Thursday, August 27, 2009

Foolish Games.. (24)

“I love how suddenly everyone makes ‘the best cupcakes ever’ like they didn’t come right out of a Betty Crocker mix!” Mya said as we sat on the kitchen counter watching Khaled make chicken nuggets.

“I know, right? Like it took some divine magical ability for them to combine water, eggs and oil into a bowl with the dry ingredients and mix!” I replied in annoyance as I swiped a few fries from the plate next to Khaled.

“I know!” She exclaimed as grabbed a few herself.

“Great, now there’s two of them.” Khaled said sarcastically to no one in particular, “I can’t wait for their periods to sync up.”

I giggled as I heard Mya reply with yet another threat to pour the hot oil down his back if he didn’t shut up.

“Really, your obsession with BDSM is getting a little out of hand.” He replied dryly. “You might wanna tone it down a bit.”

“HA! Never!” She answered, “What’s taking you so long? I’m starving, I haven’t eaten since breakfast!” she added dramatically.

“You were munching on jellies when I called you after class.”

“Okay but I haven’t had anything since then!” She conceded with a pout.

“I had lunch with you!” He reminded her, “I sat across the table watching you practically inhale your cheeseburger.”

Her eyes widened in shock, “That was THREE hours ago! Are you insane? That doesn’t count!”

He shook his head, gave up trying to reason with her and turned his attention back to our dinner. I saw him smile to himself as he moved the food around the pan and couldn’t help but feel a smile spread on my own face, too. I genuinely couldn’t remember another time when he seemed so happy with anyone and I’ve seen the parade of his girlfriends ever since he discovered that girls didn’t have cooties. This was different, I could hardly believe he was the same guy head over heels for Haifa months earlier.

“So did you guys have fun?” he asked us.

“Surprisingly, yes. Even though she refused to stop singing ‘London Calling’ the entire time and jumped up and down while the bus was moving when the tour guide pointed out the studio where Hendrix recorded Purple Haze. Even though she kept eying the only other Arabic man warily whenever he shifted his eyes. Even though she stopped paying attention when it started raining and tilted her head all the way back chanting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” repeatedly. Even though-”

“That’s enough already!” I cut him off. “You can’t blame me for the rain thing, I live in Kuwait. God knows when I’m gonna see that much of it again!” I justified. “Besides, you completely lost your right to complain about anything when you hauled your ass on a plane and came all the way down here just to see me.”

Khaled’s head suddenly snapped up and he faced 3azeez. “You didn’t tell her?” he asked in an accusatory tone.

3azeez’s warning look was received a little late by Khaled who stood there with his arms crossed, waiting for an answer.

I felt the smile I had plastered on my face earlier wavering as my heart started beating at a frenzied pace. My mind immediately jumped to a thousand different conclusions in those few silent moments. I tried pulling it back to the present situation but my efforts were unheeded as I found myself contemplating the possibilities. Was he in trouble? Is he sick? I pushed the fact that he lied to me to the back of my head momentarily, forced myself to remain calm and keep the nervousness out of my voice as I took a deep breath and asked, “Didn’t tell me what?”

My gaze shifted between them and I took in their contrasting expressions from Khaled’s angry one to 3azeez’s pained one. I glanced at Mya’s direction to find her deeply absorbed with her fingernails, not able to look me in the eyes. It dawned on me that I really was the last to know. Something was going on, something that obviously concerned me in some way and everyone was privy to the details except me. And just like that, the realization effectively silenced my nerves and fueled my anger.

I turned to 3azeez with hardened eyes, temporarily forgetting my previous worries and asked again in an infinitely more steady tone, carefully enunciating each letter, “Didn’t tell me what?”

I knew I was being irrational but I hated being kept in the dark, my mind was still going into overdrive, exploring all the different prospects of what the secret may be.

He took a deep breath and started to explain, “Ghala, I-”

“No.” I interrupted calmly, surprising myself as much as I surprised him.

He looked up at me quizzically, “No?” he asked as I nodded

“No.” I repeated, taking in his confused expression, “I’m a woman, being fickle is in my nature, sue me.” I added with a shrug. “I’m not sure I want to know yet, I need to think.” I wrapped my scarf around my neck and pulled my boots over my socks, “I’m going for a walk, I’ll be back soon.”

“I’ll come with you.” Khaled volunteered.

“No, don’t. Really, I’m fine! I don’t even know what the big secret is yet, remember?” I asked teasingly, hoping to fool him. “I just need a little air, that’s all.”

“Are you sure?” He asked as he looked intently at my face, looking for signs of insincerity.

“YES!” I answered, “Get back to finishing the food before Mya passes out from hunger.” I added

“THANK YOU!” She cried out with a huge smile.

“I’m coming with you.” 3azeez stated.

“You guys are making me feel like a drama queen, enough! I need a little quiet, that’s all, I don’t need babysitting.” I pointed out

He smiled gently at me, “I know, but I’m not about to let you walk out alone at night in a foreign city. I won’t talk, I promise, not until you’re ready for me to.”

I eyed him suspiciously, not knowing if I should trust him to keep his words. I help up my pinky finger and waited for him to assure me. He rolled his eyes and linked pinkies with me.

“I pinky swore! There, you happy?”

All I could do was smile in response as we walked out together in perfect silence. It wasn’t deafening, it wasn’t heavy with accusations, it wasn’t uneasy. It was exactly what I needed it to be, comforting. I didn’t even think of what he had to inevitably tell me. I cleared my mind and concentrated on the feeling of the icy night air calming me down.

True to his words, he didn’t speak a single world as he walked with me, following me unquestioningly. I rubbed my hands together at one point and he silently took them into his own and warmed them up. I walked into the supermarket to buy junk food and he mutely shadowed me, not uttering a single syllable. I walked into a pharmacy and dumped condoms and various other birth control items into a basket, just to see if he can maintain his silence. He laughed, put everything back and forcefully ushered me out.

I lost all sense of time, I had no idea how long we were walking for. I only remember my legs finally giving out and collapsing on the nearest bench with 3azeez soundlessly following suit. The subject couldn’t be avoided much longer.

“You didn’t come here for me.” I stated. We’ve been walking in silence for so long, the sound of my voice was foreign to my own ears.

“I did. The radio was on when I was driving back home after I dropped you off the day before you left and that song you like by The Script came on. I couldn’t even hear the lyrics, all I could hear was your voice screeching “I’m not moviiiing” at the top of your lungs and I couldn’t stop smiling. I knew I could wait out the two weeks but I didn’t want to.” He paused to take a deep breath, “I wanted to be with you.” He added simply.

I bit back the smile tugging relentlessly on the corners of my mouth, instinctively knowing there was more to his explanation than that. “But?”

“I told my parents I was going to visit a friend there and my dad told me about this job at his friend‘s firm. It’s weird, it’s an entry-level type of thing, but it’s actually challenging! It pays twice as much as I’m making now and I wouldn’t care if it paid half as much. It’s really interesting and the thing is, they’re setting up a branch in Kuwait in two years.” he paused to gauge my reaction and continued, “So my dad figured I could work there for now and his friend guaranteed him I’ll have a spot at the Kuwaiti branch when it opens up.”

My heart sank with every word he spoke. Maybe I should’ve let the silence drag on a while longer, I certainly wasn’t prepared for this. I put on my brightest smile and feigned happiness for him. I knew I would be eventually but not that moment, not today. “Mabrook! It seems like a great opportunity, I‘m sure you‘re gonna kick some major English ass!” I said as enthusiastically as I could and looked down to hide what I’m sure was a shattered expression.

“I didn’t accept the job.” he clarified, “Yet.”

My had snapped up and I met his eyes, “What? Why not? You seem really excited about it..”

“A couple of months ago, I would’ve jumped at the opportunity without as much as blinking an eye. Now, however, I have more than myself to think about.” he said as he locked eyes with me, daring me to blink.

Then it all became clearer and I checked the impulse to run in the opposite direction. “Me?” I asked tentatively and he nodded in response. Alarm bells started sounding off in my head, this was not happening.

“Yes, you.” he answered. “There’s no way I can make this decision without involving you, I told you time and again, I’m serious about this, about us. But I’m not silly enough to pretend we can make this long distance thing work.”

I didn’t know what to reply, it was a lot to take in, to put it mildly. I opted for the playing dumb routine and asked, “What are you saying?”

He took one of my hands and pressed a kiss onto the palm and held on to it. “I’m saying I love you. I’m saying I’m happy to stay in Kuwait with you and decline the job offer, but I need reassurance in return. I know I’m asking you for a lot, but I need to know if you think there’s a future for us. It’s only been a few months, but there’s no doubt in my mind, I’m in it for the long haul. Question is, are you?”

I blinked back the tears searing the back of my eyelids, seeking release. Cleared my throat and said the only thing I could, “No.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Foolish Games.. (23)

I know, I know, I'm sorry *pout* don't hate me! Finals in two days, so I had to post. Also, a very persuasive letter from Carpe Diem forced me to finish this post so voila!;p I didn't proofread, I have a million past exams to read through *sigh* let me know if you find any mistakes, yes? It's very rushed, I sorry!:( Love you guys :*


"And I want French toast and chocolate chip pancakes with vanilla ice cream and hash browns and cinnamon waffles and.." I trailed off as I continued my perusal of the menu. The breakfast I ordered back at the hotel was long forgotten after 3azeez's unexpected arrival. We ended up at some diner with Khaled and his new girlfriend, who turned out to be pretty cool, I quickly let go of any reservations I might've had before.

"Is she gonna eat all that?" 3azeez asked Khaled incredulously, I stifled a giggle at his bewildered expression.

"Nope." He answered.

"Aaand milkless cereal.. Actually, could I possibly get chocolate milk instead? Thank you!" I flashed a smile at the flustered waitress.

She smiled back uneasily and turned to Mya, "What will you be having, miss?" She asked politely.

"What she said sounds good, I'll have the same!"

"The cereal part?" She ventured hopefully.

"Psh no, all of it!" She corrected, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to eat that much for breakfast.

I looked up to see 3azeez's gaze darting back and forth between me and Mya, then finally settling on Khaled, seeking assistance.

"And she won't be eating all that either." He clarified with a wry inflection in his voice. "Two coffees please." He added to the waitress who grabbed the menus and scampered off quickly before we think of anything else.

"So how does this work?" 3azeez asked, referring to the huge breakfast we just ordered.

"Well," He started as the waitress quickly came back with out cereal, "They'll both finish their cereals.. Ghala will take a bite or two out of everything before announcing she's full and she can't possibly stuff anymore in her mouth.. Mya will give it a little more effort than that but will also be full in 5 bites or so after that and she'll ask if she can undo the top button of her shorts." He said as he rolled his eyes.

"Are you calling me fat?" She asked with her mouth full of cereal and pointing the spoon threateningly at him.

"Not at all, babes." He answered sincerely and she eyed him carefully for a few moments before going back to happily munching on her cereal.

"What happens to the rest of the food?"

"Ah, well at that point, Ghala will turn to us and beg us to finish it all, saying something like, "Think of all the poor children in Africa!"" He said in a voice that was supposed to be an imitation of mine. "And Mya would say something like-"

3azeez interrupted him, "Let me guess, "Let them eat cake!"? Close enough?"

"Haha, no, more like "Let them starve!" Isn't that right?" He asked her, smiling down at her affectionately.

"Meh," She answered with a shrug, neither agreeing or disagreeing.


We parted ways with Mya and Khaled, who had classes to get to and were walking aimlessly down the street, blissfully unaware of our surroundings and just happy to be together. Two days apart seemed much longer than they actually were. This news wasn't received well by me, not at all.

"What do you want to do first?" He asked as he reached out for my hand.

I chose that particular moment to fix my hair, "Hmm, I want to make phone calls from the red phone booth things."

He started laughing and immediately stopped when he saw my unsmiling face, "Are you serious?" He asked as he reached for my hand again.

"Yes, I'm serious!" I replied as I lightly smacked his arm. "It's just something I've always wanted to do." I added with a shrug.

"And who are you gonna call?" he reached out and put his arms around my waist this time. Dammit. This one's going to be hard to get out of.

I twirled out of his arms and spun myself around a few times, "I don't know, I'll think of something. Oh my God, can you believe we're actually here together?" I squealed a little and looked back to see if he bought my act. No such luck.

"What's wrong?"

Busted. "What do you mean?"

"What do I mean? You've been flinching away from any form of contact between us, am I missing something?"

How do I go about this? Don't touch me? Nah, too rude. I would appreciate it if you didn't touch me? Mm, too formal. Maybe I can do it Emperor Kuzco style? Sort of like "No touchy" Or-

"Ghala? You still here?" He asked as he waved his hand in front of my face, effectively pulling me back into the current situation.

"Yeah, what's up?" I answered brightly.

"Explanation..?" He said, refreshing my memory.

"Oh right! Sorry. Guess I just have to come out with it, yeah?" I started, "Me and PDA, we don't mesh well? I'm uncomfortable with it, yeah. Uncomfortable." I nodded for emphasis and looked up to gauge his reaction.

"That's all?" He said, smiling.

I wasn't sure what he meant by that, "And my lips go insanely pouty after I eat red chili peppers?"

He laughed and repeatedly pulled down strands of my hair and watched them bounce back up, "Since you have such a strong aversion to being touched, I guess I'll just have to stick to pulling your hair." He teased, "That should help you get over those PDA issues, don't you think?"

I rummaged through the contents of my bag until I found a pencil and secured my hair in a bun. I turned to face him and smirked.

"I don't have "issues" as you so eloquently put it, I just think it's fine for us to be all gross and lovey dovey on our own time but it's completely unnecessary to showcase it for the entire world to see! I'm secure enough in our relationship to not need that type of public validation.." I looked up to see his amused expression, "Okay fine, I have issues." I conceded with a scowl.

"Come here." He invited as he held his arms open.

I rolled my eyes at him, "Did you hear anything I said in the past five minutes?!" I demanded.

"Imbala, I've just chosen to disregard it, that's all." He replied and waited patiently.

"What makes you so sure I'm going to hug you?" I asked, baffled at his certainty.

"Because, I came a the way to London for you. You wouldn't deny me the pleasure of having you in my arms, would you?" He answered with a disarming smile. Dammit.

I made my way over to him, all the while mumbling complaints under my breath and walked into his arms as they closed around me and pulled me in closer. I made no effort to hug him back, I was just happy to be standing there, inhaling his intoxicating scent and secretly smiling into the fabric of his jacket.

"See? That wasn't so bad, now was it?" He asked rhetorically as he let go and kissed the top of my head.

"I wanna go on the tour bus thingies!" I said as I pouted, "I was going to yesterday, but then I noticed a scary looking arab guy buying a ticket, so I changed my mind and went shopping instead!" I complained.

He looked at me incredulously and shook his head, "Hatha w you're an arab! What are the foreigners supposed to think?" He chastised.

"I can't help it!" I defended, "He was covering his face retardedly with his scarf and he was really skinny but had a huge jacket thing on, it could've been loaded with explosives for all I know! And he had a beanie on. You know how I feel about those."

He laughed at my deductions, "Ya3ni may9eer bardan? You had to skip to terrorism?"

I glared at him, "I'm telling you, he had terrorist written all over him! And he bought a ticket for one, who does that?!"

"You were going to!" He exclaimed.

He had a point there, but I wasn't about to let him win. "It's different, I had my reasons!"

"And isn't there the slightest possibility that he may have had his reasons too?" He asked in a horribly logical manner.

"Yes, I suppose he could have." I conceded, "If those reasons included him blowing up the bus."

He sighed in exasperation, "Then please explain to me why we haven't heard anything on the news about a terrorist attack on a tour bus?"

Dammit. I couldn't weasel my way out of this one without employing some good old fashioned phrases I picked up in the third grade.

"Oo you'd like that, wouldn't you?" I retorted.

"That doesn't make any sense!" He cried out.

"You don't make any sense!" I shot back.

I took a step back as his expression turned murderous. Oops. He closed the gap between us, tilted my head back and kissed me. I pulled away quick and took a step back.

"What was that?" I asked, surprised.

"That was the most effective method I know of shutting you up that doesn't include physical violence." He answered. "I forgot how infuriating you could be."

I forgot to feign shock and act offended and retaliated in kind, "Well I forgot how tall you are. Could we please sit down for a bit? My neck's starting to hurt from constantly looking up."

He obliged and pulled me down on the bench next to him. He took out a cigarette, lit it and watched me silently as I took it out of his hand, put it out and placed it in a nearby rubbish bin. I casually walked back to my place, sat down next to him and rested my head on his shoulder. He was surprised by my voluntary actions and tentatively wrapped an arm around me. I smiled, leaned up and placed a kiss on his cheek.

"You're not really mad at me, are you?" I asked.

"Nah, I can't be. I kinda love you, if you hadn't noticed." He said with a lopsided grin.

I looked down demurely and played with a button on his jacket, "And just because I don't feel like throwing up in your mouth when you say things like that, I think I might kinda love you too. You know, or whatever." I replied with a smile of my own.

He removed his arm from around me, took my hand away from his jacket, pressed a kiss into my palm and pulled me up.

"Yalla baby, we have a terrorist-free tour bus to catch."
Header Image by Colorpiano Illustration