30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 6

Posted: July 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

Day 6

“We’ll be setting up the final photo stand over here some time during the next 30 minutes, then we’ll work on the final touches by the buffet, and I guess that’d be all.”

Reem quietly nodded as the wedding planner tried so hard to show how his perfect plans were completely worth the 30,000 EGP he was receiving from her very wise sister. He had been waiting for a more enthusiastic reply, but she’d already been very quiet all day.

“Anything else you wanted me to do?” He desperately tried again. She shook her head and faked a narrow smile. The guy eventually decided to walk away, seeming a little disappointed at how she hadn’t uttered a single word about the great work he thought he had been doing since morning.

Reem was in fact very excited about her twin sister finally getting married to the man of her dreams, though her looks and attitude hardly showed it. It was all what everyone’s been counting down for lately, and each person had a job to do for that day. Reem was responsible to make sure the planning team did their job, keep an eye on the food’s quality and the refill pace, besides leading each person to their table according to her sister’s carefully designed seating plan. She was overwhelmed by the amount of things she was being trusted with, and even though she didn’t quite agree with all that was taking place on that day, she was considerate enough to stay silent all through.

Though Reem’s only 5 minutes older than Rana, they are still very unlike each other – on many different levels. Rana is commonly known among her family and friends as the artistic fashionista who takes extra care of her clothes and body shape, and the first person to blindly go to for fashion-related advice. Reem, however, usually pays very little attention to whatever she tucks herself in every morning, and never feels comfortable about any of her sister’s extravagant attempts to make Reem a little more presentable. Reem also happens to be more of a people person than her sister. Whenever they exist in any social setting, all eyes would be on Reem who would always have tons of stories to share from her travels and adventures. She has visited over 250 cities and never fails to bring back pieces of each city’s people through her eye-opening reflections and the great number of friends she makes everywhere. Her presence is such an effective one.

Still, she’s an ambivert who eventually feels drained after gatherings and still usually longs for some alone time. This weird mixture makes her get along well with both her siblings, or so she makes them feel. Rana has in fact always been the real definition of all what introverts are, while Ramy’s the loudest and most outgoing of the three. They all shared a special bond, yet the two of them had always felt more inclined towards Reem than the other, though she still carries her very own pieces that none of them has ever had access to, or even knows about their existence.

“I’m sorry, are you the bride’s sister?” a soft voice interrupted her thoughts.

She looked up and there stood a 5-feet-tall young man who happened to be one of the most handsome she had ever encountered. His tiny black suit made him look a lot like her brother when he was much younger, and his bewildered milk chocolate eyes were too huggable. He carried a large stunning pot of her favorite orchids that was twice his size, yet he seemed to be effortlessly doing it.

“Yes, how can I help you?” She finally said after what seemed like forever.

“I have a special order that I was particularly asked to deliver to you in person.” He calmly replied, and reached out to hand her the heavy pot.

“Oh,” she struggled to keep her balance as soon as he placed it between her open arms. “Can you please place them over there instead?”

“I’d be very glad to.” He walked towards the table she had pointed at, and she followed. Walking beside him, her two connected hands were nervously swinging behind her back; a gesture she unconsciously always did when she met someone interesting for the first time and really wanted to know them more. She was thankful for the one thing she hadn’t given in and worn for her sister; her heels, for she would have otherwise looked even more funny walking beside the guy.

“Who are they from, by the way?” She asked midway, not really concerned with the sender as much as she wanted to keep their conversation going. Something about his voice did get to her.

“Well,” he frowned, “I actually don’t quite remember the name, but there’s a card attached.”

He finally landed the flowers at their destined place and she curiously pulled out the card. In a very familiar black inked handwriting, the sender wrote:

As much as not being allowed to accompany you on this special day pains me, I thought those flowers would still take good care of you for me. Make sure you get a glimpse of them every time you don’t feel at ease.

Bahebbek.

Despite it not having a signature at the end, Reem knew it was Ahmad. She continued to reread his words over, not being completely ready to take her eyes off the card and normally face the world as if her insides weren’t shattering.

It had been two months since she had last communicated with her best friend. They had already been together for 14 years, yet he ruined it all the day he decided to confess his love to her. She was partially to be blamed for it. They knew each other well enough that she was clearly able to tell when Ahmad was hiding something. He never wanted to ruin it for them, but she insisted to know, and that’s when he eventually gave in and admitted that he had feelings for her.

Another thing Reem couldn’t understand was how almost every guy she grew closer to, ended up falling in love with her. She was never attracted to anyone, for she felt they mostly wanted her for all the wrong reasons. She could hardly explain it, but Ahmad was there during each and every story, and though he had been in her life for the longest time, he couldn’t help but want her too.

Ever since that day, she had asked him to give her some space. She never really considered him more than a best friend, and now that she knew how he felt about her, she couldn’t even consider him that. It was too hard to accept that it was time for her probably only constant at that time to eventually step out of her world.

Ahmad had always told her the “bahebbek” he had so inconsiderately written at the bottom of his card and pretended to have tried to remove, and she had always said it back. But it was never the bahebbak he had intentionally misinterpreted. She did love him a lot. She loved her best friend. Now she had lost him, and he wasn’t invited to the wedding upon her request, because even though it broke her heart that he wasn’t there for one of her family’s big things, she wouldn’t have survived the day with his presence.

Feeling like she had been staring at the card for too long, she remembered that the delivery guy must have been standing there, awkwardly watching her, and so she instantly looked up, but he was nowhere to be found.

Did it really take me that long? She wondered while trying to screen the place for just another sight of him. He had completely disappeared, and so she mentally waved goodbye to one more stranger that her mess had made her lose the chance to connect with – and they were many.

It was only a few more minutes before the guests were scheduled to arrive, and so she shushed her mind and quickly put the card away. She needed to make sure everything was going as planned before her sister starts panicking over minor mistakes.

The wedding planner’s precious photo-stand. Check

The meaningless, soon-to-be-trashed giveaways that people fake getting excited over. Check

The table numbers for guests who’re basically coming to judge all what we are by how much we’ve spent. Check

The outrageously costly balloons-stand that, in all seriousness, could have secured me a two-way ticket to the next city on my list instead. Check

The young children who would be waiting by the door to carry the bride’s unexplainably long dress-tail that would otherwise trip her over every few minutes. Check

The unnecessarily tall 12-layer cake that’s probably not going to be used except for purposes of the regular bride-and-groom-cheesily-eating-off-each-other’s-forks pictures. Check

Almost everything was ready, yet Reem’s heart was starting to beat so fast. She was supposed to deliver the Maid of Honor speech in a few more minutes and despite how much she enjoyed talking to people, she didn’t exactly feel like it that day. But she was going to do it for her sister anyway.

After a few handshakes and some seemingly genuine squishy hugs, the bride finally came downstairs with Magda El Roumi’s Tolli Bel Abyad playing in the background. Everyone gathered around to watch as her dad gave away his daughter with a happy yet tearful smile. They all clapped and took pictures, and before she knew it, it was time for Reem to stand up and give her speech.

She looked at her sister for support, and her glittering blue eyes met Reem’s uncontrollably blinking lashes. She smiled and gave her a reassuring nod, very confident in what her sister was about to say. Reem smiled back, took a deep breath, and headed towards the stage.

“Testing, testing.” She said in the microphone, and everyone’s gazes immediately shifted to her.

“Okay. I’d be really glad to have your attention for the next couple of minutes, for I have a few words to share with you about my beautiful sister on her special day.” The humming gradually grew quieter, as her two hands held tightly to the microphone.

“When I first thought about what I’d say today, I didn’t exactly know whether I should be talking about my little sister, my protective guardian, my best friend, or my artistic guide, for Rana’s all that to me and even more. I’ve watched her grow from a little girl who has always believed our house was haunted by evil spirits every time the wind shook the trees by our window and made horrendous sounds, to the strong independent lady she is today who has made a mature choice to spend the rest of her life with this very attractive man standing beside her today.”

Shady lovingly looked at his wife upon hearing that, and planted a soft kiss on her cheek that made everyone go awww. Rana’s face turned a little red, yet she held his hand, let her fingers slowly slide through the spaces between his, and continued looking at her sister with watery eyes.

“When we were 12, Rana was certain I was going to find my man before hers, and the thought of having to sleep alone in our bedroom irritated her. When I would travel for a week or two, she would hardly sleep well and her loud snores once I was back would clearly show how much she was short on sleep. Today, she’ll finally be sharing rooms with the person her heart has chosen, and so I’m hoping her new life brings along enough peacefulness for her mind to let her sleep without making sounds.” Reem delicately laughed and the crowd hesitantly joined in.

“I’m not sure whether I should be congratulating him today,” she continued, “or if I should be envious of him for making it into every part of the warmest heart I know. Take good care of my twin sister, Shady, because otherwise you’ll have to deal with an angry version of her!” she teasingly said while pointing at herself. A few laughs were heard while Rana reached out to wipe an uncontrollable tear before it ruins her makeup. Nonetheless, Shady kept a straight face all through.

“To all the times we pretended to be asleep when mom suddenly marched into our room. To all the times we mentally made jokes about our family members and cracked up as soon as our eyes  met – sorry, guys, we actually did that a lot. To all the times we pulled all-nighters to work on our overdue papers, yet ended up leaving our laptops aside and pondering over life’s existential questions that made us sound too deep. To all the times Rana desperately tried to make me look like a lady but miserably failed. To all the times people’s jaws dropped upon knowing we were twins, to their every “What? It just can’t be!” To all the times they mixed our faces with our names – thank you for making it easier, now you guys know Rana’s the one with the ring! To all this and more. Every memory we shared will forever be carved inside my heart. For I love you, sister. Always have, always am, and always will do.”

Rana couldn’t wait for her sister to finish the sentence, and before anyone knew it, she jumped right into Reem’s arms and let out the tears she had been trying to push inside all along, while the entire audience stood up and endlessly applauded. It was such a heartwarming scene.

The music was shortly back, and Shady approached the two sisters, slowly pulling Rana back to him for their first dance. He didn’t comment about the speech; didn’t even make eye contact with Reem. She looked at him as he whispered something beside her sister’s ears, after which Rana let out an incredibly loud laugh and tightly held onto his arm. The moment was over, just like that. Reem hadn’t actually shared a similar sisters-moment with Rana ever since Shady made his way into their lives, and it was one of the few times she had felt that connected with her. She didn’t want it to end, but Shady perfectly ruined it for her; tears were no longer spotted, everyone was back to the dance floor, and she was left alone.

Reem hurriedly walked towards the washroom, with a stupidly forced smile on her face that greeted everyone she awkwardly bumped into. The thoughts quickly raced through her mind, and she wasn’t sure she’d be able to hold in the tears any longer. She opened the door to the washroom, walked into one of the toilet stalls, closed the lid and sat there silently crying, as she remembered every tiny detail that took place over the last two and a half years.

She cried as she recalled all the intense moments she had been through with the two of them, moments that still didn’t seem like they were coming to an end any time soon. For the times her sister had to hang up on Shady because she didn’t feel comfortable talking to him while Reem was there, and was too lazy to leave the room. For the times when Rana’s phone would be too loud that she’d often hear things like “Ugh, she’s back already? I thought she was staying in Spain until the end of the week!” on the other end of the phone, referring to her undesired presence. For the times their dad had asked Reem to accompany her sister while she hung out with him because they weren’t allowed to go out on their own, and the grumpy looks that Shady always gave her when Rana wasn’t looking their way. For the times when she really didn’t feel like going out and they’d continue making her feel guilty after cancelling plans because of her. For the times when Rana used to tell Shady she’ll have to ask Reem for advice before they agree on a certain something and how much it frustrated him until he openly asked her to stop involving her sister in their life one day – and she did. For the times she had unknowingly walked in on them after their katb ketab while they intimately kissed in her very own bedroom, and the awkwardness that filled the air before she was able to collect her thoughts, apologize, and leave. For all the times Shady had implicitly asked Reem to listen to her sister while she was trying to find her something decent to wear for their special events, because of all the times he had made it clear her style was such an embarrassment to them. For that dress she was actually wearing to the wedding just because her sister had insisted, which she didn’t feel the least bit like herself in. For the very rare moments when Reem felt like she really needed someone to lend her an ear, but Rana was too tired to even notice because the wedding preparations completely drained her.

No one noticed those little things; no one even knew she was the kind of person who would let those things get to her. Except for Ahmad, of course, who was already making things harder for her. Ahmad, who would have never allowed her to make such a speech that they both knew was too cliché. He would have made her openly talk about how drifting away from one of the few constants in her life had shattered her entire belief system and irrationally stimulated her trust issues. He would have made her throw even more hurtful comments at Shady’s face after everything he had done to her – not just another cute overly-used threaten that everyone apparently thought was an adorable joke. He would have made her talk about how she thought spending all this money on a wedding ceremony could have instead helped develop a slum area where people were really in need. He would have made her loudly question why couples had to invite people they know aren’t even happy for them over to their weddings when they could simply save the money for themselves and travel the world. He would have made her feel more like herself; the self she had trouble letting anyone in for she knew they’d end up hating all what they saw.

Ahmad was no longer there, and so was the side of her that only emerged in his presence. Rana was getting married, and their connection had already been distorted for a few years. The stranger she so wanted to get to know had also disappeared. And she sat there in a lonely toilet stall, wondering if she’ll ever feel whole again. For all she knew, her insides were literally being crushed, and she was already losing the pieces before anyone could step in and fix such an agonizing mess she had absolutely no say in, and there was nothing she could do about that.

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