I’m on a roll today in Beirut.
My parents were back in town and after a long humid day of shopping, we stopped for a coffee at Gordon’s. My dad was losing my mom’s attention with an historical political story, while I was grumpy that he hadn’t liked my new long black dress. Aren’t fathers supposed to like length?
“Sleepless!” boomed a voice from beyond our table. “How are you?!”
Oh dear destiny, why now and why him. Act normal; do not arouse suspicion in the elders.
“Hey, I’m good. How are you? Long time. What are you doing here?”
“I’m renting a room here for a couple of days and then I’ll be traveling.”
“Mom, Dad, this is Kavinsky. My parents.”
“Hello, nice to meet you. So what have you been up to these days?”
“Spending time with the family, yeah... Well, it was nice to see you.”
“You too, take care.”
As soon as Kavinsky was out of earshot, my dad asked “Min hay?”
“He’s a friend. Remember that dinner party I went to?”
“La2, I mean, min hay?”
I elaborated a little and to my utter surprise my father relaxed.
“They are such a nice family. We met with his parents once on business; they have a very beautiful house, very cultured people, and not snobby! His mother…what an elegant lady, she served us – ‘this is our wedding porcelain set, it is the first time we use it’. Very nice family...”
Oh dear father if only you knew what a nice asshole he had been a few months ago, but I’d rather you didn’t. My mom though, she knew that there were more colours to this “boy” from such a nice family.
“That’s the crazy guy. The one I told you about.”
“Really? But he looks much younger!”
“What?! No! You didn’t see him properly. He’s your age!”
So not only did Kavinsky call me the following day to tell me that I looked all cute sitting there with my parents, but every now and then my dad asks me about him.
“So, do you still hear from Kavinsky?”
“No dad, he is going through a lot of stuff right now, and I do not want to be a part of it.”
Clearly, dad’s approval, though misinformed, softened me a little. I refused to think that this ‘such a nice family’ could have given birth to a domino that would set my life into derail. Apart from that tights n’ shower episode, Kavinsky had been quite a pleasant distraction. To top it all off, and this was the tricky bit, I had found him attractive. I liked the colour of his skin against mine, the lush carpet of his hairy chest, his perfectly shaped hands, the sound of his deep voice and the doughy quality of his body. He was a passionate man, and of that, I was certain.
But, I had seen a glimpse of his ugliness and I was weary. I deserved better, I did, and maybe he too deserved another chance. I have been handing them out for a long time now and who was to say that it had to stop with him – every case warrants a bespoke trial. On that thought, I dropped a notch in my attitude by the end of the conversation.
“Can I see you when I’m back?”
“Fine, call me.”
And so, three weeks later, as promised – he was very good at that – he invited me for dinner. And an hour later he called me back to invite me on a boat. And an hour after that, he told me that his friend would be joining us and that I was more than welcome to invite my friends and that a little boat party would be much more fitting for this summer evening. Fine by me; the more to test the waters with, the merrier.
My friend from Paris was in town, and only the previous night we had celebrated her birthday, so I thought why not take this girl out on a boat and see Beirut twinkle. She was fun, easy-going and not judgmental – plus, I had already told her about Kavinsky, so there wouldn’t be any awkward stares in my direction once she’d meet the pair that was nearly twice our age. To add to the mix in our favour, we invited Ohlalah, her hot friend from Paris.
We arrived at St.Georges, swimming suits in hand, expecting a thrilling night swim in the middle of pitch-black water, but instead we were greeted with an anchored boat, sushi and champagne. Kavinsky’s friend did not turn out to be a douche and we reveled in his pleasant lightness while Kavinsky’s mind was elsewhere, gazing into silent space…
But around midnight, feeling apologetic for misleading us with the idea of a boat party, Kavinsky suggested we head to his place for a night swim, some music…
It was a drive away, but we were all in a good mood and I was kind of looking forward to replacing the final memory of that house with something brighter.
Birthday Girl and I were the last to arrive and when we walked in through the open door and on to the terrace we knew that if anyone were watching us from the tall reeds, it would have appeared to them as though Hugh Hefner’s own private Tinkerbell had sprinkled some of its magic dust over the place. Fortunately for us, we stood from within the bubble and saw nothing but a story to be remembered.
The swim was a refreshing escape from the hot, humid air and Kavinsky and I were alone in the corner.
“So you don’t know why I never wanted to see you again?”
“Because you totally and utterly embarrassed me. What you said to me that evening was so rude.”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“Well, you should know that you cannot say such things to people.”
“I really didn’t mean to say it like that.”
When it was time to leave, Kavinsky had somehow discovered that Ohlalah was without a car for the week, and he was now offering her his set of wheels.
“Take it, I won’t be needing it this week. Really. I once lent it to a friend for weeks.”
“Are you sure?” she asked with a nasal voice that was an undesired consequence of a nose job.
I looked over to Birthday Girl and she was as apprehensive as I – “she shouldn’t take it!” we agreed telepathically.
But she did and I was glad that at least it was Ohlalah and not Birthday Girl – I would be one degree further from the shadow of bad behavior.
Then again, were it not for Ohlalah’s presence, Birthday Girl and I would have had to bear the weight of the guys’ attention all alone. It had been a fun evening after all.
Kisses on the cheek, kisses on the cheek, our convoy left the premises. I was happy Birthday Girl agreed to share with me this moment in time, and grateful that she had made it light and easy with her boisterous laughter, and even though I had never ridden in one before and was dying to feel its rumble, I was glad she was the one who was dropped home in a frisky Ferrari.