Friday, July 25, 2008

Roommate Checkmate

It was the same place.

Turn the key and open the door and you could see that it was the same place. It had to be. He demanded that it was like a museum.

She had laughed the first time he told her that he wanted his house to be like a museum.

"I don't want to live in a museum! I want to live in a home!" she teased and then added, "Don't you?"
What had been his answer? She couldn't remember, but the truth was staring right at her. Everything in its place. The pictures, the plant and the chess set by the door.

"That doesn't make any sense," she had told him, "to have a chess set right when you enter the door. That's where I need to put down my stuff."

A museum doesn't have stuff. A museum has treasures.

Where were the boxes? She needed the boxes he had promised her, since she was moving out of her apartment and heading back home. This wasn't a home.

She had to run back to the city where he had wed her and promised to love her forever. She had to face all the friends who had come to their party and wished them well. How would she explain what happened?

She wished that she could just show them what she was seeing: the dining room table, specially made, covered in a that new black tablecloth they had bought and never used, with the new colorful placemats she had picked out, and with a plate sitting atop every one. For whom? For no one. No one had sat there ever.

The framed photos on the wall. She had helped him choose every one. Until she had come into his home, the frames had hung empty. Why? At first, she thought it was because he didn't have enough time. Then, she came to understand how aiming for perfection disables a person.

When they had tried to reconcile a few months back, she had been surprised to see that the photos had slipped in their frames without being fixed. She redid every photo that weekend. She felt good to be needed. He needed her, it's true. However, he didn't really want her.

No one else knew the significance of the photos. That one, in the middle, of the waterfall, was taken the day they married. No people. They were so observant in their Islam this way; no people allowed in the photos on display. She didn't need to see the images of who they had been nine months ago. She could still see them in her mind's eye.

Everything in the house began to be too much for her. It was all in place. Every single piece. The remotes neatly lined up. The cups and saucers in a row. All of it for show. None of it helped him to build a life with her. It all got in the way. It was them that he loved. He truly loved his things. She only got in the way of that love.

Did he ever love her? Did he? Was he capable? She teared up at the thought of the house being his palace of perfectionism. He would live there alone now. He could find a sort of happiness alone.

And her? She grabbed the boxes and carried them out to her car; the one he had dented within the same hour she bought it. He dented it while reparking it because she, " hadn't done a good enough job". No, she was never going to do things good enough.

She returned to the door. Turned out the light. Was just about to lock the door, when she thought of leaving her mark; not vandalism. She just had to touch what screamed out, "DON'T TOUCH".
There infront of her was the chess set; the chess set with which no one played. She decided to make her final move.

When he came home that night, he would see that the White Queen was no longer standing next to her king. She had stopped following all the rules and left the game.


Lady Nomadica said...

Indeed, the white Queen is leaving the game. A very representative and metaphorical microcosm of his empty museumic existence, except what happens when it is forever missing a vital component?

Our Rewards Await Us said...

Did you take the Queen with you? or did you just move her to some other part of the board? I would have taken it! I love the way you wrote this. And I'm glad we talked a while back or else I wouldn't have fully understood.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Lady N.,

Good question about the missing piece. I think he is already missing half his heart. He is so half-hearted; loving as much as he can but being unable to love very much or for very long.

May Allah heal his brokenness.

Asalamalaykom ORAU,

The Queen was placed aside the board, as if she had walked off in search of a better life.

I'm always glad when we talk. Hope you are well. Write an update for cryin' out loud!

Faith Confusion said...

I love the way you wrote this too. So great, like the story of a stranger but it's really of yourself. It seems unselfish that way (not that I think you're selfish at all, it just shows the story without the I and me everywhere.. like in my blog, lol)

Still loving your story. And to think, a few days ago I thought you were a wild 20-something wanting to get married. I understand you so much more now.
!! And that pictures can be so deceptive.. your young eye!! lol