Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the eye of the beholder

It has been such a busy period, with Pearl taking up all my time. Watching her daily develop her reading, writing and maths skill is a joy. We also enjoy the learning videos toghether and just striving to answer the questions that her little curious mind comes up with is a full time job.

But I want to give her the best possible start in life and that does not come without a price tag on it.

This old drawing is how little Pearl sees me :) I can actually see a resemblance but I guess that beauty is truely in the eye of the beholder! At least though she thinks I'm number one !!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Never met a lady like you

Sometime last August the phone rang, I expected it to be him because his birthday was coming up and he usually always calls me around that time. It was A as I expected but he was calling because his grandmother passed away and he wanted to share this with me.

I knew Mammy Eve very well, she had come to our house to ask for my hand for her grandson. She was a strong personality and her household ran like clockwork until she fell ill.
It was sad that Mammy Eve died that was one more link to the past that has been severed. There is a photo of me sitting next to her at A's cousin's wedding and we all look so happy...

I knew how much she meant to A - I mean she brought him up. He was asking should he travel home even though she was already buried? and I told him no- there is no need, stay with your wife and children. He then wished me a Ramadan Mbarak and hung up.

During Eid the phone rang again and I knew it was A this time; only he calls at these weird hours, so getting a call at 3.00 AM my time meant it was him in America. I hung up on him as I did not know what to say at 3 in the morning...tonight he calls again at 1.00 AM and I decide to answer.

He: Eid Mubarak Violet
Me: kol am we enta bikheir A.
He: I know it's late, I'm sorry but you are always on my mind and I wanted to wish you a happy Eid. Let me speak English a bit with you my dear. I miss you very much, do you even miss me at all ?
Me: hmm sorry A this is embarassing and we've been through this before, hope your kids and family are all well.
He: don't get me wrong please- I'm not talking about the flesh, I miss your sweet soul, I have never seen a lady like you in my whole life even though I have met many women after you left me..including my wife.. you are just different. There is this sweetness that I cannot describe and the voice I can never forget. Please allow me to remain near you at least in thought. Do you ever regret breaking up? What would have happened if you married me ?
Me: No regrets I said hesitantly because if I married you, you would not be where you are now and I would not have achieved what I have now.
He: I would give that up gladly to be with you again. I have grown more and I would like to have you in my life to be my mentor if nothing else will you be that please? I need you ...
Me: sure as long as I live if you need help I will help you but now I really need to hang up it's getting late..
He: I love you Violet, always did, always will.. the time is not erasing it like you promised it would. Wife, children, hectic life beat in the West, studies and responsibilities are not deleting a single sound bite from the track in my mind ... Please know that in me you have a trustworthy person if you ever felt like talking about anything that worries or bothers you just let me know...
Me: Ok good night A.

It's actually very weird that he phoned, as I've been finding myself extremely emotional lately, wanting to talk but not sure who to talk with anymore. Female best friends were too busy with their own lives and anyway they are probably not too interested to talk to their single friend Violet. Probably afraid I will jinx their happy family or something.

I can't expect him to be available all the time either as he already does so much for me so no need to drag him back when he needs to move on with his life especially that my stories are not earth shattering but just ordinary blues resulting from love deprivation. But I've been feeling melancholic lately and I did recall A and allow myself to think "what if"? would life have been different ? Should I have been more patient? He did love me sincerely that was sure . He also did not care about my age and even now 10 years and a kid later he still thinks I'm the prettiest Libyan girl. Love must be blind.

While on the topic of phone calls, he too called me the day before but at a more decent hour of course. Just wanted to wish me Eid Mubarak.

Life is really ironic, everyone remembered all the special occasions and got in touch except for one person. Maybe he does not see me as the unique lady described by the others :P - mind you I am aware that the others do have a life of their own ....

Hey if this post does not make sense and you feel it is mixing up too many unrelated stories, don't blame me ! Blame Bollywood, I have been overdosing on Zee Aflam movies for the last couple of months to the extent that I'm back thinking that true love, soul mates, sacrifice etc.. actually exist...and that people will burst instantly into singing. Piyar Piyar, tumhare muhabbat ke he ...Damnit I caught myself talking in Hindi/Urdu now too .... :))

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Children and white hair….

Baby Pearl is no longer a baby; she has grown into a beautiful six year old little girl, tall and coltish with curly brown hair, big curious eyes and a naughty smile. Today she looks pretty in her new gold bracelets, earrings, necklace, and ring that we bought together for the Eid. Her Eid dress is ready and the new shoes as well but what she loves most are her brand new school items and stationery all emblazoned with her favourite character Marie cat.

The search for a good school has ended, I’ve been comparing schools and establishments, private, public and foreign for the past year and I’ve finally found the most suitable one which Pearl will be joining in October.

Looking at my daughter I sometimes feel the urge to hug her and cry. When you have a child you cannot stop worrying, you want what is best for your child and you are full of fear because at every stage there is something that can go wrong. If you feel rested that you are past the nappy change phase and the kid can walk and talk you have other things to worry about apart from childhood diseases.

In this horrible and messed up world I find myself worrying about pedophiles, about whether the kids at school will be healthy and not pass on hepatitis to my child. I find myself worrying about bullying, about children sexually abusing each other or even what would be my attitude if this happens.

Parenting is very difficult and not having her dad around is even worse. Everyday I worry if I’m doing the right thing, and I wonder how can families that have more than one child cope ? It must be so difficult.. I mean just deciding on the school has taken so much effort. Arabic or English, state or private? Morning or afternoon? School bus or not ? Can I trust the school bus driver? Can I trust the teachers with my child?

I also worry about the rumours regarding organ harvesting as apparently there is a rich trade taking place accross the Algerian border too and from their to Europe. I also worry about the illegals who are allegedly kidnapping and selling the children for Voodoo practices.

The world has changed so much since I was a child; I never thought I would be worrying about such things in an Arab or Muslim country. I guess this is a collateral damage from globalisation?

All this worrying has given me now my first white hairs… sigh children are such a blessing but now I cannot rest until Pearl is grown up and married.

I hope you had a great Ramadan and I wish you Eid Mubarak in a couple of days.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Did not feel the time pass

Yesterday as I was driving back home in the late afternoon, a white SUV started following me. Its driver was trying his best to get my attention and as I usual in such recurrent situation with male drivers/stalkers I totally ignored him.

This time the guy was persistent and he kept trying to get on my left and right side, and opened the window. Curiosity was eating at me to be honest and I wanted to steal a glimpse -against my principles. So next time he managed to wedge his car between mine and the one on my right, I looked at his profile for a fraction of a second with the side of my eye. Not sure how I managed this Olympic feat, but I felt the shadow I had seen was somewhat familiar. I thought it could be the brother of one of my childhood friends or even one of our neighbors who somehow needed me for something urgent.

Then as his insistence to stop me did not waiver I looked again boldly this time and he smiled from ear to ear and waved cheekily. Still my brain which never forgets a face was trying to process this information while I was focusing on the road. When from a distant and hazy past I recalled that someone looking like him could have been my work colleague and friend at my first job back in 1989. "Was it possible?" I asked myself, the label for his name is totally eradicated from my mind but his face was 100% him. As I realized who he was I touched the automatic button to roll down my window and turned to him. That's when he told me "so you finally remembered me Violet?"." Oh my God I said it is you , but your hair is so white .." .

We stopped our respective cars on the side of the road and he stepped down to come and speak to me. "I'm sorry" I said extending my hand to him in greeting, I don't stop or look at men when they follow me. " I realized" he said "but there was no way to get your attention and I was going to follow you home, I have not seen you for over ten years now and so I was not going to let this coincidence go. So how have you been? I can't believe it girl you have fleshed out and become so beautiful, you haven’t changed a bit.". I laughed and thanked him "is that your way of saying diplomatically that I gained weight and that I'm fat?" "Oh no ", if it’s possible I think you are prettier then when I first met you, this suits you better..."

Anyway I looked at him and noticed the lines and the full mane of grey hair yet he was only 6 years younger than me and I wondered is that how I look to my contemporaries now, old? The way I am seeing him? He does not seem to think so…

I asked him how he was doing because last time I ran into him in the Souq El Moushir in 2001, I was shopping for my brother's wedding and he was with his mother and aunt shopping for gold gifts for his bride to be. He said that he had taken my advice, gone back to university, completed a degree and then went into the private business and is now doing very well and has traveled the world. He feels older and wiser and his only regret was marrying before finishing these things because now he realized that his relationship is simply going on because of the three children he had since. I told him not to regret marriage as he had done the right thing, he has family and someone to continue his bloodline and that I was happy he did listen to me and gone on to study. The way to success was to have your degree in your pocket and then you could venture in the world and do anything you want even if unrelated to your line of study because you were armed with knowledge and methodology and those are skills not easy to obtain unless you are perseverant.

I was slightly embarrassed, I mean the guy already a few minutes into the conversation and he unashamedly admits that he finds me attractive. I know he always had a soft spot for me. Since the day he was my 'confidante', back in the days when I was naïve and thought nothing of sharing with a Libyan man my love for and disappointment with another man. He was there when my first love broke my heart and the only person I found to turn to for comfort was him. I stood up from my desk that day and went to him and said "could you please just hug me for two minutes? I don't think I can bear the pain otherwise". I still remember vividly how he got up, wrapped his arms around me, put my head on his chest and stroked my hair and whispered that it was going to be all right. It was brief not even two minutes but I felt him trembling and I felt him being aroused. That was when I realized that his friendship has over the months turned into attraction (I don't know about love). Anyway I am grateful for his hug because it was the right thing to do at the right time even if he must have thought I had broken all conventions and cultural taboos. His hug helped me push down the pain that my first love had inflicted on me with his total insensitivity and which I am still struggling to get over with.

So now he was standing in front of me 20 years after that hug and I am sure he was remembering it as well. I was not sure though what he was thinking, because for me it had no sexual connotations apart from the same reassurance that I could get from a female friend and which I did not have at that time, but he did express his wish to meet up for a cup of coffee.

At some level it does feel flattering to be remembered and recognized at first glance name and all and also to know that you are still attractive physically and don't look one bit my 40+.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dying of Regret

Today's story is written by my reader and friend Mafkoud he sent it to me right after this post . It's finally time to share. I have given it a title and done some very minor editions to some typing errors. Thanks Mafkoud for this pretty story and for volunteering.

I was a normal average being once, now what I mostly do is talk to the shadows, and the funny thing is I know they are shadows. I try to push them away shout at them but they keep coming, when I remember how it all started I can not stop longing for that day that face that smile....

It was a rainy day, with the help of some wind little rain can be a real curse, I gave up my umbrella when I recognized the emptiness of my cigarette packet, and the umbrella was useless anyway...

I was late for work already, I had a meeting which must be starting without me now, and all I think about is a fag I need to smoke if I want to keep going. Within like 200 yards I spotted this shop 2 blocks away from the building I work in. The choice to get in the shop did not take time but I hated myself for that and reflected the hatred on all the beings around me.

She was on her knees, I saw her rare as one of natures rare perfections, her jeans were a bit lower than where they should be and in the gap I lose my senses for a moment.. I freeze for a while then remember why i was here, it was so easy to gain back all the darkness and negativity as it always was, except when she turned to me smiling I was a fire faced with a sudden splash of water, she was in her early twenties may be four or five years younger than me, her eyes were pure yet not simple, she must have been through some roughness, I mean .. hell she works as a shop girl!!. All that did not really matter, what was disturbing me is her annoying smile, Damn !!! People do not smile unless for a hell of good reason, hell!! Where is her reason this smiley cow she is stupid enough to smile with no reason I can see, and she seems like she means it....

Her voice came softly though "sorry, would you wait for a second? I will be right with you" she said. I replied with silence, there is a reason for her smile after all, she wants her customer to wait till her highness find the time to deal with my humble request.. but no that does not fit, these smiles which have become a second nature to me are like a lamp light no matter how bright they are there is no warmth in them, her smile was as warm as the mid July sun... the equation is not balanced here this is not a creature I can understand...I waited for seconds till she was available "so sorry how can I help you" she said, I avoided her face for a second but I got caught in the sea of her eyes, different smile as genuine as the first but flavoured with a bit embarrassment, my voice came out harsh as if I am punishing her for a sin I am not sure about its nature "cigarettes.." I said ... "Marlboro" I clarified a second later.

She turned to give me the packet and I was relieved to escape her eyes, when she turned back I had the money ready, I want to spend no more time than I needed to with this blue eyed thing, I gave her the money half angry... she thanked me and greeted me in some way, I replied with an impatient smile and went for the door.

I lit a cigarette and went back to my life, at first I was puzzled what could be behind her smiles what could make a shop girl happy? the more I thought about her the angrier I became, she is a stupid cow smiling for no reason I might be jealous of her, or curious about her but what ever state I was in it had no weight compared to the longing I had for these smiles, I was a future junkie who had just had his first dose.......

The second day and many days after, I came to her shop even if my cigarettes had not finished yet, ready with the money, with time a have grown accustomed to her I like to feel that I know something about her, I spent my nights thinking and analysing her, today she is happier, she might have a new lover or may be it is just me being paranoid I mean even if she does, why should I care I do not even know her name, and then it hit me like a flash of light... I need a name for her asking her name was out of question so I named her, I called her Jasmine, how pathetic is that, the days I passed by her and she was not as happy as usual, that brought me back to earth, after all she is human is not she and humans can not smile everyday do not they, but even though she had that magic that made her float as if she came from another world. what power is it that makes you float even in your sorrowful Jasmine?? what power.....

It took only days for me to notice James, he is a mid fifties homeless who stood not far away from Jasmine's shop, before that James was just another object in my path to work, I never gave him any attention and now we share Cigarettes, I even bought him a takeaway lunch once, one day he told me all about how he was a electrician some years ago and about his wife who cheated on him and how he lost everything, he said to me the only good friends in this world are the bottle and those who would offer it, what was weird about James he always greeted people passing him, some replied and some do not even look back at him.

I spent my lunch hours with James, and every now and then I was thinking what the hell is wrong with me, summer was coming and April used to be just another month but some how colours and smells gave me new sensations, it is funny how a silly pack of Marlboro can change your life.

Every now and then I was thinking to ask Jasmine her real name, I even had a daydream that she will tell me that her real name is Jasmine I do not know how I would react if that had happened

It was strange phase I was passing by, a Dreamy one, but as any dream it has to stop at some point to wake up not in the happily ever after but in your cold room late for work again with 2 month late rent. the waking up was so painful... it was in mid July almost six month after I first met Jasmine, the heat of the Summer was getting to my day dreams ... and then there was that crash, a drunk rriver crashed directly into Jasmine's shop, the first thing I thought was who would be drunk at noon, then I noticed the crowd, the police have not arrived yet. I could not help noticing that the sunny sky got grey in my eyes. people trying to help, shouting about a leakage in the fuel tank, that was the last thing I remember before turning and going back to work... no questions no answers every word can be as heavy as hell. I do not remember how I got to my desk but I do remember that when I got there my mind was set “I will never pass by this road again ....” and I never did.

It takes few more minutes to get to work avoiding Jasmine's shop, and for a month I was fine. But then she started to visit in my dreams, with her usual smile, it was pleasant to see her face again. but she never said a word, I never gave her a chance before, even when she started these small conversations I always ended them as fast as possible and cold as possible, if I gave her a chance to talk back then she might have said something in my dreams. Jasmine that's not even your real name why you did not try harder to talk to me, why could you not see the longing under my stupidity....
Then a few days after the first dream, I saw her walking in the street once, I called after her I shouted Jasmine !! Before realizing that even if she was Jasmine she would not know if I was calling for her. I ran after her and I grabbed her by the arm I was sure that she was My Jasmine. The lady looked surprised, I apologized before turning back she was not Jasmine and I need a Doctor. That was the day I knew that my mental state is at question and it only got worse since then. I could not go to a doctor, what if I am cured and I do not see her again, after all this,no matter how stupid it is, is the only thing I have left of her... even worse what if he asks me to go to the shop to see what came of her, I can not go there again what if somebody else is there in her place, or even worse what if she was hurt and she was not herself again.... NO NO that is not an option.. no risks! She has died and that's that, the sorrow of the lost is much more bearable than the crash of the hope.

In my dark room I sat everyday, all grumpy, why did not I ask her name? why do not I check? For all I know she could be alive and well. all I have to do is go there and ask for god sake... but when her face came to visit I was relieved she did not ask me hard questions, she just smiles for a while and then disappears. They say if you lose your arm for a while you will still feel it is there, they call it the ghost feeling; now I have my own ghost feeling in my own way.......

The other day James visited me in my day dreams, I missed the guy but he was part of Jasmine's world and in this world I would never step in again, James talked a lot, and I was happy he did. But before he left he asked about her, the shop girl he called her, I did not know what to say so I did not reply. For the first time James had a look of pity in his eyes, it was only for a moment before he disappeared as Jasmine does.

Now here I am Doctor begging to you to fix me, all I want is to be normal again to be with out ghosts, because if they do not stop I will kill myself I am telling you that, this is a what I am going to do .....and do not tell me to go to her shop please !!!

My commment : basically don't let the chance pass when it smiles you in the face or you will live to regret it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coffee & Salt sprinkled with a dose of LOVE

Readers always send me such lovely emails and some of them include me on their mailing lists. Which is why sometimes I come accross interesting messages. One of them is this little story. It is corny and it is probably translated into English as I discern some anomalies. Nevertheless it is still touching ...enough said here it is :)

He met her on a party. She was so outstanding, many guys chasing after her, while he so normal, nobody paid attention to him. At the end of the party, he invited her to have coffee with him, she was surprised, but due to being polite, she promised.
They sat in a nice coffee shop, he was too nervous to say anything, she felt uncomfortable, she thought, please,let me go home.... suddenly he asked the waiter. 'would you please give me some salt? I'd like to put it in my coffee.' Everybody stared at him, so strange! His face turned red, but still, he put the salt in his coffee and drank it. She asked him curiously; why you have this hobby? He replied: 'when I was a little boy, I was living near the sea, I like playing in the sea, I could feel the taste of the sea, just like the taste of the salty coffee. Now every time I have the salty coffee, I always think of my childhood, think of my hometown, I miss my hometown so much, I miss my parents who are still living there'. While saying that tears filled his eyes

She was deeply touched.. That's his true feeling, from the bottom of his heart. A man who can tell out his homesickness, he must be a man who loves home, cares about home, has responsibility of home. Then she also started to speak, spoke about her faraway hometown, her childhood, her family. That was a really nice talk, also a beautiful beginning of their story. They continued to date. She found that actually he was a man who meets all her demands; he had tolerance, was kind hearted, warm, careful. He was such a good person but she almost missed him! Thanks to his salty coffee!
Then the story was just like every beautiful love story , the princess married to the prince, then they were living the happy life... And, everytime she made coffee for him, she put some salt in the coffee, as she knew that's the way he liked it.
After 40 years, he passed away, left her a letter which said:
'My dearest, please forgive me, forgive my whole life lie. This was the only lie I said to you---the salty coffee. Remember the first time we dated? I was so nervous at that time, actually I wanted some sugar, but I said salt It was hard for me to change so I just went ahead.I never thought that could be the start of our communication! I tried to tell you the truth many times in my life, but I was too afraid to do that, as I have promised not to lie to you for anything.. Now I'm dying, I afraid of nothing so I tell you the truth: I don't like the salty coffee, what a strange bad taste.. But I have had the salty coffee for my whole life! Since I knew you, I never feel sorry for anything I do for you.. Having you with me is my biggest happiness for my whole life. If I can live for the second time, still want to know you and have you for my whole life,even though I have to drink the salty coffee again'.
Her tears made the letter totally wet.Someday, someone asked her: what's the taste of salty coffee? It's sweet. She replied.
Love is not to forget but to forgive, notto see but to understand, not to hear but to listen, not to let go but to HOLD ON !!!! Don't ever leave the one you love for the one you like, because the one you like will leave you for the one they love.
Find one, who calls you beautiful instead of hot.
Who calls you back when you hang up on him.
Who will stay awake just to watch you sleep.
Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead.
Who wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats.
Who holds your hand in front of his friends.
Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you.
Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says, '...that's her.'

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Online dating tips for men and women

Browsing Yahoo website you come accross lots of interesting advice, among which are dating tips. since I'm writing chronicles about online dating I thought it would be fun to include these tips and see if all of you have made some of the mistakes listed.

Tips for men
Tips for women

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Love is hard: epilogue and new beginning

I think you've all been patient enough so let's get on with this story (for newcomers you have to read part I first) .

They met online in the 90s and for years kept in touch on a daily basis by all the modern means available. They loved each other without saying it, they laughed together and maintained a beautiful relationship across the seas, the miles and the time zones. There was some kind of unwritten agreement that they won't ask for each others personal information including photos until they met in real life. It was mostly from her side she wanted to see whether he would like her for her personality or other attributes. She wanted to know whether love is for the soul or for more worldly matters. She thought he was very mature for his age.They invested in their love until they met physically. They supported each other, he was a Libyan guy fil ghurba and she was a Libyan girl feeling a kind of ghurba in her own country.

She would think every night before going to sleep. "Thank you God for showing me this wonderful human specimen!". It felt great to talk to him in Arabic, in our Libyan patois and at the same time switch to English and know he will understand. It felt good knowing he shared her interests and they got along so well as friends because it did start as a friendship. She loved his accent and even more when he would lapse into the thicker one.

Then he came back home for a visit and the phone was practically glued to their ears. "The phone company should give us a discount they would joke." Whatever information they had kept from each other was revealed and among that her age. – She felt or maybe imagined that love was consolidated even more, but was it really? Little did she know that dark forces were at play here. His love like his frankness were clear and an integral part of their relationship.

So after her 'revelation' he admitted that he had had his doubts about her age when they used to talk but was hoping the gap won't be that much. Then he said "I love you habibti- you are the first love- maybe even the last one but I won't marry you". Though an eternity ago those words resonate in her head and she cannot delete them.

That night he explained his point while she listened till dawn break. "I have other plans and these plans as much as this may hurt me and you now do not include someone your age. If you were two or even five years older than me I would have risked it and faced the situation but I cannot go through this. The tribe, the society, the family and the neighbours will put my family in an awkward and embarrassing position. Look at Karim they would say he could not get a girl his age so he married one 10 years his senior …. Why did he need to do this?'

With every sentence her heart kept sinking, but she clung to the hope that since he still had not seen her he may change his mind. Then he continued "there are other things to take into consideration, I want children, and at 44 you may not be able to provide them. Women age faster than men and you are closer in age to my aunts and mother than to my sisters, it will be hell for you. It crossed my mind once or twice to live with you outside Libya. But I decided no I want to live in my city and I want an ordinary life with a simple woman. Why should I go through with life and make things unnecessarily complicated? It is compatibility I seek not love. I have to be wise; I can't afford to follow my heart, or cripple myself in life" .

"So you do love me she asked? " - "Yes I do habibti, which is why I'll promise you this: I promise to delay my marriage until I know you are settled, happy and married off to a good man." She agreed because she loved him, by then they were so smitten and she so love struck that it felt they were man and woman. It was heavenly this attraction which she felt transcended the physical because they never had seen each other physically. She did not know the colour, texture or scent of his skin, he did not know the taste of her lips but he knew that like the orchid she would open up to his touch. She went to her job during the day with a mysterious smile permanently there on her face. She was secure that he was hers for now, nothing else mattered. They had a covenant.

It was amazing to witness how in love he was. She was happy too, he was healing her past trauma and she became open to finding a comfortable happiness with another man. She was no longer shutting doors in the face of Libyan men . There were two of them she thought would make good husband material. She wanted to ask him how to encourage them to seek her out 3ala sunnat allah wa rasuluh, especially that she was actively seeking to do some matchmaking for him. Their relationship was really comfortable that way.

She was settled and relaxed, a woman in love and loved, a woman fulfilled. She had her criteria about men but with him she really did not care if he turned out to be not one bit like the physical man of her dreams. Why ? not because she was not going to marry him anyway but because love is not just chemistry and sex. You love the person who gives you all the confidence and strength in this world. The man gives that to the woman and the woman to the man. That's how you face life even when you are not actually physically together, that's why you feel comfortable together and that's how you know everything will be all right because you have each other.

Though she did not think that age is an obstacle, she accepted his choice more so because of the covenant and this giving to each other. They enjoyed each other's presence too much. She also loved him very much and seeing him so fulfilled was a joy and as much as she knew that it won't last forever with her and that he would be spending real physical nights and days with another woman one day she was content that he was more than her best friend. He is someone she could denude her soul to and know he would understand. She never stopped to think that another woman would not have accepted this sacrifice; another woman would have thought she was being used. She knew she was not though. She was counting the hours up to their face to face meeting.Then they met ………and the abstraction became reality!

She thought he was not classically handsome, but he was so virile with a cute smile and tender eyes. Though he was shorter than her, his personality made him seem so tall. It was so hard for her to keep away from touching him yet shyness was killing her. Despite her age she felt sixteen and was giggling like an idiot while simultaneously trembling in his presence. She almost fainted when the auras of their twin souls touched each other.

Their love-story developed and when he went away again she spent every hour that was not related to work or some chore with him online or over the phone. She bloomed and even if she was not pretty, her cheeks became rosy, her eyes bright, skin and hair glowing, her lips red.. He showed such care and devotion, international phone calls, advice, trying to smooth any problem she may face and this worked because it was exactly what he promised to do, i.e love and cherish and take care and he was doing it more beautifully every day. She would entertain a glimmer of hope sometimes that things may evolve but she never allowed it to take root because they had a covenant and she had accepted his decision and his point of view.

Then one day a family issue prevented her from being as available as before to him. When things quieted down he confessed that he had met another girl and was in contact with her. She felt hurt and betrayed regardless of the fact that she always knew they would not marry. She thought it would not hurt, but it did. It was shockingly a deja vu situation, reminiscent of the past when every time she would be 'away' the man who had promised' eternal' love would go with another woman.

Karim had been hurt by the other woman which is why he had turned to her, they were first and foremost best friends. Through her daze she never flinched in her support that night. It was only the next day that the shock nested in. She simply was not expecting it to come so soon. She would not lay blame and then negate his good deeds for another man's fault that had left her so hypersensitive. She was hurt because she wanted to be his accomplice of sort when he met a woman. That's how she dreamt it would be. She planned to tzagheret on his wedding; God knows how much her heart would burst from happiness. But she was now so hurt at being taken by surprise as he brought out that old accumulated pain and fear of betrayal the fear that she could never turn her back without the object of love doing something that would hurt her. Part of it was largely unfair to him but the pain was compounded by the fact that she was older and he had made her aware of that very much in his attempt to drill into her head why they were not suited for each other. For the first time in her life she felt old, ugly and undesirable. She felt very much aware of the years that have flown past. She was alone, with no companion and no child. Most of her peers were married and busy with their lives, and the hope for her was fading day by day unless she wanted to settle for a jerk or be someone's third wife. She felt pity for the first time for herself.He almost shattered her self confidence, yet she was lucid enough to know it was not intentional. He has always been honest and logical but online, we give the other all sorts of attributes regardless of how much we think we know them, they are still idealized and romanticized and in a way misunderstandings can happen and secret wishes can be harboured. After all you don't know a person until you've lived or travelled with them and this applies for friends and relationships.

Life goes on and they were both wise not to destroy a perfectly ideal friendship. Because time is a great healer she was able to put the experience behind her and move on just like he had done. As much as he loved her, the ten year age gap was obviously too much to be bridged which meant he did not love her enough! Instead of being hurt she should be grateful as this was not the man she was looking for – she wanted an unconditional timeless love.

When they met again, this new meeting lasted longer allowing her to digest things slower. He was great fun to be with and they laughed so much. So she ended up having her closure when she discovered it was just a heavy infatuation from her side compounded by the web. It could have gone either way love or friendship. They were pilgrim souls who met and recognized each other and were there for each other in time of need. They will still help each other as siblings but he was NOT her man. Her man was out there just within reach and she better keep her heart, mind and soul open not to miss him again and waste precious time.

In conclusion, was it betrayal ? you bet … did it hurt ? sure …any regrets? None!
It is a necessary experience in the general scheme of things and you learn more about yourself and the fact is that you need not only to love the other person selflessly but also to love yourself even more. Libyan blogger Litazia has made a complete blog about love and ' How to have a healthy relationship and maintain it'; a lot of wise words in there garnered from experience !

The main point that struck me in this story is does age really matter? Does being over 30 erase the chance of the woman with an Arab guy in general and a Libyan one in particular?When do you seize to be considered as a complete woman. Is fertility confined to age only? is fertility really that specific and only the domain of women? Aren't children gifts from God which he partakes to whom he wishes? So many questions.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Like a Phenix or not?

My shiny little heart got dropped a fewt imes. It broke a few times. It bled a few times. But I never stopped playing with it. Every time I picked up the broken pieces and with the resin of perseverance connected them together. I washed the dirt of hate and resentment from the pieces that had fallen to the ground and let bloodsoaked pieces dry out under the sun and in the fresh air till they turned a lovely shade of crimson.

Since the last time it got dropped , the blood has coagulated and only a massive transfusion would save it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Letting go of happiness

"I believe so many of us love to feel the pain ,most of them don't admit it even to themselves...Every time i think really deep in the things i lost ,how i let those i cared about the most to go with out a fight ,how every time i had a real opportunity to hold happiness but i ran away like a maniac..When i think of these moments , a low voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that :It's u,u can't handle happiness,u feel like Sh**,but yet u are so afraid to feel happy.Why?because u believe life is not about getting what u want ,it ii simply that u like to feel the touch of vthe happiness ,just to enjoy pushing it away..I don't know if that applies to u ,but it Certainly applies to me. Thank u .The Citizen" [ref in comment section here]

The above comment falls right into the theme of this blog. Sadness, lost love, pain and betrayal with perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel.

Since my last posts many of you wrote to ask me whether I was competing for the 'tragic poet' title, or whether I got high on the feeling of heartbreak and other similar remarks.

I'm not sure why this bothers you gentlemen, I said at the onset: "hopeless romantic, veteran of unrequited love, still searching for her soulmate". I also said I'm writing fiction laced with some truth. You don't have to read this blog if you think it's too girly :P

Anyway I know you are impatient to read the rest of the story, but I'm a busy mum and Pearl has priority you just have to wait a little bit more. I promise it won't be long this time.

To get back to the Citizen's comment, I'm asking the readers why do we enjoy letting go of happiness...?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Good Men and the Bad Men

Sometimes when you are too engrossed in your own thoughts you need an outside opinion to make you change your thoughts ..this happened to me a few days ago when a male friend of mine helped me realize that I have been walking around with blinkers.

A guy's advice :

  • Not all men are bad

  • Never to find excuses for a man's mistake

  • No need to tolerate the bad behaviour.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Love is hard : a long story

'I'm off to bed' he said.

Her heart was screaming no I want to talk to you. I want to make love and feel you inside me. I want to cry in your arms, be reassured and feel protected just like you promised. But she typed instead : 'Sure habibi everything will be allright- take care and good night!' ( it even rhymes)

Then she let out a primeval wail, breaking the dams in her heart, her eyes overflowed and she thought she would die from the pain that racked her in waves. Her whole body started shaking and she was immediately drenched in sweat. She wanted to crawl under a rock to die, but she died inside one more time. Why does she have to accept this, why should she accomodate him and forgive. He felt guilty, and he was guilty, treason is the ultimate dagger, betrayal is the worst thing one can do, and saying it was unintentional can never be an excuse as long as we have a brain and can make choices. Why should she absolve him so he can go and have a good life with a clean slate while she will remain with the memories and the shadows of a happier time, why make it easy on him? why ? because she loves him and he was banking on that.. He knows her too well....So, while he slept she left him an offline echoing an earlier text message he had sent her last time they met during his visit.

'I guess love IS hard'- then her fingers stopped in mid air as if thinking what to say and she resumed 'you were right yesterday that my downfall and yet most endearing trait is that I let the man feel safe that I wont nag for anything, not even for his love no matter how much I love him because of my stupid principles. Right now all I want to be doing is pillow talk'. She pressed the enter button and waited some more till the physical pain receded so she could actually think with a clear head.

Since then she has not been capable of any work, she sits long hours at the office pretending to carry on important tasks, she attends meetings as a shell because her soul has long since departed. She sits at her computer at home staring into space and wishing for a magic wand, she replies to questions with a resigned attitude. She is fading like a rose without water and her features reflect sadness.

Then she gets up, clenches her fist and thinks 'shame on you, your ancestors would turn in their grave- if they saw what a wimp you have become'. Is it worth fighting for this love? or should she walk away and turn her back - would she let someone else take him so easily after she had been a best friend, sister, mother and lover all in one? will it always be her destiny to hold the man she always pined for only briefly and have another woman take him when he was ready for the plucking? As if he was but a desert mirage.

To forgive or not ?- should that even be a question when one loves? The hurt and the anger says not to, but the part of her that loves him says - have mercy. But who will have mercy on her and comfort her?

If she takes away her forgiveness, professing it loud - he will be cursed like the others. Those men who in their selfishness in search for a two second orgasm killed a nascent dream.

In the past she used to griev, and tried to forget; convincing herself that her soulmate was still around the corner and that he would be the Prince on a white horse the companion of her old age. The man whose babies she will bear and who would be the one to bury her when she dies. Because she intended to die before him. The man with whom she could laugh and cry, an accomplice of some sort, with whom she could be silly- habla, and serious with whom even the silences where full of words. She would listen to his breathing while he slept and she would adore his snoring. She would tremble at the prospect of his touch and would send him cheeky messages if he was away thinking of the one thousand and one ways she would light up his life.

'Don't forgive !' says her friend, be angry, nag and threaten and tell him how much what he did hurts and is not right? 'Be the lady you have always been says' her head, 'keep cool and calm'and everything will fall into place.'

In the previous times, she never looked back until one day the cause of her pain would come and ask for forgiveness - it was an eerie experience and she felt sorry at the state he would be in. His momentary happiness not having lasted long, because breaking a heart or a promise is not easy matter. When she would see how that man she thought was a giant was reduced to a dwarf - she would say thank God I am not the one stuck to this guy. She would grant him forgiveness. This time around it's getting a bit more difficult, she is older and her memory not as elastic enough to blot out the pain. By forgiving she signs her death warrant- can she go through the same process of picking up the pieces on the path to heal her heart! She was young and frail before so she left without putting a fight or was it nasseeb so that she could meet him and he would break her heart too. But why does this need to happen? yes why ? He loves her he says and she loves him back .

She has decided not to exact vengence because that is a bitter medicine, she will forgive because her heart is bigger - because she is a real woman, made of flesh and blood and because she loves him and love requires the ultimate sacrifice- if you think that the object of your life would be happier without you then you learn to let go, even if you know that he is mistaken because his happiness lies with you...

are you getting confused ? come back again to read the stories and judge for yourself.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pearl's Wisdom

Feeling down lately I've been listening to Nancy Ajram's live album 'El Dounya Helwa' to cheer myself up, when I found myself automatically repeating track number 5- 'illi kan' again and again- but instead of cheering up I started crying.

The words are simply haunting :

اللي كان من قبلك انت
وانت مش جنبي مكنتش عايشة فيه
واللي حيكون بعدك انت لو ماكنتش جنبي
يا ريتني اموت قبليه
انت عارف حبك انت عملي ايه
شفت دنيا احلي م اللي حلمت بيه
مبقتش عارفة انا اتولدت من النهارده
ولا انا لو عشت قبلك عشت ليه ..
احلي حاجة ف عمري حصلت
لما جيت وقولتلي بتحبني
قولي ايه هتمني تاني بعد حبك
يا حبيبي ايه هيهمني
نفسي اعرف بس ايه بيربطني بيك
حاجة اكبر م الغرام شدتني ليك
مبقتش عارفة انا اتولدت من النهارده
ولا انا لو عشت قبلك عشت ليه ..

I then noticed Pearl standing next to me ... looking at me sadly with her big brown eyes and she said but mama : هو خلي يقعد جنبهاعشان ماتموتش
" mama why don't he stay by her side so she doesn't have to die". That was her answer to the refrain يا ريتني اموت قبليه . ... "whatever comes after you, if you are not by my side then may I die before that time comes".

Children understand more than we think and have such simple innocent but logical and true solutions away from all the accumulated prejudices that we acquire when we grow up.

For more Nancy lyrics go to this site.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Story time

Two years ago, I said " If you want to share your story of whatever nature – even gossip at work- dear Libyan ( others are welcome as well) I’m prepared to post it and be discreet about its owner , it would only be for the edification of our readers, plus a problem shared is a problem halved". My inbox has overfilled, yet I've been too lazy to post more of your emails.

Since I fancy myself a novelist and aspiring writer - I'm going to share the ones I've collected with the other readers- so watch this space again as Violet is back !