I'm sleepless in Beirut.
I just woke up in the gutter. I want to go back to sleep and forget that I have a body, that I live in a house, that I live amongst other people. My state of being is perpendicular to my state of existing.
I am at peace within, nestling softly in the pillows of Imaginary Extraordinary Him's midnight songs and cellular poetry and tender sweet-talk before bedtime. Yet, I wake up to a bird-nest hairdo, crusty mascara, crackling bones, glued-up skin and Babylon towers of cat shit and swamps of cat sick and the humid breath of the summer beast and the spews of rage from an overflowing washing machine; physical evidence of a hangover clash with memories of a sober night.
The harmony of a divine ritual of bathing in the pure springs of intellect is suddenly broken by the clumsy gallop of a dumb body running around aimlessly, like a headless chicken, and tipping over buckets of hormones that taint pure-white fields with ammonia-yellow. I wish to lose my senses. I wish for smoke without the vulgarity of a cigarette stick.
Whisk me away into a pure night where we are naked and bodiless.
I remember the night I met Capitalyst...
But let me start at the beginning.
I decided to break things off with my boyfriend at the time. He was a man, a smart-talking boy rather, in a perpetual state of PMS. I had my own share to deal with.
We hadn't seen each other for over a week. He was busy, I was busy, but it was necessary to establish the end of the affair immediately. That night he was filling for his friend at a bar in Gemmayze, and I unwilling to appear little and cowardly, went down to see him.
He was happy to see me. The place was packed. I sat at the bar to wait for the orders to slow down.
The breaks in the sizzle of Latin beats were filled with "economy", "stocks" and "Middle Eastern market" exhaled by the two men sitting next to me.
One of them turned to me, "What do you think of Dubai?", as though knowing that I had lived there.
I regurgitated an answer that I had composed for such occasions: something about the wearing thin of the glamour-effect, lack of soul, the sidewalk deficit...
He pressed on further, "What about its economy?", and that's where he lost me. I couldn't avoid appearing ignorant, but I hoped to do it nobly, "I'm sorry, but I find nothing more boring than talking about economics"
He answered, "Me either, we were bored until you came along".
"What do you do?", I inquired - it seemed that PMSboy would be mixing drinks for a while.
"My friend here works at the stock exchange in New York, but I work with Sukleen. In fact, my shift starts after midnight."
"Did you just say that to see whether I will still talk to you if you're a garbageman?"
"Yes, I'm looking for a wife."
"I'm here to lose a potential husband."
We talked for a little longer. They must have established that I was too young for them; there wasn't much flirting going on, only niceness. PMSboy motioned for me to meet him outside.
"I have to go. It was nice meeting you both."
"I think you would like my nephew. He writes here and there, you should check him out on one of his websites." He gave me the link.
"I will do that", I smiled.
"I don't really work for Sukleen."
"I gathered this much."
He showed me his card, "General Manager of Bank X". Funny man.
Outside, I told PMSboy that it was obviously over. We wished each other the best, hugged and I walked away. Khaiii, nice and clean.
Once home, I typed in the link. I loved it. I sent him this [gotta love Gmail archives!]:
Here was his reply:
"Finally," I thought.
The next day I was pleased to find an second message from him.
I must have squealed with joy. I had only been living here for a couple of months and I had, not without defeat, given up on the idea of meeting people who attended concertos. Never was I more overjoyed with being proved wrong!
I had to refuse his invitation, but we continued writing to one another for a week or so. By then, the stranger was perfect, and it was time to burst the bubble.
I'll be at Cloud 9 with a couple of friends. Look out for a yellow trench coat.
I'll be wearing yellow shoes.
My cousin picked me up and we went to Cloud 9 as planned. It was one of those nights of forced conversation and forced laughter. Back then, I felt it my duty to try and fit in. Fortunately, those friendships have been put to rest. Amen to that!
I bounced a little as a guy plonked down beside me on the low velvet sofa. It was Capitalyst in his black frame non-rapist glasses and yellow shoes. I introduced him as a friend, which was more loose definition than lie.
Was it awkward meeting someone I only knew through letters?
Not as awkward as an arranged marriage, a blind date or having drinks with people you'd easily pass up for a good book. I immediately felt myself switch courts, Empty Banter & co. vs. Perfect Strangers.
I had promised my ex, who was with us that night, to come with him to Batroun for his friend's birthday. The nature of the promise is enough to indicate how desperate for company I was in those days. Don't get me wrong, I love Batroun, but for its narrow streets, accessible rooftops and rock pools, NOT its nightlife.
I asked whether Capitalyst wanted to come along, and was I grateful that he did. He followed us all the way to Batroun, not without comments from my ex about Capitalyst's sinusoidal driving skillz.
Naturally, the club was bearable for a limited amount of time. As soon as the cake arrived, we excused ourselves. Capitalyst offered to drive me home...
...and as horror movies go, he turned the car in the opposite direction.
"Where are we going?"
"You have to trust me. Do you trust me?"
He'll kill me if I do, he'll kill me if I don't, there was only one way out of this and it was to listen to the voice within and not to fall victim to Hollywood fiction. I guess I've been lucky; I still believe in the good of the people.
We drove off into the night, into the Hamet tunnel, past Chekka, and into the surrounding mountains. There was a bit of Coldplay and a lot of laughter. We were two minds copulating, writhing with joy at having come together. It felt pure. It felt sincere. It felt like fitting in. It felt like an iTunes visualizer.
This lightness, this incorporality, this transcending of what is tangible, this flow of spirit, this is the highest degree of human interaction and if you don't know what I am talking about, then that is what is missing and I wish for you to find it.
I found it with Lulu, I found it with Capitalyst, I found it with Imaginary Extraordinary Him. It's out there.