I’m sleepless in Be-uprooted.
The day had been heavy. It was impossible to shake off the feeling of unease. Lebanon was shaken hard. I was tired, but I didn’t want to come home to echoing footsteps. I washed away the day’s worth of smoke and dirt, wore light colours, no black. Deep breath. 21:00. Time to leave.
Kavinsky had already set the table. He poured the champagne and served me the quinoa salad he claimed to have made. It was delicious, but was he capable of delicious?
“You look great. I really like what you’re wearing! Did you lose weight? There’s something different about you.”
“Maybe a little. But thank you.”
“Sleepless, why do you always complicate things? It’s like I have to run and run after you. Stop playing these games, you’re becoming a typical Lebanese girl…”
I interrupted him then and there, “I am not, shh, shh, I am not and you know that’s not true. You complicate things for me. You are inconsistent. It’s like you change over the course of the day, not to mention the week. I really didn’t like the way you treated me that night, or how you only invite me over at night, for parties, to bring girls. If it weren’t for my conviction that you are not the person you portray yourself to be, I wouldn’t be here. But I know, I know that you are not this sleazeball, this party animal, this whatever…. I understand, we all have to put on a face, especially when we go through difficult times, but don’t put it on for me.”
He went still.
“You like this painting?”
“Do not change the subject. Listen to me, listen to me when I’m trying to say something to you.”
“Sorry, I am listening, I’m listening…”
“I hate playing games. Before, when I used to meet someone new, I’d give him or her my all, my trust and respect and then during the course of the relationship I would play accordingly. But, that hasn’t worked for me. I give too much too fast to people who don’t deserve it. You may not be that person, for all I know, you could be deserving, but you’ve been inconsistent and I cannot give you more than I have been giving because I don’t trust you with it. But really, I’m not like that, I’m the simplest of people.”
“I’m simple too.”
“I’m simple, but over the course of my stay here, the local social dynamics have obliged me to work within it.”
“Can I be straightforward with you? I like to tell things as they are. You know what turned me off about you? All those limits you put. The girls here they think that if they play these games with me, eh w la2, I will pursue them more. I do not understand what they want from me, so I let go completely. I am not interested.”
“I understand your position, but you also have to understand mine. I don’t know you, yet, not enough.”
“It’s been what, half a year now?”
“Yes, but during that time how many times did I see you? Ten?”
“My problem is, I don’t trust people. You’re a smart girl, you know that? You’re dangerous. Very dangerous.”
He had said that before, in March. The first time I dismissed it as pure flirtation, but now, I kind of agreed. Not with the dangerous bit, the smart bit, not intelligence or knowledge, I know my limitations there – I do not know a lot. Yet what I do know, is that I can trust my intuition, and intuition is not just a fairy that lives on your shoulder, intuition is more about subconscious situation assessment. I know that I can trust my intuition, because every time I fuck up, it’s because I waver or think too much. Every time I become flustered, it is because my thoughts are too loud and I cannot hear that inner voice. I mustn’t think; I should learn to let my brain think quickly, efficiently, and then take it from there.
What I was thinking at that moment was the following: he is discussing limits and portraying them in a negative light, so that he could manipulate the situation in his favour.
What my brain was relaying to me, via intuition, was that I felt good, better. I felt like he was being honest. He was not making up love stories, nor was he the kind of man who was incapable of being open-minded or simple. He very well could. If I could be, why couldn’t he?
After dinner, we went outside. He motioned for me to sit next to him. I thought, no, this is too close for comfort. But I felt, like yes, I wanted to feel the warmth of another human being. So I shut up and sat down.
It was the perfect close to a hefty day. The sea and the sky were pitch black, only the lights of the fishing boats spoke of teeming water. The city was far away. There was only the sound of waves, the wind in the tall grass and the random frog ribbit ribbit every now and then. His dog was curled up next to our feet, excluded, but loyal.
Kavinsky placed my hand in his and I was surprised I didn’t flinch. This was it; I was going to listen to the brain pixie. I was going to immerse myself in the Kavinsky experience to see where it would take me. No pre-meditated limits, only the considering of immediate comfort zones.
He was now curled up next to me like a baby. It didn’t feel smart, nor did it feel dangerous, it simply felt good.
It felt good to believe that there was a chance this inferno of moderation and sobriety would be put out. I may have finally met my match: somebody who never stayed around for long, who locked all doors before going to bed, but always kept the windows open, somebody who was essentially lonely, too proud to admit it, yet always hopeful to stumble upon momentary tenderness.
I left my mind outside, with crossed arms and a vexed frown, to watch over the whining dog that couldn’t make sense of what had come over his master and friend.
We would bring it to boil, then let it simmer, boil and simmer, boil and simmer, until the heat became unbearable and we unglued and reconciled with the idea that today we would keep it civil.
“You want dessert? I have the most amazing chocolate cake ever”, he proposed.