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I’m unloading outdoors in Beirut.

He was relentless. “Was nice talking to you though :)”. Didn’t reply. “Hey…hope you’re  well…Kavinsky”

What was I going to do with this one…I didn’t want to push him away, but neither did I want to lift a finger. He’d have to work a little harder this time.

The first week that followed our initial meeting was exciting. He called me up on the weekend and I accepted his invitation for an hour long lunch in the old port, and then he took me out to dinner, I came with Foux to his lavish house party where Kavinsky wouldn’t leave my side for longer than he could allow himself, he picked me up the following day and we went to his friend’s conference in AUB, we had lunch in Hamra, passed by his flat for an afternoon siesta, I then went on to another AUB lecture and he went to a business dinner. Later, Yamamoto and I met up with Scooter, a nice guy I had met at the house party, for drinks in Gemmayze, we met his friends, it was fun, and we continued the evening by joining the other party guests Downtown, where Kavinsky reappeared…and paid their bill. I felt like that was a bit off…and clearly unnecessary; they were all employed…The previous night I had thought they were fun and easy-going, but now, I started to see the bigger picture. These people he called friends, were just in it for the breadth of his wallet.

“Where are you guys going next?”

“Behind the Green Door and then maybe B0!”

“Let’s head back home,” I whispered into Kavinsky’s ear. I did not want to witness any more of this bullshit.

“I’m tired. We’ll party another time. Call you tomorrow”, he said.

They didn’t even insist. I guess they could afford the rest of the night on their own.

He asked me to come over, but I declined. Always tired, me, always tired.

The following week, he invited me for a smaller gathering “to enjoy the leftovers of the big house party”. This time, I’d bring Yamamoto with me.

That morning, I had packed my purple heels, a light summer dress and a navy cotton sweater. Then in the car, on my way out, I thought of the chilly March sea breeze and stopped by for a pair of stockings. “One pair, matte, nude please.”

I had to work till late, so I changed into the evening outfit in the bathroom and came straight to his place, half an hour earlier than the rest, like a boss. That last detail I hadn’t been sure about, but Foux thought nothing of it and encouraged me to show that little extra something whatever.

The door was open; he greeted me, poured me a glass of white wine and out of the blue wanted to dance. I didn’t feel comfortable. It felt like a page in a hidden agenda.

And then he said, “You know, you dress funny.”

Come again? I was sure I looked decent. It couldn’t have been the purple shoes – they were quirky but cute.

“Your tights. They don’t look nice.”

I looked down and he was right. That lady had given me the shiny ones, the ones that make your legs look like sausages wrapped up in cellophane. I was suddenly embarrassed – this was all taking an unexpected turn. Of course I would take them off; they were hideous. I took a moment in the bathroom, there, all better.

He held me close for a dance.

“What’s that smell?”

Huh? I froze.

“Did you take a shower?”

“Yes…this morning.” I was flustered, cheeks ablaze.

“Here, smell here,” he motioned to my shoulder. I turned my nose. Fine, there was a faint body smell, maybe I took the wrong sweater, maybe, but was he serious? I wanted to run the fuck out of there, but Yamamoto was on her way and I did not want to explain to her what had just happened.

“Wait, I have something in the car.”

“You could use my shower. I can give you clothes. Don’t worry, I will not walk in on you.”

And guess what ladies and gents, I actually went to take that shower. If there was ever a moment in my life where I felt mortified that was it, but what mortifies me the most, to this day, was the fact that I went downstairs and took that shower. Where was my pair? Where were my pink testicles of self-respect? Did they slipped off with my stockings?

Yamamoto arrived when I was all fresh and dressed, but the mood was strange. I introduced them, we were talking and then his phone rang.

“Hey! You’re coming? When? Great. I can’t wait to see you. Take care. See you soon – this is my friend from the UK. I named my boat after her.”

Yamamoto was pouring herself a glass of wine in the dining room, so I leaned in.

“She must be a very special friend for you to name a boat after…”

“You know, a friend, like you and I,” he said with a smile that I did not like.

And then the guests started arriving. There was Scooter, some new faces and the troupe of free loaders that I couldn’t but feel disgust for.

Kavinsky was now in the dining room laughing with the whole lot of them. Yamamoto and I went out for a one-on-one in the darkness.

“I don’t like the way he touches you.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing here.”

“Let’s just leave.”

“But we just came.”

“Do you really want to stay?”

We finished our drinks, took a few farewell pictures and went back in to bid our goodbyes.

“You’re leaving?! So soon? You cannot be serious,” he protested.

Always tired, we, always tired. He came with us to the coatroom, still unbelieving.

“I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

“It was nice meeting you Kavinsky. Goodbye.”

The gust of fresh air, the churning gravel and the walk away away further away felt like an escape from hell. He stood there on the steps, lit by the tall rectangle of light, probably wondering how I had found that secret hiding place where he had stowed away my balls.

That was it for me. The end of Kavinsky. The end of that world of fake friends and lavish lifestyle that I had mistakenly stumbled into. This was not my place. Not yet.

But as the small size of Beirut would have it, there is never a final end…

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