Friday Flash (Buckle) by Ain Zachary – I Dreamt of Ali

I dreamt of Ali last night. We were travelling to some place, most probably to a beach with waves, for a surfing trip. I wish I could remember more about the dream, did we talk, were we having fun, was anyone else there with us? Dreams, some people say reflect the state of mind we are in at the moment, what we long for, what we are puzzling over. Was my mind quietly mourning over the fact that Ali is not in my life anymore? I didn’t realize it until I woke up this morning, perplexed over my dream of Ali, trying hard to remember whether he had spoken to me of some wisdom, did he gave me any advice on how to get through my life, did we even communicate at all? Ali came into my dream last night, in one of the darkest days in my adult life. I am going to take it as a sign; I am going to write about him.

I first met Ali almost at the end of last year. It was a long, trying day for me as I recall. I was in a funk all day, thinking about a stupid move I made the other night. The day got better though when the evening came and the reason for the funk I was under walked in on my dinner date with my best friend and swoop her off her feet and ended up with her saying that she liked him, for me. We got along famously that night, my best friend and her husband, me and him. I have never found any guy whom my best friend liked, for me. He was it, and that’s how I guess, I looked pass everything bad I ticked in my book about him. My best friend liked him, and just like that I was smitten.

The interesting part of the night came after dinner. After a romp at his house, we were surprised by his housemate skating accident. They were supposed to fly off in the morning for a surfing trip abroad. After sending his housemate to the hospital, we then rushed to Ali’s place, where he was to send Ali to the bus depot for a ride to the airport. Ali was to fly on an earlier flight.

That would be the very first time I laid eyes on Ali. I instantly like him when he said hi to me, looking surprised, not knowing who I was, a girl he never knew existed, suddenly tagging along with his friend. Being the sort of person who always fades in the background, I really appreciate any effort that is made to at least be friendly to me, by anyone at all. Usually, a smile, a wave, a hello will suffice, an indication that people realize that I’m there amongst them. I did not fall for Ali then, that is only reserved for people who right away talk to me despite my quietness. All Ali did was said hi. But I liked his small stature, his funky facial hair and big afro. I remember thinking how funny it was to see him with his big surfboard and his short board short.

I am easily impressionable I guess, and I getting impressed immensely by Ali, as I got to know Ali more after that first time I saw him, without actually knowing it, deep in my heart I really wanted to be his friend. As I get more involved with Ali’s friend, my wish to get to know Ali better, grew. I did get to know Ali better as days go by. Not by actually talking to Ali but by his friend talking about him. It is funny how I can say I know him but I had only been in his presence and talked to Ali only for a bunch of time. We only really hung out once, and the rest of the time, it was usually on a surf trip up at the East Coast, where Ali and his friends would be more consumed with the thought of surfing waves and meeting their seasonal friends.

I know for a fact that I am impressed with Ali because I read his blog and his book. At this juncture in my life, I really need a role model, someone I could emulate, a person I could follow in his footstep. From what I read, and what I heard and what I saw in him, I guess he was that person. He is a writer and he wrote a book, a pretty good one at that. He likes to travel, and he took a year off his life, left everything and lived his life as he pleased. All that, I had wanted to do since forever and I guess from what had been transpiring in my life lately, will do soon. I guess as my life turns towards that goal I have always dreamt of, I wish I had someone in my life that would be able to share his stories. Ali was supposed to be that person.

I remember our first surfing trip together. His friend asked me to tag along, I was happy to, since it will be one of those fun things couples do, I support him in his love of the sport and I will also pay my share of the money they need for the trip. It broke my heart a bit and my mind was ticking off another bad point about him when he, I guess not getting the words out correctly as one should when talking to a girl, told me about one of his intention of getting me on the trip. But I had so much fun nonetheless, on that trip and the few trips after that. I remember on that very first trip, I was sitting next to Ali and he slept the night away with his head on my shoulder. I made fun of him about it and he never slept on my shoulder again. How can I tell him that I don’t actually mind?

I fell for Ali platonically you see, I fell for his charm, his good looks, his funny fart jokes. I wanted him in my life, and strangely enough, I still do, even now, when the relationship I was having with his friend has now come to an end. It is funny when I think about my relation with his friend ending, one of the thing I feel so sad about was not going to have Ali as a part of my life anymore. I realize now I used to tell my friends about Ali, how funny Ali is, how good looking Ali is, how I admire Ali’s literature-inclined life, how Ali plays for the other team and proud of it, I used to talk about Ali quite a bit, alongside the stories about his friend.

I sometimes wonder what Ali thought of me. I am sure I was just nothing in his life, a casual encounter with a girl his friend went out with for a short time. I had nothing to offer him, personally or intellectually. I was not different from any other girl he met in his life, nothing interesting to share. I wish I am wittier, with funny outrageous stories to tell, maybe even prettier as to catch Ali’s eyes, maybe that would have made me more fascinating. What had his friend told Ali about me? That I was not the person he thought I was, that he could not take all my antics, my mood swings, my anger, that I deserve to be alone for the rest of my life? How do I tell Ali that I’m more than that he had heard about me, more than that he had seen of me; that I too have stories to tell?

I still remember his friend telling me that one time when they were driving home from yet another surfing trip, they were talking about me, Ali saying how we seemed good for each other. I remember him saying Ali said maybe he should marry me. I don’t really remember the context or the reason why that sentence was said by Ali, but I remember those words because Ali had said it. I also remember as my relationship with Ali’s friend started to disintegrate, I would ask him what Ali thought of it. He would tell me that Ali was so shocked when he did not feel like surfing and he flew home from the East Coast one time, he would tell me that he and Ali did not talk about me at all on their surfing trip abroad that I was supposed to tag along with but didn’t.

It is unfortunate that Ali is in my life no more. I wish I had the courage to talk to him more, or make him a friend instead of a friend of a boyfriend. That was my intention, to get him to be my friend. Although at the time, I thought I had all the time in the world, to take things slowly with Ali. I never knew my relationship with his friend could crumble so easily and I would lose Ali’s wit and jokes from my life forever. And why would Ali want be friends with me now that I am done with his friend. Some sort of loyalty would be expected of Ali from his friend, and I guess it would not do to make friends with me.

And just as suddenly, I dreamt of him, and that invoked in me a sort of wanting. Just like a surge of waves, Ali made me want to write again, I have not written in a long time, a very long time. Every time I tell anyone who would listen that I write, such words from my mouth would just echo emptily because the truth is, I have not been writing much. I must thank Ali for summoning in me the need to write again, the urge to express myself on paper again, to rise against this blackness that has been occupying the dark recess of my mind. I do wish to see Ali again, to gain a friend in him, to just have a conversation with him. I do not know where this will lead, but I hope it will lead me back to Ali, somehow…

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Submitted by Ain Zachary for Friday Flash

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