Journey (Part 4)

Click here for part 3! JazakAllah khair!

As the semester was coming to a close it meant Malaika’s time with me at school was almost up. We were all hoping she would actually graduate this time. The very last day, the day of her graduation which she graciously did not attend, was spent together. We prayed next to one another in peaceful silence. We talked as she packed her things. She opened up to me about her life and her deepest thoughts. Sensing this feeling of trust between us, I took a leap of faith and told her about myself and my struggles as an LGBTQ Muslim. I told her how I came to the decision on why it was wrong and how I accepted it as my test. And she hugged me and told me she could not imagine how difficult it is to struggle this way. That night would forever mean something deeply profound to the both of us.

After that night, something changed. Rather, something had been culminating since the moment we met. One day, she started talking strangely, almost like she were throwing out excuses. She kept saying how sorry she was while she was determined to push me away. Her concern was not for herself, however, her concern was for me and my want to keep a pure and well-intentioned friendship between us. I knew her fear then. I was so dumbfounded, I actually laughed. There I was, completely in love with my best friend, so determined to never let her gather even a hint of my feelings towards her and she had begun to develop feelings for me. I refused to let her push me away. She tried to assure me that the feelings were fleeting and would not last and I tried to assure her that she was probably right.

A couple weeks following that night, Malaika fished it out of me. It seemed almost pointless as I could tell she already suspected my feelings for some time. I told her the truth about my love for her and she was not surprised. At the same time, somewhere in the back of my mind, I already knew her feelings for me would not just fade away. Of course, she would not yet confess this to me until school started back up again. A part of me was excited, knowing perhaps I was not alone in my emotional roller coaster, while another part wondered what this would mean for our relationship.

She had never before felt this way for another girl, she told me. Although, defining herself or labeling her orientation at this point was not really important. We both showed one another care, love, and support as we always had. Nothing had really changed. It was just a growing love that we had for one another and I have no doubt that the only way it continued to be nurtured was through the compassion and blessing of Allah. I would be lying if I said it was all incredibly easy to move past. The beginning was particularly tricky. We would hold hands and allow a kiss on the cheek, but resisting the temptation of having one another when we could have easily indulged in that possibility was always a danger to our teetering relationship. We refused to kiss one another, convinced that crossing that boundary would utterly shatter any chances of our friendship remaining intact. The need to please Allah gradually became more important than any desire to please one another. It was just that simple. And this was the distinguishing mark between this love I had with Malaika and the love I had in the past or might have had with anyone else. We were on the same page. We enhanced one another’s level of faith by constantly serving as a reminder for one another. When one grew weak in heart, the other grew a little bit stronger and held us both up in decency and resolve.

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