Once I began falling in love, whether as Maya the character or Maya the author, I no longer know. Circumstance threw us together in work. And so we worked. Diligently. Our collaboration grew, as did the frequency of our interactions. Within a few months, work conversations flowed into revelations to each other about our lives. He had been hurt, he told me one day. Badly betrayed. And so he had decided to never seek the intimate companionship of a woman ever again. I listened patiently as he narrated his trauma to me.
When he had nothing left to say and despair had taken his voice hostage, I said gently to him, “Not all women are the same.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he replied. “I will never trust another woman as long as I live.”
Weeks passed by. Our friendship deepened. He began sending me greetings each morning and bidding me adieu each night. He called me frequently, once a day in the beginning, but then as time passed by, several times a day. Unsolicited, he accounted for his time and his whereabouts. One day, I asked him why he talked to me so much.
“We work together,” he answered. “It’s necessary.”
“But our project ended weeks ago,” I reminded him gently.
“Well, I consider you a good friend.”
“Do you realize that I’m a woman?”
“I see you as a human being, not as a woman.”
I refused to be deterred, “Do you have other friends who are women?”
“No, you are the only one.”