I’m sleepless in Beirut.
The following evening, I told Yamamoto that I had resumed contact with Kavinsky and that I had spent the previous evening with the girls and his friend.
She was skeptical and slightly taken aback.
“You know I was giving him attitude because of what he did to you. If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have been that rude. You’re my friend; what you do reflects on me.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong. Chou, you would have wanted to accept his invitations to dinners, boat trips and house parties?”
“No, but I would have handled it better.”
In the midst of our conversation Kavinsky messaged me asking me where I was and whether we wanted to join him and his friend at Lux.
“What should I tell him?”
“Yalla, let’s go see him. He doesn’t know I’m with you, does he?”
We paid our bill and drove down to the port. They were sitting at the bar, winding pasta into beehives with their forks.
It was an easy evening, discussions of the market and discussions of iPhone apps.
“Look, I have this app that can take your pulse. Here, place your finger over the camera…” his buddy entertained us.
Once more, Kavinsky was being obscure and distant.
“You know what I feel like? Watching a movie.”
“But it’s past eleven, no cinema will have a new session now!”
“We could all go to his place, it’s not far...”
We weren’t going to take the bait, innocent or not. Always tired, we, always tired. Kavinsky must be starting to doubt the strength of my immune system.
The following afternoon I saw him at the traffic light. I called him up to share the coincidence. I love coincidences; they make me smile.
“Sleepless, hello, ah, really? Where were you? Listen can I call you back?”
Ten minutes later I received a message saying he was dealing with some family issues. He was sorry.
And then I forgot about him, until weeks later when my phone announced his birthday. I wished him well, and he called me back.
“Where are you?”
“Coming back tonight?”
“Yes, but we might be back rather late.”
“Let’s do something. We can have a small party at my house, bring your friends.”
“Let me see what I can do.”
But then it hit me: I am no pimp and I am not one to accept all these late night invitations to private pool parties with girls and questionable outcomes.
“Hey, listen, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it tonight.”
“It’s okay. Enjoy your day.”
And that was that I thought. The end of Kavinsky. The final chapter. The end of the chronicles. And I was fine with it. There was nothing in it for me. And nothing in it for him either.
The thing about coincidences is that they feed my belief that there is something of a plan for each one of us, a sort of template, a map of our pathways, possible crossings and detours and roundabouts. I do not think it is something as strict as fate or destiny, because we are indecisive and we choose and then we change our minds and we choose a hundred times over. I feel that it’s more of a map of possibilities; a magic map if you will, that is constantly evolving and is connected to the maps of other people. I have this other belief, that the universe sends you signs, and if it is generous it will send you back the ones you’ve missed or dismissed. When I saw Kavinsky’s name appear on my phone a month after his birthday, I was beginning to think that this was a deliberate knock on my door that I had to answer. A half yearlong knock must mean this future event wants to, almost needs to, occur. I couldn’t tell whether it was the knock of an unavoidable death sentence, or whether it was a missing piece of some puzzle that was being entrusted and so viciously thrust upon me.
“Hey, how are you? Long time. I miss you. What are you up to?”
“I’m heading north on some family business, how have you been?”
“Good, good, I’m with my friend, just came back from Europe. I’d like to see you. Pass by tonight.”
“Say hi to him. I can’t, I’m travelling tomorrow myself.”
“When will you be back?”
“In a little more than a week.”
He was good at that, remembering when to call, promising to call and keeping his word. So far, this was the only constant quality to him apart from his habit of starting conversation with “where are you?”.
He called me a few days after my return, he was in Gemmayze, I was going home.
“Tabb call me Friday and we’ll see.”
He called me on Thursday. And then he called me on Friday.
“Listen Kavinsky, I am working hard these days and leave work exhausted, can we please just do something on the weekend, during the day?”
“I’m proud of you! …I have people visiting me, and they are here till next week, so this weekend I cannot promise anything. How about tonight? Dinner? Early? Can you do 19h?”
“Errrhm…I leave work around 19h and then I need to go home, shower, rest a bit.”
“What time do you want? 21h? I’ll cook dinner.”
“Fine, but I need to tell you something. Please, no funny business. Take it easy on me.”
“Don’t complicate things, I’m attracted to you, you’re attracted to me, we’re not getting married. Just come, and I’ll take it easy.”
This insisting, this constant knocking tuck tuck tuck tuck tuck tuck tuck, maybe meant that somebody wanted to come in, badly, for whatever reason. But before I would even consider answering it, I had to listen to my self, closely.