Sheila is a neat freak and almost always deletes her e-mails as soon as she's read and answered them. In the time of Gmail that would make little sense but she's a creature of old habit and never really got the point of unlimited mail storage. There is an exception to the rule though. There are several hundred undeleted mails to and from Yaman from three years ago. Sometimes, she reads them again trying to relive the moment, to think like the person she must have been then or have been transformed into from falling in love with Yaman.
In one mail to him, she wrote :
How does one learn not to see the new in the light of the old ? Is it a problem unique to sentimental fools such as I ? Do I merely glamorize the past because it makes me feel less cheated - gives back my life its lost body ?
I think I'm just too scared to try in earnest - giving the relationship my very best, be the perfect lover and friend to the beloved - because that is the only way I would know to give. I fear that if I do I may squander the love that I have left to give, that someone would have the power to hurt me again.
I see my girl-friends both American and sub-continental drift from man to man, bedroom to
bedroom hoping to strike that right chord that will set one apart from the crowd.. How they suffer - how the woman inside cringes at the feeling of being used and disposed…but it's not wholly true - it is an equal and adult relationship. Women are perhaps conditioned to think of themselves as used - men probably less so...Time flows are different rates for men and women and they seek different denouements.
I hear the excitement in their voices when they finally meet a man who feels just perfect - it's touching to see them so much in love. I pray for them that it is for real and will last - that they don't feel miserable when on a Friday night they don't have a date and have to call girl-friends long distance to cry ease the misery..
And he had replied.
I notice that you use “perfect”, “best” quite often. Sink away from those superlatives, and life could be so much simpler you know. As you draw me into this exchange of ideas and thoughts, and I enjoy it, I am also faced with mixed emotions. In all of my adult years , I have never, I mean “Never”, exchanged thoughts (and emails) so freely with someone. And it makes me uneasy … there has always been the hope that one would find someone that can tango and dance the dance with you … and when the hope suddenly starts to bear fruits, you also realize that it may not lead anywhere. One pulls back in fear of being hurt again; once bitten, twice shy. Sometimes the will can be so strong to make me so spontaneous that will border on stupidity, but getting to exercising that will is thirty five years of experience. So when I decide to will something, I exercise much thought before I pull the trigger. But I balk at the prospects too like any other human being …you go out on a limb, and then … the pain sets in again. I don’t know what to do. You have put me in a predicament!
Logging out of her mailbox she asks herself the question she has asked herself many times in the past three years - how could love transform, regenerate and then just leave like it were a dream. The mails exchanged with Yaman are the only tangible proof she has left of their time together. The gifts don't count - the Lenox flower vase from the first flowers he had sent her, the cellphone that she now uses as her alarm clock or the silk scarf with a delicate swan pattern could have come to her from anyone or anywhere else - they don't bear "Yaman" in their signature like his mails do. She wonders if he remembers her too.