“I guess this really is goodbye,” Aamin said to Adaeze. They were at Heathrow. He was on his way to Dubai. This was the last time they were going to see each other.
Adaeze nodded. “Yes.” She was overcome with sadness.
“I wish things didn’t have to end like this.”
“So, I can’t persuade you to change your mind about moving to Dubai?”
“No. This is where I belong.”
“I thought you belonged with me.”
“I thought so too but I can’t leave my family, job and life here in London to go to Dubai.”
“I love you, Adaeze and I thought you loved me.”
“Love has nothing to do with this, Aamin. I’m not doing this to hurt you but I have to do what is best for me. You’re doing what’s best for you.”
“I had it all planned. We were going to get married soon after we settled into our new life in Dubai.”
“I’m sorry, Aamin. It’s obvious that we don’t want the same thing.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“Please give my love to your family.”
“I will. They’re very disappointed that you’re not coming with me.”
“Did you explain why I’m not coming?”
“Yes. They accept your decision even though they don’t agree with it. My mother said that love is sacrificial. When you love someone, you would put them and their happiness first.”
“What about my happiness?”
“How do you know that you wouldn’t be happy with me in Dubai?”
“I know myself, Aamin and I know that I wouldn’t be happy living in Dubai.”
“And I guess that a long distance relationship is out of the question.”
“We both agreed that it is.”
“Long distance relationships and marriages can be successful in some cases but complicated too, especially when children are involved.”
“And there can be problems such as miscommunication, jealousy, loneliness, drifting apart, neglecting to spend time with each other and mistrust. I don’t either of us want to experience any of these things.”
He sighed. “You’re right. While I’m in Dubai, I would worry that you’re seeing another man. You’re a beautiful woman, Adaeze. I’ve seen the way other men look at you. I would be miserable and jealous, imagining you with someone else.”
She wondered what he would say if he knew about Merrick and that he had invited her to have a drink with him. His business card with his private number written on the back was tucked away in her wallet in her handbag which she now had slung across her shoulders. “A relationship can’t survive if there isn’t any trust,” she said quietly.
“No,” he agreed quietly. “Take care of yourself, Adaeze.”
She swallowed hard, blinking back the tears. “You too, Aamin.”
They hugged tightly. When he drew back, his expression broke her heart. “Goodbye, Adaeze and God bless you.”
“Goodbye, Aamin and God bless you too.”
He gave her a lingering look before he turned and walked away–out of her life.
She watched his retreating back until he was gone before she left the airport, caught a taxi and went home. And here, she was now, sitting on the loveseat, feeling awful and guilty because she knew that if Merrick hadn’t come into her life, she would have been on that plane with Aamin. She would have been looking forward to beginning a new life in a city she had fallen in love with when she visited it last year Christmas. And as far as a job, she could have found a job at a car dealership if she couldn’t get one as a mechanic. Aamin would have helped her to find one.
It would have been nice to see his family again. His mother would have been happy to teach her how to cook traditional Dubai dishes such as Balaleet, Shakshuka and Machboos and to help her to shop for a wedding dress. Dushan and Chioma would have flown over for the wedding and stayed either with Aamin and her or at a hotel. There would have been yearly visits to London, especially after Chioma had the baby. All of this would have been possible if she hadn’t met Merrick…
Merrick. Her life changed that Sunday when he walked into the shop. She thought or had been convinced that she loved Aamin but after meeting Merrick, she had to be honest with herself. She cared for Aamin but she didn’t love him. If she did, she wouldn’t have let him go to Dubai alone. She would have quit her job, packed up and gone with him.
The painful truth was that she didn’t love him. How could she when she was deeply attracted to Merrick and couldn’t stop thinking about him? He was the real reason why she wasn’t flying off to Dubai.
She sighed heavily. Her life had taken a turn she hadn’t expected. She felt alone at the moment because Chioma and Dushan didn’t agree with her decision not to go to Dubai with Aamin. Although it hurt her to see that she had hurt Aamin, she knew that she had made the right decision. Life in Dubai would have been miserable for both of them. She would have been homesick for London and thinking about Merrick. Would Aamin have been happy with a wife who was physically with him but emotionally and mentally with another man? It would have been a terrible mistake to go to Dubai with him when her heart and mind weren’t in it.
She hoped that in time, Aamin would get over his hurt and that God would bring the right woman into his life.