I'm sleepless in Beirut.
Not even two weeks into my resolution and I'm already being challenged. Severely.
I had resolved to give up my habit of "falling in love". A habit, yes, because up until now I seem to have fallen all over the place. After London, it dawned on me that I had to venture out on my own into this world, undistracted, and do a little "soul searching, soul finding". No more guys. I will spend an entire year bettering myself, learning, growing, concentrating on doing what I love and eliminating what I hate. No more guys.
So when Belle proposed we go watch a live band earlier on tonight, I asked myself, "Do I really want to go? Will it add value to my life?". I love live music and I looove good live performances. They feed my soul. As opposed to nightclubs, which deplete it. It was a definite yes.
I arrived to Bar Louie as the band were getting up on stage. And oh how the blues sent chills down my spine! They won me over with the first few notes and enraptured me the entire evening. Belle and I kept exchanging knowing glances, "Great act!", "The guitarist is hot.", "What a voice!", "Ooooh, harmonica!" and the like.
That would have been a perfectly magical evening. Me. Good company. The band. The music.
But no, they call up a guest performer to the stage, some stiff figure who doesn't look like he really wants to be there.
He turns around, and I could've sworn it was Lulu (post twenty-one, post twenty-two). Stiff Figure looked so much like the man who had once stolen my heart. How could this Lebanese Stiff Figure resemble Lulu, who was of Ukrainian origin? One thing we, the Lebanese, are endowed with is our ability to pass off for a number of many different nationalities. I guess those virile Phoenicians traded more than just spice...
And just like I couldn't look away from Lulu, I couldn't look away from Stiff Figure. He had the same contrast of dark hair against light coloured eyes, he had the same chest, waist and bicep girth, he had the same metallic flash of pendant against hair-free chest, he did have less confidence on stage (but Lulu was an actor)...but boy did he have the same intensity when he looked over my way!
Throughout his performance, I kept on eyeing him, he kept on throwing me glances and the sway of the blues crept its way deeper and deeper into my body.
After about five songs, he was done. We all clapped for Stiff Figure and he descended to rejoin the audience. He lingered for a moment around our table, but I was isolated by a moat of friends. I then saw him leave Bar Louie. "Damn it", I thought "this is what you get for letting yourself slip, now the remainder of the night you'll be thinking - what if?". I was spared that particular torture. I looked through the window, he was still standing outside. Did he expect me to follow him? Riiight. I don't think so. This entire episode shouldn't be happening in the first place and I'm not about to fuel the fire. He lingered outside for a little longer and then went back in, looked at me and disappeared into the crowd.
"I'll allow myself one little stick of firewood". The bold me went to the washroom. He was standing there, talking to a friend, looking less stiff and looking over.
I said, "Hi" and went into the ladies'. And on the way back, because Bar Louie is a tight space, I brushed past him. Slightly, mind you.
Within minutes, he was back at my table and somehow the moat of friends had reconfigured itself and he slipped through the bridge of empty space and sat down beside me.
We talked about this and that. The usual. Name? What do you do? Do you like this kind of music? Do you come around here often? And then the ultimate: do you have a number I could contact you on? You gotta hate that line, it's a killer. It's a killer of romance. So I killed it instead,
"How about you give me yours."
I memorised it. If there's anything worse than that line, it's the bright glow of a phone in a dimly lit venue that screams, everyone look! They met in a bar!
So now it's the next day and I can't get him off my mind and I'm angry with myself for having dropped down my guard, for not sticking with my resolution, but I will probably make the phone call after I publish this post.