Monthly Archives: September 2012

A letter to my hypothetical boyfriend part 3

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I woke up from a knock at my door. I got up so giddily. You came just right on time to wake me up. From my bed to the doorstep, all I could think of is our first breakfast together. Alas, I opened the door and I found myself face to face not with you but with the housekeeping. My heart sunk.

I want to wake up to you, I want to wake up from your whisper, from your fingers as it draw the line of my face. I want to wake up from your tickles. I want to wake up from your snore! I thought by now you would have found me, but writing this goes to show that you haven’t yet.

I went back to the same beach with Sophy today and it is ridiculous how time goes by even when you’re not doing anything. I guess this is the curse that holiday brings. Sophy and I practically spent the entire day at the beach talking about you–how it would be like to finally meet you, how it would feel to have your hand clasped with mine as we walk along the shore. We wondered if you were the guy sitting next to our table because you kept looking at me. But now I’m definite that he wasn’t you. If he was, then he would have at least put an effort in introducing himself to me. If he was you, then we would have been celebrating right here right now.

Sophy and I saw a couple kissing by the water. Such a cute couple, and I should feel happy for them, but instead, I feel a pang of jealousy. I can’t help but think that it could have been us.

There were lots of guys on the beach today–kite surfers, solo travelers. They come from all over the world–France, Poland, America, Sweden. It makes me wonder what you are like and where you are from. Do you kite surf by any chance? How many languages do you speak? What is your native tongue? Do you even like the sea?

Maybe you don’t and this is the reason why you are not here. It makes sense. Maybe you are the kind of guy who would rather climb the mountains than have a lazy day by the Red Sea. Maybe you like to spend more time on the couch playing video games. Maybe you’d rather play football with your mates. But then again, if we are going to be together, I assume that we will mesh like water and sand.

Who are your favorite authors? Do you like comedy? Are you a coffee person? Heck, maybe I am asking the wrong questions. What sports do you play? What is your favorite football team? Do you watch Game of Thrones?

You could be a guitarist for all I know. You could be a hockey player, an engineer, a web developer. You could be a professional motor racer. You could be a chef. Oh, please be a chef! I love eating! But then again, even if you’re not a chef, I’m sure the simplest peanut butter and jelly sandwich will taste divine if you’re the one who made it.

Do you smoke? I hope you don’t mind if I do. What is your tolerance when it comes to alcohol? Four beers? Maybe six? If you ask me, I’d rather down six cups of espresso!

Speaking of drinking, I got so drunk tonight. I don’t know how it even happened. I had one Bailey-Kahlua shot, just one! And poof! I was gone! Well, I made a whole scene before I was gone. Poor Sophy had to endure the trail of mess I left behind. Again, it could have been you who’d clean up after my mess, or who’d prevent the mess from even happening.

Now when I think about it, it would have been rather embarrassing if you have seen me. You might have to actually carry me back home. I don’t know if you will laugh at me in that situation, or if you would rather run away from me. It makes me wonder if you actually saw me. Oh, for goodness’ sake I hope not, because that girl who threw up everywhere, barefooted, and without poise? Yes, that’s me. Guilty. Now I’m afraid I’d scare the shit out of you.

I want to know your deal breakers. I want to know what peeves you so I can avoid pushing the wrong button. I want to know if we both can live up to each other’s expectation. Please tell me that we will work it out. What would we call each other? Habibi? Babe? Hun? Sweetheart? Mahal? Boss? Cupcake?

I’m sorry. I know that I am going way ahead of myself again. We haven’t even met yet here I am looking out in our future. I am turning into the biggest cheese ball every second and I can’t help myself. I get too excited just thinking about the possibility of you.

Will I sound creepy if I say that I keep a list of things I want to do when I meet you? I want to go on a holiday together. Maybe we can take a cruise to Luxor. I want to cook for you, I want to cook with you. I want to rock guitar hero with you. I want to go around the city with you. I want to get drunk with you. I want to get high with you.

Ok, you can totally pretend I didn’t mean that last bit on my list, just in case you come from a conservative background.

There are so many things that I do with my friends that I wish I could do with you. It could have been you I went horse riding with. It could have been you I went smoking shisha with. It could have been you I spent hours talking to.

Will I be able to recognize you when I meet you? Will you be able to recognize me when you see me? I know I have already asked too many questions, but this is actually the biggest question I have in my mind. How are we going to know that it’s you, that it’s me? Will it just feel right, and easy, and unforced, and perfect? Or will it be awkward, and scary, and confusing?

It can be all of these things, or none of these things. But I hope that when we see each other eye to eye, we will just know. I have been living a while not knowing, and it will make a big difference if, for once, we would finally know.

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A letter to my hypothetical boyfriend part 2

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I didn’t meet a Kyle or an Amadeus last night. That means I have no boyfriend with a sexy name, nor someone to call A. I met a Ziko, a Peter, and a Jasper, but none of them were you.

I was hoping you would come to the bus station last night but you didn’t. My friends came to save me from boredom. We went to a cafe to pass time. I have such awesome friends who always have my back and I consider myself lucky, but what I wanted was to be able to count on you too.

On the trip, I sat to a guy who started snoring as soon as the bus moved, and I was definite he wasn’t you either.

I still haven’t met you, but I am not losing heart, I can feel that you exist, it’s just unfortunate that our paths have not crossed yet.

If you were with me today, you would have been so proud of me! I managed to get free breakfast buffet today without even trying. I reckon I could have gotten a free breakfast for two, but what’s the point of that when, clearly, you’re not around?

I would have been happy, and I would have had a big breakfast, but everywhere I look, I see couples holding hands and kissing each other. It made your absence more obvious than usual.

I thought I would see you at the beach today, but obviously that wasn’t the case. I spent the entire day with my girlfriend instead.

Her name is Sophy, and I think you will like her. It would have been so nice if you met her! She’s such a lovely woman and we’ve shared a year of friendship. I met her here in El Gouna exactly the same time last year, and since then I felt like she and I have history. I wish I can have that same history with you.

I would love for you to meet Sophy’s Ali too. He’s such a sweet, caring, funny guy and I can already tell that you guys will be good buddies!

It would have been nice if we went out on a double date tonight.

Sophy and Ali.

Jen and Kyle.

Or Jen and Amadeus.

Or heck, Jen and whatever-your-name-is!

But you weren’t with us, and thus, I was a third wheel by default.

We played pool! And we could have played doubles if you were here. I don’t know why I’m thinking we have a fair chance of winning over Sophy and Ali. I guess I will always have this bias towards you. I can’t help it, you’re my man.

I gave Sophy and Ali their first salsa class tonight, or let’s say I forced them into it! You forgot to show up. Were you really that busy?

I got us spicy beef nachos for dinner. I hope you love guacamole! I’m not really sure what you feel like having. And if you were here, then you could get whatever you want. I’ll even let you order for me, because if we are going to be together, I trust that you would know my taste and appetite more than anyone.

I had too much fruit drinks today–fresh cantaloupe juice, mango-coconut milkshake, a Florida mocktail. It was so refreshing, but it would have tasted much sweeter if we were sipping it from the same straw.

I didn’t go kite surfing today even when I badly wanted to because that will be unfair to you. I always thought it will be much cooler if we take the course together. But after your no-show, I’m convinced I should start the course even without you. I’m sorry, don’t take it the wrong way. I would really like to kite with you, but I know that you will understand. Perhaps when we meet each other, we can plan our first trip together.

I sat at one of the lazy chairs in front of our hotel. I looked at the sky and wondered if you have gotten lost. That is the only explanation I ccould think of. I sat there alone, admiring the stars when what I really wanted is to talk about what we’d like to do tomorrow.

By the way, I bought a new toothbrush for us, I hope you don’t mind sharing. You can get one for yourself if you want to, or I can go back to the supermarket and get you one if you promise to do the dishes three times a week for a month.

Deal?

Deal!

Where exactly are you? I didn’t meet you today. If I did, then I wouldn’t be writing this right now. Don’t you think it will be a lot easier if you can just tell me where to find you? Or where I should go so you can find me already? That way we don’t have to play this hide and seek game anymore.

I guess I should just go back to our room. Hang on, I meant my room because there is no our, there is no us, there is no we. There is not even a you.

Please prove me wrong. Please knock on my door next morning and wake me up from my sleep. Let me know that you are not just in my head, that you are not just imaginary.

A letter to my hypothetical boyfriend

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I don’t know what your name is, but I am secretly hoping it’s Kyle. I always thought Kyle is a sexy name for a guy. If your name is Amadeus, then we’re off to a good start. That means you have cool parents, because seriously, who names their son Amadeus? Only cool, creative parents, right? And if your name is indeed Amadeus, please, allow me to call you A.

I have no idea what you look like. Are you even taller than I am? I’m too short to begin with so I am guessing that you are. But height doesn’t really matter, unless it matters to you. Do you have a crooked smile? How about a scar on your arms? You probably have deep, brown eyes. Am I asking too much questions? I’m sorry, I’m just really curious.

If your guess is as good as mine, I’m sure I have never met you before. I don’t even know if you actually exist. Perhaps you’re just a fragment of my imagination, which is why I refer to you as my hypothetical boyfriend.

But there is nothing more I want than to talk to you right now. I’m here at the bus station alone, waiting for my bus that won’t come until two in the morning, and the clock just hit midnight. Wouldn’t it be nice if you’re sitting next to me right now? We could be planning about things we can do on this three-day holiday by the red sea.

We could be teasing each other now–I will brag that I’m a better kite surfer than you are and you will desperately attempt to prove me wrong. We can play bets! Like whoever is the better kite surfer gets a kiss, and in a way, that is win-win situation for both of us.

Or we could be sitting next to each other right now–me with my Nick Hornby book, and you with your iPad–we won’t be talking, and that’s alright, silence isn’t awkward between us because we know we have tomorrow ahead of us.

However, you are not here to convince me that I won’t be having breakfast alone tomorrow. I don’t have you around to remind me to pack my tooth brush and yours. See, I just found out I left my tooth brush in my flat and that is all your fault.

I spend most of my days waiting. Waiting for my coffee, waiting for my turn in any line, waiting for the movies to start, and all the waiting wouldn’t have been that excruciating had you been telling me the most funny jokes. I hope you can beat my sense of humor!

A seven hour bus trip would have been delightful if you are here right now. We will be talking about which Asian restaurant we will try when we get there, we will agree to dance salsa tomorrow night even if no one else is dancing. Oh, boy, I am already looking forward to it! Or we can just close our eyes and sleep in comfort in our locked arms.

I need you to be here to keep me grounded, to remind me to stop when I am close to crossing the line. I know that if you are here, I will feel so much safer and braver. I know you’ll be beside me if things go wrong, and more so when things go right.

I need you to remind me when I am being snotty, when I am being bossy, or when I am acting like a child. I am sure that you will be honest with me because you only want me to be the best version of myself.

I am really bored without you. Where are you? What are you doing right now? It would be better if we meet now rather than never. You could be one of these guys in this waiting room. Maybe you’ll be on the same bus as I am. And if I’m lucky, I might even get to sit next to you.

Maybe I’ll find you in the same hotel that I’ll be staying at tomorrow. Or maybe you’ll see me walking around the beach. When you see me, please don’t be a stranger. Just let me know that you are my hypothetical boyfriend and we can both cut the crap and just make up for our lost time.

I’ll make you muffins! I’m a great cook! I hope you like eating because I do. Please have a big appetite! Tell me what your favorite dish is and even if it is something I’ve never cooked before, I’m sure google will give me a decent recipe.

Do you like watching movies? I’m guessing that if we are going to be together, that means that you do! I’ll watch a horror movie with you, only if you promise to watch a romantic comedy flick with me. We will play your favorite songs in the car, even if it’s punk rock or hard metal, but you will have to learn salsa and dance with me! I’m sure we will work it out, that’s what compromise is for, right?

There are so many things I don’t know about you and I just want to know everything right now! I want to be able to look at you and tell myself that finally, I know what it feels like! I want to make you laugh. I want to be able to make you trust me. I want to look straight in your eyes and thank you for being with me. I want to be in the company other than myself. I want to be in your company.

But no matter how much I would want for you to be here right now, I can’t just pull you out of a magic hat. I can’t order you from eBay, and I don’t have a genie to grant me three wishes. The only thing I can do is try to find you and I’ve been trying to look for you for a while now.

Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing wrong. Maybe you are also trying to find me and because we’re both looking in the wrong places, we keep missing each other. Maybe I should just stop looking for you. Maybe it’s time for me to stop making you muffins, planning for our future, and thinking of you, because you don’t exist–at least not yet.

Death in the time of Facebook

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When I was in Sydney, I spent a lot of my free time ice skating. I may have gone four times, and in one of those four occasions, I met *Fabo.

*Fabo is an ex hockey player and although we really didn’t say much to each other on that day, we resolved to exchanging our numbers and agreed to meet again.

Weeks went on so fast and my 6-week stay in Sydney is almost over. I spent most of my time catching up with old buddies and wrapping up my schedule at work until that day I heard from *Fabo.

He said he just got back from Moscow and that he would like to see me again before I fly out. So, Sunday, the day before I travel back to Cairo, I met up with him for breakfast at the weekend market in The Rocks.

This time the conversations went overflowing, I found out that he has ADHD which got me glued because my 7 year old nephew has ADHD too, and *Fabo is actually the first if not the only adult male I know who has ADHD. We compared notes about his childhood, how he dealt with it in his teen years, and how he is coping with it as an adult. He told me how he has bad memory, how his attention span does not last for five minutes, how he finds himself so focused into something one minute and so disengaged the next minute.

I told him about my misadventures and dilemma living in Cairo. How I am coping or not coping with the backwards society that is Cairo at the moment.

I told him about that one day I was invited in a social gathering by the Egyptian community in Sydney, how it shocked me to find myself being transported back to Cairo. I was in Sydney with Egyptians who were born and raised in Australia yet there was no sign, no tinge of the western culture at all. It was not evident in the way they speak, the way they act, the food they eat.

Hence, *Fabo and I spoke about progression. He told me his theory. He said that when you think about it, the Egyptian parents who migrated to Oz back in the 60s or the 70s will keep living the way they did before they migrated. So, it follows through that they will raise their child the way they know how. The progression is up for the second and third generation to take.

Too many conversations about random subjects after, it was time to go. I thanked him for the breakfast treat and I told him that he is probably the last person I had the chance of seeing before heading back to Cairo, and sure enough he was.

I took that day for what it is, two people meeting each other for the second time. There was nothing else left to be said. There was nothing unsaid. He didn’t send me any messages after that and nor did I.

Two days ago, I received a call from an australian number I don’t know. I took the call and the guy on the other end introduced himself as *Andy who happens to be one of *Fabo’s mates.

It turns out that *Andy just got back from Aswan, the first leg out of his 6-month trip around the world. And he needs to see me because *Fabo has a package for me. I met *Andy in a cafe in Mohandiseen, he told me about his trip in Aswan and his itinerary for this whole trip. He said *Fabo actually wanted to do the trip with him but he was so caught up with his work and flying course. I thanked *Andy for the favor he’s done for *Fabo.

In the cab on the way home, I stared at the small box, taken aback by everything. We haven’t spoken since that breakfast yet here is this small parcel sitting on my lap.

I got home, opened the box, and much to my surprise, I found myself smiling. He sent me two books–one of Kerry Greenwood who I mentioned to him as one of the Aussie writers I fancy. The other book is of Marge Piercy who I told him is my greatest inspiration when it comes to feminist views.

At the bottom of the box was a short note saying “I remember.” And true enough, he remembers. For a 28 year old man who has a bad memory and the attention span of a 2 year old, he sure put a lot of thought in it. For the first time, after that breakfast, I was recalling and rewinding everything we spoke of.

This morning, I woke up and saw the books on my bedside table and it was enough to remind me that I have to send *Fabo a thank you message at least.

So I went to check his Facebook page to finally send that message I should have sent after that breakfast or after I got the package he sent me, and much to my surprise and dismay, I found out that he is already gone.

I spent a good hour reading every single wall post from his friends and family–how he will be missed, how he is such a great son, friend, brother, uncle. There were photos posted on his wall from different periods of his life.

*Fabo passed away on the 31st of August, and I wouldn’t have known had I not thought of sending him a message. And I wouldn’t have thought of sending him a message if I hadn’t met *Andy who he sent after me.

I never got to thank him for the breakfast. I never got to tell him how I actually enjoyed every second of that conversation we had, and now, I will never get to thank him for his thoughtfulness.

It’s all too late, or maybe not.

*Fabo, the short time we spent together has been worthwhile. It was worth more than every second, every sip of coffee. I know very well that I will be spending some nights replaying that morning and rewinding every single thing we talked about. I am sure that this is not the last time I will look at your Facebook page and go through your photos elaborating the life you lived.

Rest in peace, mate. You will always be alive in memory. Until we meet again.

(Note: *not their real names.)

An open letter to all hopeless romantics

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The littlest things can shoot the biggest whammy in your throats. The most ordinary gesture like a simple hello or an unassuming smiley off an sms can play so much riddle to keep you guessing the entire day. You try to put so much energy in deducing 101 hidden meanings to a colon and a close parenthesis. You relish that feeling of anticipation. You start wondering when will you see that person again, and though there are no definite answers, at least you have something to look forward to.

When you meet that special someone, you have something going on for you–planning the next tryst, questions you want to ask them, information you need to know about them that goes all the way back to their childhood. You just want to know everything about this particular person and you want to know everything now! And if you haven’t met that special someone, you still have something to keep you going because you think that today is the day you will meet the one, and if it isn’t today, tomorrow’s another day.

Ah, yes, the one. You believe in the one–that that person might just be waiting around the corner, at your favorite bookstore perhaps, checking out titles from your favorite author. Ah, the romance of it is already making you smile with glee. You believe that you might meet the one on the way to the gym, or while you are waiting for your favorite latte, hoping that whoever that person is is right there waiting for his/her usual cup. Secretly, you have formed this idea in your head that the way you will meet that special person will be in the most canny scenario. Perhaps you will accidentally spill that latte on that person’s shirt, perhaps you will purposely spill that latte on that person’s shirt. And after the awkward apologies, you just know. You just both know that you are each other’s happy ending. Which brings us to happily ever afters. You firmly believe that there is an epic ending to every story, that love conquers all, which is why no matter how difficult, and complicated, and twisted it gets, thanks to your opposite ideals, contradicting values, cultural and religious gaps, you still manage to fight to the very last breath. You become the unnamed martyr. You become the biggest gambler, the greatest soldier. You believe that love is a battlefield and you will use all your energy and power if that is what it takes to be in love.

You hear people say that love is blind and you just roll your eyes because you are convinced that love is not blind. Well, there you go, you are blinded by your own hopeless romanticism. You believe that love is sweeter the second time around which is why you unreluctantly forgive, you irrevocably turn a blind eye to all the hurt, the pain, the drama that is turning you one or two bit insane everyday without you even noticing. And it’s ok because you are fighting your way to happiness. It is ok because no matter how it is crippling your every move, you still have something to keep you going. You have that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling that is more than enough for you to live on. You don’t care if everyone tells you that you are such a cliche because to you this is as real as it can get. This is your reality.

Now, I look at you and I am angry and envious at the same time. I see you and think how pathetic you are for believing such lovey dovey crap. You have turned yourself deliberately blind that all I would want to do is poke chopsticks on your eyes until it bleeds to nothingness. But heck, I am extremely jealous for your natural ability to feel feelings. I am envious of you because you are vulnerable and you are perfectly aware of your vulnerability, yet you are not afraid to be. You are susceptible to hurt and you are embracing it tightly, and deeply to the core.

I look at you and I see a fraction of myself. Or at least a fragment of who I used to be–naive, optimistic, always looking at the glass and seeing it as half full even if the glass is broken. But for one reason or another, something inside me has shifted and all the butterflies in my stomach are gone.

Meeting new people does not enthuse me anymore. I’d rather spend time with people I’ve known for a while than start investing time on someone who will probably break my heart in a couple months’ time. I am vulnerable and I am aware of this which is why I stay away.

I started taking things for what it is–a smiley face is a smiley face, nothing more, nothing less. A hi is a hi and not an invitation to share a life with someone. I have become literal, the kind that goes by what you see is what you get. I stopped reading between the lines and took comfort in knowing invisible lines do not exist.

And I am alright, I really am. I found a new way of looking at things and it is liberating in a no-nonsense, drama-free kind of way. But there are days, like today, when the hole that replaced the butterflies in my stomach becomes more eminent. And I am left wondering whether or not I will be able to find the place where hopeless romantics and indifferent people meet.