I’m sleepless in Beirut.
I was travelling in a couple of days to join my family for Christmas vacation, so the plan for that Saturday night was to have lots and lots of memorable fun.
I picked up The Pope, and we headed straight to the Mashrou3a Leila concert.
We arrived late of course; punctuality is not my forte. The place was packed, the energy was unbelievable; you could almost touch it.
Since The Pope and I were still at the very beginning of our “being together in public”, I let him have his space, while I danced and mingled, my feet on fire. Frankly, I never enjoyed dancing with him; we could never seem to find the right rhythm or the right fit, except for that one occasion at Acid…
In an hour or so, Mr. Nawfal started directing us towards the exit. The party was to go on. I was still bobbing my head to the beats as we drove to Gemmayzeh.
BTGD was packed with the same faces that we saw at the concert and that we usually see anyway. The Pope’s friends were there, people I didn’t yet know, and I unwilling to make conversation over loud music, remained with my group of friends.
As the night went on, The Pope was still not by my side. I scanned the room to see where he had disappeared to. He wasn’t far ahead, making casual conversation with some girl. I was always amazed by his ability to make friends wherever he would go. He was magnetic.
A friend of mine noticed the two of them and commented on the girl in red: she’s so sexy, isn’t she? I always see her talking to a different guy each night. She’s on such an ego trip. She tried to flirt with me, but I didn’t give her any face. I don’t like girls like that.
Well, neither did I.
What were my options? Walk over and break up their conversation and appear like the jealous girlfriend? Or, leave them to it and hope that not all women are Eve and evil?
I chose the latter. I was always convinced that if you start acting paranoid and possessive, it will work against you.
So I preoccupied myself with watching my drunken friends’ antics and checking up on the two of them every now and then.
Beyonce was crazy in love by now, and from where I was looking, they were standing closer. The Pope looked at me, I smiled and thought that I had taken care of it. I had let him know that I was thinking about him.
A couple of moments later, they had disappeared from my view. Alert.
They were not outside. They were not anywhere near the bathroom, nor in the women’s cubicle, nor in the men’s. After having taken several lessons in the history of The Pope, I knew that nothing was off limits for this sex god. As a matter of fact, he could start a blog of his own and place his bets on an early retirement. Too many stories.
They were at the bar.
The Pope’s back was towards me, so I gave him a playful tickle. Patient: unresponsive.
I was leaning forward to put my chin on his shoulder when I witnessed the unthinkable act: The Pope and La Connasse commiting lingular blasphemy.
I marched straight out the door, sat down on the steps, got straight back up, went right back in, walked straight to The Pope, in front of La Connasse, kissed him oh so sweetly and debouched back into the street.
My friend saw the state I was in, so he dove after me. We walked to my car, while he preached great truths about how The Pope wasn’t man enough, wasn’t mature enough and wasn’t worth the half of me.
“Let us see how he manages without me now. His stuff is in my car, his stuff is in my house, let us see how he’ll manage now. Yalla, let us see.”
As we were getting into the car, from the corner of my eye I saw Judas running down the street towards us.
I hurried my friend to get in as fast as he could. We shut the doors. I locked them. I turned the ignition key, put my gear in reverse, pressed hard on the pedal, changed gears again and turned from the parking space. The Pope had caught up, he was now banging on the passenger window, shouting my name as I started driving forward. The Pope then grabbed unto the roof bars, jumped unto the little step that sticks from beneath the car door and we were one, in perfect kinetic harmony, roaring down the street.
Naturally, I wanted to keep on driving, but fortunately, my friend, made it very clear to me that I would have the boy killed. So I stopped the car, The Pope clambered off and I rolled down my window.
“J-j-j-j-j-j-je p-p-p-p-p-peux te parler?”, he said panting.
After a moment’s consideration, I couldn’t find it in me to just leave him like that. He looked like an illustration of “pitiable”.
I thanked my friend for coming along, we hugged and I got back into the car. I started driving.
“J-j-j-je suis desole”
He looked a right mess, and for a moment there, I believed him. Well, I did believe him; there was much to be sorry about.
He made me stop the car so we could talk. I thought there was nothing to talk about. What was done was done. It was irreversible.
“Je suis desole. Je sais pas.”
The funny part was that in less than half an hour I was smiling. It was just the right amount of comical for my sense of humour and I had to indulge. I saw the situation for what it was and I understood it.
He thought I didn’t care enough to break up their conversation.
I thought he was just making friends.
He thought that was stupid because I knew how much attention he attracts.
I thought that was normal for his age and since we hadn’t really laid down any grounds for our relationship (“do whatever you want, as long as I don’t find out” – you can quote me on this jewel of a line, please), it didn’t come as such a big shock. The saddest part of all was that were I in his place, I would have done the same. As long as there is no love, we owe nothing to the other person, except respect. And it was in that precise department, that he was up to his ears in debt.
Of course, what followed next was a speech about how deeply he was sorry, that he would understand if I never wanted to see him again, that he was sorry he disrespected me, that in fact he respected me very much, more than himself actually and that he really enjoyed my company.
“Je suis bien avec toi”
Well, that was a first. He had never said anything of the sort before. It was a much appreciated upgrade from “je ne suis pas ici pour faire des relations”.
We arrived home.
“Good luck”, I said as he walked in after me.
I went to brush my teeth. He sat on the bed, not knowing what to make of it.
That night we had our first sincere conversation about how we felt for one another, and in a way that made up for the whole thing. Here was a guy I got along with really well, who inspired me to be the best I could be, who was great company, who was going to leave in a couple of months, so I pondered: what did I have to lose?
I saw it as an opportunity to learn something about myself by being in a relationship with a set expiry date. It would be another one of my social experiments.
“Un regard doux sur les barbares”, wrote Gymnase. And now I could see why.
Mais un regard vicieux pour La Connasse!
I knew she wasn’t to blame, I knew it was The Pope who had to say “No” (“I told her – twice – that my girlfriend was in the room. She kissed me!” He was good with numbers like that, Einstein.), but I had forgiven him, and I had to release the anger somehow. So the next time I was on a girls’ night out in BTGD, I was 31 going on 13, pointing her way and turning my friends’ ears red with female solidarity. Anger is a force that blinds and my creative tactics didn’t go beyond high-school shoves and squinty stares.
So I’m officially letting go. Pope: Amen. La Connasse: God blitz. May peace reign behind the green door.