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+.