Written by Alaa (aka Lols)

Room 22 stole their souls away and left them stranded in a loveless world.
Room 22 stole their souls away and left them stranded in a loveless world.

The story starts almost 4 years ago. The 17 year old was just starting her journey through college life. Innocent, excited and nervous, she was entering a new phase of life unaware of what lay ahead of her. She was looking to start over, to redefine herself and explore what university had to offer.

One day, she happened to stumble upon a group of students promoting an activity. The chance to meet up with new people was in the horizon and she took it, right off the ledge. She signed on, set an appointment for the interview process and went home with a smile and a fiery determination.

As for the boy, he was a junior – the year before the big “G” – trying to find success and a life worthy of his good nature. He was in one of the major posts of that same student activity. One day, he passed by the info desk, took a look off the chart of interviews to see who will be his next victim and found the girl waiting for her turn. She was ready to prove herself. They met, eyes locked and smiled. They proceeded upstairs to the infamous room 22 where the interviews were held. They sat, facing each other. He took out his questions; she took out her charm and potential. A grueling one hour or so passed with not a single smile on his dead serious face but with every bit of playfulness in a child showing off his new toy. It was as if the world revolved around those two in that one hour.

A year later, as Beyoncé sang, he “put a ring on it”. The two finally got engaged and their friends couldn’t be happier. They started to plan for the big day even before the two families talked details. The best men were set. The bride’s maids and maid of honor were picked. All that was left was the wedding itself to be planned. It was a dream-come-true for the girl. Her fiancé was popular, witty, sharp and funny. He was caring in his own way, loved her immensely and was ready to offer her the galaxy at her beckoning.

He too seemed to have hit the jackpot. She was the love of his life; she could read him with just one look, loved him unconditionally and was willing to do anything to keep him happy. Their friends called them the “Power Couple”. Whenever they were around them, nothing but glee and joy could be felt in their gathering. Everyone wished the wedding would come soon.

Another year has passed. The “dream-come-true” turned into a nightmare. The couple slowly lost their power status. The young man, now a graduate, slowly slipped away. Under the pressure of his newly gained responsibilities, he started to grow distant from his love. He realized he preferred the care free bachelor life, with limited exposure to the inevitable curse of growing up and becoming a man. With his apparent shift in nature, the girl started to lose her soul bit by painful bit. She too found herself under a different kind of pressure. She was the only heroine defending their relationship in the face of her now skeptical parents, friends and in-laws. She was fighting as hard as she could for her relationship. He on the hard hand, did very little to save his love and commitment from the torrential waves of failure. The effort he put relative to his fiancée’s was nothing. He chose to have a passive attitude.

Little by little, the young woman turned into a broken soul. The young man took on a childish irresponsible skin. He lost his way completely, envying other people’s freedom. Two years they were stuck in a whirlpool of fighting, break-ups, bickering, tension, lies and manipulation. Eventually, the doomed love story succumbed to failure. The young woman had her heart broken too many times within the last two years; all that was left of it were shards of regret. The last she heard of her now ex-fiancé was the words she thought she’d never hear from his lips “This can’t go any further. I can’t take it anymore…”

The promise of love, protection, perseverance and commitment was annihilated within those four years. The young man lost everything he held dear the day he spoke those words. He lost the one soul who cared enough to actually give him not one, not two but three chances at redemption. No one would come to love him the way she did. As it so happens, ten years from the day they broke up, as he gloomily walked by with his wife and two kids, he noticed her coming out of the restaurant they used to go to. She was beautiful still, laughing and enjoying her life with her new husband joking around with her and their small little girl. His eyes shone when he saw her. She passed by, unnoticing of his presence.