It has been seven months since things ended between Pan and I and I’ve been single. Two months after things ended, I changed my telephone number. A number I had for over eleven years. Why? Because I was certain if I kept it, I would always be compelled to contact him. So I changed it. Three months was how long it took before I caved in and gave him my new number. I know it was stupid, but the heart wants what it wants. Four months with my telephone number stored in his phone and several unsuccessful attempts to get him back, I began to think that it was time to change my number. As I laid in bed Friday morning, a somber look on my face as I lifted my pillow and looked at my phone in the hopes of seeing a text or call from him as I did every morning since giving him my number and as every time before, there was nothing.
“Okay, I have an announcement,” I said at lunch that afternoon with the girls. “I’m changing my telephone number.”
“Again,” said Sumiah. “I just memorized this one.”
“Why?” asked Lama concerned. “Has he reached out to you?”
“No! But I just think it’s time. That number is attached to the unanswered texts and voice recordings I sent him. The embarrassing FaceTime calls where he hung up in my face. Just everything. I tried so hard to fix us and it didn’t work. I gave my forgiveness and it’s clear he’ll never give me shit in return, so I need to do this to move on. I don’t want him to have any way of contacting me again. We’re done, so let’s be done.”
“Is that really what you want?” asked Lama. I’m not sure what Lama really wants the outcome between Pan and I to be. At times she hates his guts and the rest of the time, she wants to see me happy at his side.
“It’s not only what I want, it’s what I need. That’s what matters now. Nothing else! I need to move on with my life.”
“I think it’s a great idea. An annoying one, but a great one,” said Sumiah supportively. “You’re so differenet now that this fuck’s out of your life and you need a number that represents that. Something that says, I’m single, I’m sexy, I’m smart and sweet, but don’t fuck with me.”
We all laughed.
“Exactly,” I said.
“Now you have to make sure you don’t break again and give the fuck your number otherwise you’ll spend the year having to change it over and over.”
“Are you ever going to call him anything but that?” I asked.
“Oh, I have a whole bunch of other names I can give him if you want.”
“Just don’t give him your number again,” added Lama changing the subject simply out of embarrassement. She always gets uncomfortable with non Muslims seeing Sumiah use such profanity. Espeically since Sumiah wears the hijab (head scarf).
“I won’t! You can mark my words on that,” I said finding the strength to mean those words in a way I never did before.
Two days had passed and I had yet to change my number. I blamed it on the fact that I didn’t have the time, but I knew very well it didn’t take much. Yet somehow I don’t know why, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Do you still love him? Are you hoping this can work? Why would you want it to? I asked myself these questions over and over again, but truly I know with every bit of me that I have no intention of being with Pan again or facing the unhappy reality that would be my life with him. So why then was I holding on?
Sunday night and a jar of Nutella, I sat on my bed and decided that it was time. I don’t know what made me believe that this particular moment was the moment I was going to change my number, but I suppose the chocolaty coma numbed my thoughts enough to do it. So I texted Mervet about instructions on how to change my number myself and avoid a charge, so she walked me through the steps and just as I was about to choose a new one, I stopped myself. The thought that this would officially mark the end of the story that was once Pan and Me and cut off all forms of communication, now weighed on me. I would not give him my number again and so this was it! I could either spend my life staring at the phone hoping to see something that would give me hope, or I could change it and be done with us. The decision was one I wrestled with for nearly an hour as I just scrolled up and down the available numbers hoping and praying clarity would come. Suddenly my phone chimed. It was Pan.
22k followers?!?! Wallah I’m so fucking proud of you, it read. He went on to say how well he believed I was doing for myself and that I was “a star” and that I “always have been.” I must have re-read this message over a hundred times easily. Then I cried. Not because I prayed to hear what he said or because it touched my soul in some way that made me believe that I should hold on a little longer, but simply because it wasn’t the text I wanted. An apology, confirmation, acknowledgment; that’s what I deserved. Not his praise. Especially since not one bit of it touched me in a way that made me the least bit happy.
I prayed for clarity as I have since the day I decided to say goodbye to Pan.
My phone rang. It was Sumiah. She couldn’t have been calling at a better time. Through tears I told her that he had texted.
“What the fuck is wrong with this guy?” she asked. “What twisted fucking game is he playing. He’s proud of you like his pride in you means shit. Why haven’t you changed your number?”
“Wallah I was just about to, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it and then he texts.”
“It’s not naseeb, Faiza,” said Sumiah. I believed she was afraid that my being such a hopeless romantic, might see Pan’s text as some sort of sign from God that we were meant to be together, rather than apart. “Change your number habibti. Do it now. This guy is garbage trust me.” I didn’t know that her reason for saying this was the very reason she called me. Sumiah went on to explain the news she had recently found out. You know, all the things you find out about your ex after you say goodbye, that’s suppose to make you realize why you made the right decision.
Of course I was taken aback, but not the least bit surprised. Pan was always a little boy wanting to run free and explore Neverland leaving logic and reason behind. I loved it for a while. I did. But that light went out and off to reality I went and off back to Neverland went Pan to join his friends both old and new.
Hearing this news made me wonder why is it that we always need to hear the things we never expected in order to let go of the things we never expected to lose? Are we stubbornly clinging to hope that the only way to really let go is having the rope cut? Are we simply hopeless romantics? Or are we masochists that enjoy the temporary thrill and pain that accompanies the realization that the man you thought you loved was simply a figment of your imagination?
But that light went out and off to reality I went and off back to Neverland went Pan…
Sumiah apologized if the news hurt me, but I assured her that it did the exact opposite. If anything it served as clarity from God that I was in fact on the right path. That saying goodbye to Pan and that number was exactly what I needed to do. He and I were on two different paths. Where he’s going, I don’t want to follow. And where I’m headed, he never wanted to follow. And so goodbye was really the only word left to say.
A part of me wanted to ignore his text not only because of Sumiah, but because the bitter and angry part of me wanted to leave him hanging and say “Fuck you and your well wishes!” But that was Pan. Not me. I hope it never is- even when I’m bitter.
So I texted him back and said, “I appreciate your message and your well wishes.” He began typing back right away, which would have once excited me to know that I meant that much to him that he was texting back so promptly. Now it did nothing! It didn’t touch my soul. It didn’t excite me. In fact I felt myself consumed with anger, disappointment, but mostly complete and utter disgust towards him.
He said I was welcome and once again reiterated how proud of me he was. Making sure to add in a Wallah (I swear to God) at the end to really drive his point home.
The conversation was over. Our relationship even more over then over can get. I knew now as I have so many times before, that our story was coming to an official end. It didn’t matter what I was holding on to and I guess it’s the same for every woman dealing with heartbreak. We all hold on to something, someone, or a memory that is so rooted in our minds that it cannot get out. Sometimes we hold on to things that are good for us, other times things that are simply just not right, in fact outright bad. And sometimes because of this, we need that slap of reality to say to ourselves, it’s time to severe the cord. To face the pain of goodbye forever and for good! Why? Because as hard is it may be for some, that person, that thing, that moment was never meant to be ours forever. It was there for a moment. In Pan and my case almost three years. But time in means nothing, especially when the time out is permanent.
Our relationship even more over then over can get.
I knew now that Pan and I were going to be strangers. Except there would be no possibility of ever becoming reacquainted. There were no words left to say. No more feelings left to give. Nothing! Only goodbye!
I found a number that said I’m single, I’m sexy, I’m smart and sweet, but don’t fuck with me, but mostly it said to me “New beginning.” The beginning I have needed for seven months. The beginning I have willingly chosen to not give myself emotionally because I refused to let go of Pan. The beginning that was now that much brighter, simply because he was now no longer in it.