Category Archives: Life

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.

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.

How to successfully celebrate your 26th birthday alone

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Step 1: Fly to Sydney three days before your birthday when you know very well that your closest friends who you want to spend this special day with are left in Cairo.

Step 2: On the day of your birthday go for a six mile run at eight in the morning because it makes you feel good about yourself.

Step 3: Call your friends (no more than four) at 11am and expect they won’t pick up because it’s a weekday and they’re all at work.

Step 4: Go shopping! Buy 5 pairs of boots because it’s your birthday and because you can!

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Step 5: At two in the afternoon and not one of your four friends has returned your call, prepare yourself to spend the afternoon alone. Remind yourself that you’re not in Cairo where everyone goes out on Thursday night.

Step 6: At 2:30pm, wear one of the five pairs of shoes you bought, try to look pretty because damn it, it’s your birthday! Head out and have fun even if you’re by yourself.

Step 7: Check all the vintage and funky shops at Balmain even if you have no intention of buying. Do it because you have the time to do so. While you’re at it, take random photos of cool items you might find.

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Step 8: Walk til your feet hurts and find yourself in a cafe named after you! Check their menu because you already feel connected to it.

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Step 9: Stop at a stationary place, buy cardboard and colored markers to do some fun art (if art is your thing.)

Step 10: Notice that the day is a bit dark and gloomy and very wintery. Get a hot cup of coco to cheer you up!

Step 11: Find yourself at a wine and kitchen restaurant even if you don’t drink wine (try something different because you’ve been eating Asian cuisine the moment you landed at Kingsford Smith airport.)

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Step 12: Do not order wine if you don’t like it. Get peach sangria instead! Get rocket and beet salad because you love salad!

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Step 13: In between bites of your salad and sips of your sangria, start drawing whatever comes to mind. You didn’t buy those markers and cardboard for nothing!

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Step 14: Since you’re spending this day alone, might as well read all the 78 Facebook birthday greetings posted on your wall and miss all your friends just a little bit more.

Step 15: Bathroom break! Because it’s 9 degrees outside and you’ve had too much to drink. Come back to your table and find that someone took your unfinished sangria away. Tell the staff and get ready for an on the house sangria refill as a treat.

Step 16: Do not forget to order desert. Indulge yourself with apple crumble and vanilla ice cream. Taste comfort and be guiltless. You didn’t go running this morning for nothing.

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Step 17: Walk home even when it’s raining, light a cigarette for a more dramatic effect. Be convinced that today felt like a cutout scene from a romantic-comedy movie, except for the fact that you are alone and there is no lead actor that will magically appear with an umbrella amidst the strong pour of rain.

Step 18: Resign to the warmth of your bed with coconut m&ms and admit to yourself that you really have weird taste in flavors and in life.

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Step 19: Write a blog about how you spent your birthday to immortalize the first day of your new year. Realize that although you spent your birthday alone, it has been a fun-filled day. Be happy with the fact that you spent an entire day with the lovely woman that you are and it can’t possibly get any better than that.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dating a Writer aka Things You are Getting Yourself Into if You are Fool Enough to Date Me

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If you are reading this, most likely, you are so into me (or maybe you just don’t know it yet!) You are attracted to me and that is perfectly fine because I don’t see any reason why not. Who can resist the charms and eloquent wordplay of a writer, right?

Look, the first thing you need to know, should you date a writer, is that we are full of sarcasms. On the first date, we will not be caught eating with our mouths closed and/or speaking politely. Instead, you will find us talking endlessly, and loudly! Every conversation will be filled with irony and wry humor. In between munching our freshly tossed salad, we will manage to retell as much anecdotes from our childhood in full details. Usually, we will start the story with “when I was seven” which is a clear indication that you should prepare yourself for a long talk.

We don’t know about you, but we certainly don’t want to be on a first date with awkward, piercing silence, and the sound of crickets in the background.

Should you want to ask us out on a second date, (we are slightly impressed you would even consider that) please know that the three-day rule does not apply to us. For goodness’ sake, be considerate enough to know we have deadlines. And if we are in the middle of finishing a 1,200-word article, sorry, Babe. We will have to say no even when we might really be dying a little bit inside to see you too. Dating a writer means you have to understand that we can disappear out of your radar for hours, or days, even weeks, not because we are not that into you. We are just very busy writing the next best-selling novel, no kidding!

If, after sometime of seeing each other, it turns out that you still like us (hallelujah! We are taking that as a miracle,) please, do not be a chicken, and just have the balls to tell us. We don’t want sissy characters in our love stories. Tell us how you really feel about us so that we can be inspired to finish four chapters that should have been on our editor’s desk two months ago. Motivate us. Give us that sense of euphoria that will release our minds out of that dreadful writers’ block syndrome.

You have to know that we are eccentric, which is a fancy word for crazy. You’ll have to have a vocabulary that will keep up with ours. We want someone we can communicate with–someone who can understand us and who we can understand. One of the good things about dating us is that you’ll find yourself learning how to express (just in case you are the typical macho who contains emotions in your private, dark, empty cave.) Maybe you are the kind of guy who always starts every sentence with “I think.” Well, if you are dating a writer, you might catch yourself starting to use “I feel.” We don’t blame you. Writers are highly emotional and intensely dramatic beings. That is just one side effect from spending time with us.

Remember that we have this unique ability to string words to perfection. Sometimes, you will hear us using the words chauvinistic and creme brulee in one sentence. When that happens, show your support with a quick smile and a nod telling us that you get it–that it makes clear sense.

If you happen to read our blogs or articles that got published in some magazine, and it is against your liking, call it anything but stupid. That will turn us off to a degree that we might consider the idea of strangling your neck with our bare hands. Worse, it will be a lucid demonstration of your poor taste in literature.

Because we know that you are reading our every single blog entry (although, most probably, this is just all in our heads–we have a highly creative imagination just for you to know) to find out how messed up we are, we will not disappoint! We will fill our blogs with a parade of seemingly screwed up and downright depressing stories just so we can live up to your expectations. These blog entries might not be real, they might just be overflowing with hyperboles and exaggeration, and we will leave it for you to decide. We are sneaky and considerate at the same time in that way.

When you date a writer, everything is covered in chocolate-melted metaphors. You will never hear us say “I’m hungry.” But know that when we say “I woke up with an empty appetite” we are definitely not talking about food.

Dating a writer means you are at risk to being the subject of our piece 80% of the time. Even when we are writing about politics, or the latest designer bag, or Buddhism, or how cute chihuahuas are, we have the tendency to turn any topic to a reflection of you. (What? We changed your name!) For all you know, we have already started your autobiography the moment you asked us out.

Don’t worry about us publishing negative stories about you when our little thing fades. Unless you are an asshole, then yes! You should worry, a lot! Because in that case, there will be no changing names, and your full name will be written in bold, bloody letters from start to finish. Do not take this as a threat, we just want you to become a better person. It is for your best interest, really!

When you are dating a writer, watch your every move. We notice things that are not visible to the naked eye, like how you always roll down the window of your car on that specific curve on that specific bridge every single time. Or how you like sushi and hate wasabi. Or how you are keeping a dead body in your trunk.

If you really want to date a writer, tell us that you hate Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Convince us that it makes little to no sense how a cheap portrayal of puppy love and adolescent suicidal tendencies clamored in old english ‘thou art’ can even be considered an epic love story and you will forever hold a place in our hearts.

When you date a writer, you will always feel beautiful when we look at you. Under our scrutinizing eyes, you are the cunning Mr. Darcy, and we would like to be the remarkable Ms. Bennet. Past loves may have said something about your eyes or your body, but a writer who likes you just the same will notice the smirk on your face when you’re upset. Or the change in your tone when you’re down. We will memorize every single line that forms around your lips when you smile, every single scar, the length of your nails, even the deep furrows in your brow when you don’t agree to an opinion. We are creepy and romantic like that.

You must remember that when we are not writing, we are reading, and boy do we read between the lines! Every smiley, every punctuation means something more to us. An error-free text message can go a long way. It translates to how much effort you put in making sure your SMS will not get butchered down to a T.

On a serious note though, if you are reading this because a writer is currently crushing on you and you are not interested, just tell us. The nice thing about us is that we can handle rejection. Rejection is our middle name and we take it lightly. How many publishing houses do you think have turned us down before we got our first writing assignment? We’re used to putting out so much effort without getting anything in return. Come on, most of us even write for free! So, if you don’t like us, we’ll get over it. But if you do, we’ll appreciate you even more, and chances are, you’ll be one of the greatest characters ever written in an epic love story.

Should you decide to stick with a writer, there will always be meaning to every second, a thought behind every gesture, and climax to every situation. Though you may not fully comprehend the effort we put in, we hope that somehow, it will make you feel special and liked in return.

Now, dating a writer can be all of these things, or none of these things, and that is the riddle you’ll have to figure out on your own. It’s like your personal Choose Your Own Adventure kind of thing. The rest of the story is now up to you. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Me Time

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I can’t remember the last time I spent an entire day alone. It seems everyday after work, I have to make sure I go to a salsa party to be with my friends. If not, I’ll go see them for shisha or dinner for the same reason. I like the feeling of being part of a group or being in someone’s company.

As anyone who moves to another country knows, one of the immediate side effects, apart from the change in time zone, is that eagerness to belong–I try to fill in the gaps caused by forced separation from family and friends I left behind at home.

So, the natural reaction is to drive myself to the core just to have even a slice of that sense of belongingness.

I try to squeeze out time to meet new people, or to know the people I know much deeper.

I will drop out plans to go to the gym or write something, or have a well-earned sleep if a 10% chance to spend time with people I consider friends is knocking at my front door.

Who cares about sleeping? It’s just a fancy way to waste time. I have an eternity to sleep when I die. I’d rather smoke shisha at Hussein with my long-time friends until sunrise (which, by the way, I did last night) than spend a full eight hours dreaming.

I will drag my sore bottom out of bed at 7am if that’s the only time I could get to see friends I haven’t seen in months because of their insane work shift schedule (given that it’s my day off of work.)

I think my point is that I live on people’s company. Everyday, I hunger for social interaction. I thirst for those delicious 1000 megawatt laughters exchanged between sips of coffee and meaningful conversations. To me, this is the way to fill in the void.

But today is a day unlike everyday. I woke up, a little after two in the afternoon, with an empty stomach and a much emptier appetite for social action. There is no drive to ask friends out, no effort to see anyone, no energy to even answer the phone. No desire to belong.

I just wanted some quiet time–a time to catch up not with anyone but myself. I might have been too busy caring too much about everyone else’s lives and business that I forget to care about myself.

I wanted a day where I don’t have to go where my friends want to go. A day where I don’t need to wait around until they pick me up. A day where I don’t have to bend my schedule. A day where every music playing in the background is from my playlist and not anyone else’s.

I’m calling today as my official back-to-basic day–simple, quiet, solitary (which is ironic considering I am sitting in an American chain where all the tables are crowded with groups of friends and families who are all smiling, talking, and laughing in HD.)

And that is perfectly fine. As long as I have my coke float refill, the salad buffet, a pen and loose sheets of paper, I’ll be OK.

After all, I am already with the best company I can ever find.