canon too quickly, she would have no choice but to dismiss me politely
for she would not know a thing about me, and it would be awfully awkward
for her to just say "okay letís go out" given the abruptness of the situation.
Fourth, even if she did, I would not be able to decide whether or not I
wanted to get into some form of a relationship with her, mild as it may
be. I just liked her and that was it. I wasnít going to proceed further
lest I should go against my religion. In addition, to get to know a girl,
I had to like her as well as find her suitable for me, the latter of which
I was unsure in this particular case. I had never seriously known a girl
before the way most American youth do, that is just as a girlfriend. I
did not want to, not then nor never. I would only be interested in entering
a relationship I would never exit; hence I dismissed the role of the boyfriend
as I patiently awaited the time when I would be ready to assume the much
more respectable and fulfilling role of a suitor (my faith, in addition
to psychology, had a part in this philosophy of mine). I had never even
concieved of the possibility that I may fall in love against my will, I
always thought I could control that. I was now aware that there might be
strong obstructions to my intended plan: mainly falling in love, and out
of rationalism. I did not want it to be that way, but I was never consulted.
I did not know what to do. I decided to fight my desire to try to confront
her, to allow myself only glances at her but nothing further. I wanted
this to end, I wanted my peace of mind back.
Throughout the supposedly emotionally volatile period of my life,
my teens, I had always been unusually emotionally stable. I had been able
to avoid emotional tangles with the opposite sex through minimizing the
possibility of being around them when it wasnít necessary. I focused my
attention on spending quality time with my male friends and on contributing
large amounts of my time and thought to more meaningful things such as
religion, philosophy, psychology, and cultural diversity. I was right.
This method was not at all repression but a way of controlling myself.
I nevertheless thought highly of marriage and of having a good, strong,
relationship with a woman one day, yet only within the context of a marriage.
If I were to like someone it would be forever, or not at all. I strongly
believed in commitment, a value despised in the American culture. People
had degraded from such committed relationships as marriage, to such vague,
perverted relationships as "boyfriend-girlfriend" which also soon proved
to be too much of a restriction for their animalistic desires thus
leading to the evolution of the new 90ís relationship: the extremely liberal
"just kickiníit", as opposed to the still liberal yet not so liberal "going
out" of the previous decades.
The boyfriend-girlfriend relationship should only serve the purpose,
if any at all, of giving the couple the chance to know each other further
before actually committing. In that sense it is a transitionary phase and
not a relationship in itself. As soon as the couple have made the decision
of whether they like each other or not, they should then immediately plan
for marriage at the quickest convenient time, or break up, based on the
answer. This humane method of interaction is sophisticated and noble as
well as healthy. Not to mention, it avoids such huge realms of endless
physical problems including unwanted pregnancies, aids, veneral diseases,
stalking, and abuse: issues that have become a dominant part of the Ďeverydayí
in the western culture. Even worse is emotional problems that arise from
frequenting short term relationships with the intention of one day ending
them. Instability is contagious; the instability of relationships leads
to the instability of personality and ultimately to the instability of
oneís whole life. Permanent relationships provide for a secure future and
for a warm atmosphere in which one can grow in a healthy manner in the
various fields of life: love, work and enjoyment of life.
If ever I approached a girl, it would only be if my intention
were to get to know her better as a potential lifetime-companion, and that
is why I saw no sense in knowing a girl as a teen as the possibility of
being permanently commited was then non-existent. Instead, I spent a lot
of time on myself, preparing my personality and intellect so as to be a
well-rounded, understanding and respectable person for the right person
when the opportunity comes about. For that reason, I believed that I deserved
more than just a fling for I was preparing for a true, lifetime relationship.
As I prepared myself for the right person, my standards became high as
I believed that I too deserved a prepared woman. I did not intend to ever
approach a girl just for the heck of it; I would never even consider a
relationship whose goal fell short of marriage. I believe in only one healthy
man-woman relationship and that is the husband-wife relationship. A man
should not even attempt to know the woman if eventual marriage is not his
ultimate goal. If a manís intentions in knowing a girl was not accompanied
by the possibility of marriage, then the relationship is built on illegitimate
intentions such as physical gain or temporary companionship, an attitude
degrading and undermining to the girl as well as to the man.
Now however, even though my philosophy regarding relationships
did never change, my rationalizing abilities were somewhat impaired. Having
passed the bulk of my teen life safely, it was towards the end that I tripped.
I, for some reason, just wanted to know her more; to speak with her, even
though I knew very well that, rationally speaking, there was probably no
future for us, owing to the many barriers between us that kept me from
even seriously trying to have her. First, It seemed that she was older
than I was as she was preparing to graduate with a double major while
I was just a junior. Second, She was not of my faith, a very important
pre-requisite for my pursuit of a serious relationship. Third, She was
brought up in the midst of the liberal American culture, a thought which
spurred doubt in my heart as to her seriousness and fidelity if a relationship
was to begin, and about her bringing-up of children abilities if a family
was to be started. Fourth, She lived almost two hours away from my house,
a fact which discouraged even the possibility of trying to see her more
often so as to get to know her better. Finally and most importantly, she
could be in a serious relationship for all I know, perhaps even married,
perhaps with children. I didnít know what to think for I simply did not
know anything about her. To try to find out this crucial information required
that I let her in on my thoughts and feelings, and if she proved to be
occupied or not interested for any reason, my sudden approach would seem
awkwardly abrupt as the rejection would be too much of a blow to my personal
dignity. Even if she didnít, I thought the relationship would still probably
be short lived for the above reasons. Yet the dilemma lay in my sheer desire
to know her, regardless of the above rationalizations not to. I had to
compromise my mind and heart somehow so I concluded that I should first
try to know her more indirectly, as a comrade, as a study mate and through
this try to find out more about her as well as give her the opportunity
to get to know me. This way I would not slam the door shut, nor swing it
open off its hinges, but keep it ajar.
It is not against my faith or personal philosophy to fall in love
- if that was what happened - but it is against them to act upon love in
the wrong way, that is to pursue a relationship which would defy logic.
If there did not seem to be a logical end to that love such as a successful
long term relationship, then that love would be in vain, it would have
to be killed.
I decided that if things didnít work out, she would at least become
a good friend as well as the secret standard against which I would measure
my potential wife in the future. I had found what I like most in a woman,
in all the various aspects of evaluation, personified in her.
Whatever the outcome, I will not deny that her appearance is very appealing to my eyes, her character extremely warm and friendly, her mood pleasant and refreshing, and her methods unusually polite and caring for an American. In addition to all this, she had a sophisticated air around her.
She had the looks I liked most in a woman: the tall thin figure,
the thin face, the high cheek bones, the smiling eyes, the tanned skin,
the long thin fingers, the nicest smile, the feminine brows and lashes,
and the dark black hair which either hung loose on her shoulders or was
collected in a neat pony tail or bun. She resembled a beautiful model.
In one of our assignments for French class, we were required to describe
our potential partners the way we would like them. I described her. I wrote
in the following excerpt:
Pour les qualites physiques, Je prefere une fille de peau tendre et
brune; des cheveux noirs, brillants et lisses qui tombent jusquíaux epaules.
Jíaime les femmes grandes, maigres, et elegantes; et celles qui ont un
visage maigre et de longs doigts. Ma conjointe doit etre delicate et feminine
dans líapparence et dans le mouvement. Ce sont tout pour les qualites physiques.
But it wasnít just her exterior that got me, but the way her interior
interplayed with her exterior. Her character and personality, and the way
she carried herself through were all very attractive to me. Even her choice
of study I found to be attractive in a woman, that is the fact that she
was studying French and Spanish topped her off with what I perceived to
be the most appealing and practical job for a woman, a wife and a mother.
All in all, despite the odds and the differences, I simply could
not forget her nor overcome my extreme attraction to her in anyway. I found
myself overlooking every barrier for the sake of the pleasure I attained
through her mere admiration.
The next class period, she approached me and apologized for forgetting
the photocopy which she had told me she would bring me. I said it was okay.
Next time, however, she brought it for me. The chapter was a work of literature
entitled "Rabelais". That xerox copy was much more to me than just a xerox
copy, it was more like a prize possession. I amusedly thought about framing
it and hanging it on the wall. We didnít talk much for the bulk of the
semester after that as I, being very sensitive, was less than encouraged
by her feedback to pursue her. Maybe I was right in assuming her disinterest,
maybe I was wrong in being so dependent on her feedback, maybe I just lacked
persistence, but two things were for sure: first, my dignity would not
allow me to approach a girl more frequently than circumstances permitted;
second, even though this was so, my appreciation for her did not wane an
inch, but actually multiplied rapidly. I gazed at her a lot in class, I
would never bore. During this period, our communication was not more than
a casual exchange of glances, hiís, or smiles.
Ever since she has entered my mind, I have become completely disinterested
in other girls, even ones that are very friendly towards me or that show
some sort of interest. I do not even want to look at them, I do not care
even if they were all beauty queens.
One time towards the middle of the semester, I approached her
again. I had to register for the following semesterís courses and I really
wanted to know which French course she would recommend for me to enroll
in as an elective, given her experience in the department as a major. I
told her that I had an option between French literature and French composition,
she recommended the latter. I asked her which course she was going to take
if any, and she answered that she was also going to take French composition.
I thought to myself "thatís it, now I definitely know what Iím taking".
We talked for a minute and then I motioned for us to walk towards her class
suggesting that this was also my route. We talked and she mentioned that
she had been around Spanish speaking people up to the age of 10, and that
had been where she initially learned Spanish. I also knew from a previous
class that she was born in the Illinois suburb of "Blue Island" which I
had been sure to look up on the map as soon as I had gotten home that day.
We stood for a while in front of her class taking about Spanish and French.
All of a sudden, she asked me if we get together to study for our French
class. I was surprised as well as pleased, I could not restrain myself
from announcing that I thought it was a great idea. She asked me for my
name which I had to utter twice so that she could comprehend it. She told
me that she was "Bridgette Hennessey", I thought to myself: "trust me woman,
We set a date which she regrettably renounced the next day saying
that she had to meet someone else to study for another class. I hate games.
I was disappointed. She also suggested that we re-schedule it, which made
me feel better. I agreed on her proposed date and also suggested that we
exchange phone numbers. She quickly agreed, saying that she was just about
to ask the same thing. She also asked me where I lived. (I answered "Jefferson Park, and you?", she said "Frankfort"). I didnít know what to think
of that. Normally, in my culture, a person of the opposite sex asking for
your phone number and then where you lived meant something, but I quickly
reminded myself that this was America and that it was totally normal for
this to happen here, so I dismissed my thoughts, though reluctantly. She
asked me where that was and I said "40 minutes north" and when I asked
her the same question she quickly responded "40 minutes south". What a
disappointing Irony, I thought to myself, we were both equidistant from
the same point yet in opposite directions, what an omen. I couldnít help
but think of the fact that she was willing to come all the way to the University
(a 40 minute car trip) on Monday, knowing that she had no classes that
day, just to study with me. My mind fluctuated between being impressed
and perceiving it as no big deal assuming that she was only interested
in the preparing for the exam. Just then, the regrettable happened. Another
student walked out of the classroom and somehow immediately knew that we
were setting up a study session, and invited herself. I could not get myself
to say "yes", I just eyed her with disgust, so Natasha said "yes". I was
disappointed, I had wanted to be alone with her so that I could find out
more about her through my infamous indirect methods.
Later on in the day, I found out that I had an exam on our set
date so I reluctantly called her up to cancel our appointment. Her answer
machine went off in her voice (signaling that she wasnít married as I had
feared, nor living with her parents for that matter). I went on with my
message. Having heard it was me, she picked up the phone and greeted me.
I was pleased. I told her I couldnít come because of my exam, she told
me that she could wait for my exam to end so that we could still get together
for our study session. I was again pleased. She told me to meet her at
the cafeteria which I thought was a good sign. We talked for a while and
then she thanked me warmly for calling, I hung up feeling good. The more
I spoke with her, the more I felt deeper for her. I didnít want to feel
that way, but I had no choice. I was often ashamed of myself for being
so weak. I was surprised at myself for I had long thought that I was not
capable of such emotions. My rationale had always dominated my sentiments
to the point where several people independently referred to me as "Dr.Spock".
I almost did not believe in love. I still donít know if I do, though now
I do know what it means to be extremely infatuated with someone. If she
proved not to be interested or available, then so be it, I would accept
that, though not easily. But if she was interested, then what would I do.
Would I then retreat, or would I plunge into what my mind discouraged.
As I mentioned earlier, I didnít really believe in a future for us, though I hoped for one. Why was I then still pursuing her If I did not see a favorable outcome whichever way she thought of me? The only reason why I still allowed myself leave to approach her was the existence of a bleak ray of hope that I could somehow compromise between knowing her and still keeping my Islamic principles intact, in addition to overcoming the differences and barriers that obstructed my path through open-mindedness and understanding. That ray of hope was the secret fuel that kept this going. If that ray of hope was to dim, If that compromise was to prove impossible, if things were to escalate towards an unacceptable direction, then one thing would be for sure: I would ultimately prefer to lose her than lose her God and mine. I would much rather suffer emotional distress than break or even bend an Islamic law. Perhaps I had tripped, perhaps I had stammered, but I was not going to fall.....