Towards the end of each semester, I get emails from students – mainly girls – who chose me, my website, or my book as their graduation project. Some of them would interview me over Skype, others preferred to email me the questions, and very few interviewed me in person.
I am used to all sorts of interviews and all kinds of interviewers; the cooperative, the supportive, the passive aggressive, the ignorant, the staged, the hog, the insecure, the showy, or the let’s-get-it-done-with type. Until I met this girl! Let’s call her Nada.
A few months after her 19th birthday, Nada and I met in a café downtown. I arrived early – like I always do – because I am an observer. Sitting there with my shisha and tea, I watched Nada walk into the café; a skinny little figure with no distinctive features approached me and as she pulled her chair she paused, glanced at me, and said: “Are you ready for me, Marwa?”
I thought I was!
I was not!
After the initial chit-chat, Nada looked me in the eye and asked me: “What is love?”
I gave her the happy go lucky version saying: “love is the best feeling in the world”
She was not satisfied and asked me to elaborate. I gave her the scientific version mentioning all the stages of attraction and the chemical reactions that we experience – and call them love.
Nada gave me that face – a face that I cannot put in words – and told me that she was surprised that the relationships and dating writer did not know what love was. She told me that she did not want the textbook definitions and that she was asking about my personal definition out of my personal experience using my own words.
I thought of him!
Love is: When the thought of a certain person puts an immediate smile on your face.
Love is: No matter how angry you are, you can still find it in your heart to forgive that person.
Love is: Being with that person is a need – like the need to sleep, eat, or breathe – not a luxury or something you do when you have time.
Love is: Not knowing where you start and where he ends; you no longer know what is “you” and what is “him”.
Love is: When you have taken a part of him that will stay with you forever, and when you have given him a part of yourself that will never be yours again.
Love is: When deep down you know how lucky you are to be with that person.
Love is: When your differences bring you closer instead of pushing you apart.
Love is: When looking stupid and feeling foolish no longer makes you worry.
Love is … Love is …
I stopped and asked Nada to stop recording. I picked up my phone and dialed the first number on my most recent calls. He picked up.
“I love you, babe!” I said and I hung up after I heard him smile.