Zaina was brushing her teeth on a lazy sunday morning when she heard her phone ring. No wait – i’d like to amend that statement. Zaina was brushing her teeth on a sunday morning when she heard her phone ring. Zaina was anything but lazy. And while most people subscribed to the “all-you-can-sleep sunday” concept, Zaina worked even harder on weekends. She worked hard on herself. On the betterment of self. If the dead really were separated into batches of “heaven” and “hell”, Zaina would have already gotten herself appointed as Chief Separating Officer at The Gates, 30 seconds into her death.
She ignored the call. She hadn’t flossed yet.
The phone rang again. This was 8 a.m, mind you. She couldn’t imagine who could be calling her this early on a sunday. Did I mention it was a sunday?
She pressed on with her morning routine, ignoring further calls and enjoying it a little. When she was finally finished, she walked out of her bathroom and towards her cell phone that lay on her dresser. And just as she reached out to pick it up, it rang again, vibrating in her hands.
“Hello?”, she answered curtly, demandingly.
“Zaina? Hello?” said a male voice, nervous. “Hi, Cyrus here.”
“Cyrus? What number is this? Where is your phone?”
“I’m calling from a – er – a friend’s phone. My battery is dead. Phone’s battery I mean,” Cyrus replied hurriedly. Zaina hated inarticulateness.
“Oh. Okay. What’s up? Is everything alright?”
“Oh yes, yes. Umm, I was wondering if you wanted to meet me today. I know we hadn’t made any plans and i’m sure you’re busy but if you could meet me for a bit that’d be great.”
“Alright Cyrus, stop being so formal,” Zaina said with exasperation. She couldn’t stand it when he walked on eggshells around her. Drove her mad. “Costa in about an hour? I was going to have my morning tea at home but I could have it there I suppose.”
“Or you could pick up your drink and meet me at the park bench across it?”
“Fine, see you there. Please don’t make me wait.”
It was Cyrus’ turn to be exasperated. “I won’t. See you.”
Zaina was startled at the conversation she had just had, but decided not to let it bother her too much. But seriously, though, what could be playing on his mind? He sounded strange, he’s never up this early, and it was a sunday. Maybe he was dying and required her kidney? No, that was silly. She would never give him one, he knew that. Maybe he wanted her to meet his folks. Well, cheers to that. He finally kowtowed to pressure. Maybe he pierced “it” and was excited and wanted to show her. But to whip it out in a park? Surely, that’s some kind of felony!
She wasn’t the kind to obsess. In fact, when she had met some of Cyrus’ friends, a month into dating, at that restaurant (what was it? Just Kebabs, yes), one of them (Adil) had told her, after she had ordered the non-veg platter with a Lemon Iced Tea with crushed ice not cubed, that she was “definitely not obsessive”. She remembered that. She remembered that quite often because it was so true. And very few people in her life had told her something like that. How could Adil have known her so well so quickly? Amazing. Wonder what he’s up to. Probably still pursuing his flailing acting career. Cyrus had wonderful friends, but Zaina thought them to be a bit obtuse about certain things.
And somehow, Zaina had passed two hours getting ready, and not fixating on Cyrus and what he might have to say. Having picked up her Chai Latte (which took about 20 minutes), she made her way to him, late for the first time. She apologized.
“Don’t worry, I only just got here,” he said, kissing her on the cheek. “Sit..”
Zaina sat, puzzled. Cyrus looked like he had at least 3 thoughts on his mind. It was unsettling.
There was silence as she sipped her tea and he twiddled his thumbs, nervously.
Finally he spoke.
“I want to break up.”
Zaina sat, even more puzzled.
Cyrus couldn’t believe he had just blurted it out like that. Hadn’t he gone through so much, preparing a script for this? It was a testament to how much he wanted it that he went in so fearlessly.
“I mean, not break up..per se… just, you know, we see a lot of each other already. I just think we should tone it down. See less of each other. And if that works out well, maybe not see each other. Like, at all. I mean……….if that’s what you want.”
Cyrus didn’t feel so fearless anymore. He felt stupid. He should have just stuck to the script. Should he take out his notes now, he wondered. Would it be too late? But Zaina hadn’t spoken yet so it seemed like the floor was all his.
He plodded on.
“See, sometimes, two people in a relationship think that they’re not on the same wavelength. Like when one person wants to get out of the relationship and the other…doesn’t. But I think we are not those two people. Because I think you want this too. And it’s not a bad idea at all. This breaking up thing. We both could do so much better. Not that i’m doing worse by dating you…it’s a figure of speech, you know.”
What was he doing? Cyrus thought if he could just convince Zaina that this was all her idea, he would get away with very few scars. He had seen Inception many times.
“…so in conclusion….I – errr – so what do you- what’s up?” he finished, rather lamely.
“What’s up? WHAT”S UP???”
Zaina was about to erupt with rage when she decided not to. She thought for a minute. Wasn’t he right? Isn’t this what she wanted too? She looked at him. There was no love, no real attachment. There was nothing pulling her to him. She was an intense person and yet felt nothing remotely intense when it came to him. It’s not like she didn’t like him. He was a perfectly pleasant fellow and a decent lover. He was kind to his dog, Monty (he was adorable), and he loved his mother at a level she deemed appropriate. She didn’t mind him at all. Except for when he was tardy, inarticulate and insensitive. She really hated that. Drove her mad. But apart from that really, there was no fire. Nothing she would miss, were he gone. So then was he right?
“Have you been feeling this for a long time?” she asked him.
“Uh..well, I mean we’ve been going out only a couple of months so..”
“So, since – errr – since then.”
Great. She knew he was spot on. But it infuriated her that he reached this conclusion before she did. Now her only problem was how to leave this entire situation with her dignity intact. Because if she understood him correctly, he had basically admitted to having not showed up in this relationship from day 1. Neither had she, but at least she had the decency to be unaware of her misery and indifference towards him. The nerve of the boy!
“You’re right. I think we are much better suited as friends. Assuming of course, you wish to remain as such.” She had no idea why she had her interview voice on.
“Oh yeah, of course!” Cyrus reassured her, more relieved than anything. “Of course, yeah let’s totally do that! I’ll call you this weekend. Or during the week if you’re free.”
“Sure. See you around,” with that, she received another kiss on the cheek and headed back home. Bewildered, but not really.
Cyrus walked back home too. And he had meant it when he said he’d like to remain friends. He’d definitely try at the very least. He just hoped that she wouldn’t distract him with her non-verbal skills, as she so often did, every time he broached the subject of parting ways.
This took longer that the one week I had promised, so my apologies. I had actually written something the very next day but I wanted to wait, and the waiting made me think, and I thought – “well this is rubbish, and it just won’t do.” And since then i’d been trying to figure out the next step (the second one is so important) and i’m quite happy with this. Also, i’ve decided to end each part/section/chapter with a note (like this one) because I like to think that some of you care about what’s going on behind the scenes. Or maybe i’m just feeling chatty. 🙂
- Breakup Diaries – Part 1 (Cyrus is overjoyed) (24timespersecond.wordpress.com)