A Broken Promise

Many years ago, a friend of mine from Jordan fell in love with a girl.

It was a glorious day, of course, for his happiness was so profound I felt my messenger window quake with awe, and that was when it barely had a few emoticons.

The love blossomed between them, and, as I was a young little lad, they loved me to bits, each talking to me privately and telling me the secrets of the significant other and the affection between them. Naughty boy that I was, I used these to my advantage to extract more info out of them. Hehehe… never mess with a kid!

The year passed, and the guy decided to propose. I was very excited, of course. To see that love finally going somewhere… the best place for love to settle!

Then she told me a secret.

She told me she was ill.

I didn’t know what to do, or how to think or react. I said nothing, but the usual. I asked about the cause, the reasons, where was it going, if she was going to tell her significant other.

She didn’t know, either.

The guy talked to me, telling me she was acting strange… suddenly going on a Europe tour with her family. But he said she probably needed a break, or was a bit worried… you never know what is up with women!

But I knew.

We spoke, her and I, later on, and she told me to take care of the guy, whatever happens. That was the last I heard of her.

When the news broke out, he was devastated, utterly and totally. He was lost, for quite a while, not knowing how to proceed or go on with his life. I stayed by his side for quite some time, until he was feeling better, the following year.

Time passed, and we each went on with our way, like many friendships do. I always felt a burden, that I have to take care of him always. It was a dying woman’s wish… how could I not honor it, forever?

Last year I was in Jordan. I thought of him. I knew he was somewhere between Jordan and Riyadh… I didn’t know where he was, back then. I still, somehow, carry the weight of the burden. We hooked up again, found each other on Facebook and on email. But I can’t dare to talk about an issue so long ago, or how to act, or do, or be friends like we used to be back then.

I broke a promise, my first of some, and each promise I break carries a huge weight with it. I sit and wonder sometimes what attaches me to places, to people, to cities and countries.

And then I remember a poem by Robert Frost entitled Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, which has touched me back in school profoundly I remember it till now. The last lines of it read:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.