(Lunch hour, corporate life, somewhere in Dubai)
"I'd met this girl who really changed me. I've become a better person. I've never been the same since I met her."
"Oh, wow, great, are you still together?"
"Oh. Well, I hope you'll find someone like her soon."
"There's no one like her. I'll never find anyone like her I know it."
Silence. Nobody at the table says anything. More salad chewing and water sipping.
"So... Why did you break up? Sorry I know I'm nosy like that, but you can totally refrain from answering,"
"There was no future."
"What do you mean?" I ask, and I already know what's coming.
"We're not the same religion. There's no future."
Everyone at the table nods in agreement. All I manage is, "Oh."
But then of course, I couldn't shut my face. I had to say something more.
"So you left each other because of religious differences? But you love the girl right?"
"umm.... well... lovED. Not anymore. We were together 5 years. I was 17 anyway. Too young and then after 5 years we realized, what are we doing?!"
"ahuh... I see.. loved. ok." Of course I wanted to ask if he regretted it, if he thinks what he did was the stupidest thing he's ever done, if he'd rather go back in time just to have one more moment with her, if he could go back would he do it all differently. Of course I never asked those things. But somehow maybe he read my mind. My very loud and (apparently) awful, liberal mind.
"She's gotten married. So anyway it doesn't matter anymore."
Of course. Too late. And there's really nothing worse than too late.
I did it again. I found myself yapping on and on in the middle of a conversation about relationships and break ups and, here it comes, the r-word: religion. That man-made fictionalized invention that is supposed to make us "better" people.
Like a traffic light makes us better poeple because there's no way we could figure out our own safety and what it means to be organized, on our own. Like stoning women makes us better people, like confessions at the church makes us better people, only till the next time we mess it all up again. Like punishment and fear and separation makes us better people.
J. Swift said it best when he said, "We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."
And my rant will go on.