I first saw you in the Jazira restaurant on a warm afternoon. I was a first-year law student. The exact year escapes me, but I remember the untimely appearance of the Gu’ season and what we wore that day. I was wearing brown trousers, a plaid shirt, and light brown sandals. Your style was more regal. You were wearing a vibrant red and gold gabasaar with a red-brown and yellow floral dirac that elegantly draped your lengthy torso and fell gently around your feet. Your head was wrapped in a turban-style tageer that was so fashionable at the time. Your mannerisms exuded elegance and refinement that is taught through upbringing.
You were with your friends. That didn’t deter us from making brief eye contact, and you flashing me a shy but infectious smile. But it also exposed our timidness. Our shared eye contact became like a whisper — fleeting, tentative, uncertain, nervous. On a typical day, I’m guarded by my timidness, so I quietly resign to my internal negative thoughts. But on that day, I broke barriers, and I hope my overenthusiastic demeanor didn’t startle you when I approached you. It was an extraordinary day/moment for me.
I asked you out, and much to the reluctance of your friends, you said yes. I picked you up on that same evening. We dined at the same restaurant we met earlier. You were a first-year student at the College of Education at Lafoole University. You told me that you wanted to be a ‘revolutionary educator’. I must admit, at the time, I never really understood what that meant but marvelling at the way your eyes flashed when you talked about teaching made me realise that you were working on something big. Whilst your aspiration was more grassroots, I wanted to get away—work for some law firm in Europe.
We took a walk on the idyllic white beach of Jazira, listening to the ocean waves flapping on the shoreline. I remember you suddenly cupping your right hand and scooping up a bit of sand and then teasing me on how I could leave this beauty behind. We talked for hours about our lives, our hopes, our seemingly separate dreams. No doubt that’s when I fell in love with you. You had the persuasive charm to still my wariness, an intelligence I still long for to this day. The following six months were nothing short of glorious. We talked every day and saw each other at least twice a week. We expressed our love for each other, and I made my intention clear to marry you once I’m stable financially. One day, you told me that you were going on a holiday to Dubai. Two months later, I received your letter. For a long time, I couldn’t accept when you told me that your family wanted to stay there indefinitely. I wrote you back, including a marriage proposal. You never responded. Since then, I have sent you dozens of letters with no reply. I initially suspected that you changed address, and against better judgment, I still like to believe that was the case.
A lot of things have happened since then, including love and loss. I was married for 32 years and became a widow four years ago. She was my best friend and brought me lots of joy and happiness. We never had any children, but God had better plans for us. I have had a successful career as a lawyer, a great deal of it was in Somalia – forgoing my initial plan to move to Italy. The Somali Civil War never dented my aspirations, but I still remain deep within grief for my country. Those special six months with you remain engraved in my mind and heart as one of my happiest memories, and I still fondly hark back on these moments. I hope life is treating you kindly.A nephew of mine told me recently that social media is the perfect place to locate someone you lost contact with. So, if you ever see this and are still single, my proposal still stands.