Day 45: i used to love like this


January 14, 2010

Dubai

I was at JBR (Jumeira Beach Residence) today and watched the fireworks.

At 8 PM, I was immersed with a delectable wonder that left my mouth hanging and my spirit groping for something big.  Being mesmerized by the ostentatious sparkle of the skies, I also found my whole body shivering with the coldness of the night and by the clap of pulverized flourish of trumpets that colored the sky pink and gold.  I stood there, uproaring and ready to faint with my own wicked alterations of the display, and thought about nothing at all.  I looked up, dried my lips and saw the firelights coming straight to where I was standing.  As if to kill me.  As if to rob me off my breath.

Inhaling the fanfare of heaven’s vault, I closed my eyes for a second and heard the scream of the wild blue yonder all over again.  Beckoning me to celebrate the sidesplitter of my silent heart, which, by the seamless hands of time, have stayed open and willing.  Engaging and fiery.  I stood there as the firmament bloomed above me and before I can even say no, I saw my spirit elevate.  And heard my silent heart speak.

“You will fall in love again.”

January 10, 1999

Riyadh

I was celebrating my 25th birthday with my best friend Norman and his friends in his adulating apartment in Olaya.  He told me that he will introduce me to someone who “fits” me.  I curiously asked him why the hell I needed somebody who fits me.  Norman recklessly shrugged his shoulders and said, “This guy will make you laugh.  You are not laughing recently.  Don’t take him seriously though.  He is a sexman.  Not a loveman, if ya know what I mean!”  mimicking his famous streetsmart black man’s dialectal, warning me on purpose because he knew my dark mark on bad boys.  I really don’t know but I was so drawn to sinister men.  Was it because I am one myself?  Or was I full of good crap that the heavens brought me on earth to harmonize the curse?

On my birthday night, I met Yamen.

Not only did we have sex that same night, but that night began a yearlong relationship that was not just written on my little black book but made me a deputy of love – with its bittersweet statis – making my life in Saudi Arabia worth becoming the person who believed that there is nothing priceless than having someone to hold your hand.  Having someone to share your life with at least for a time and knowing that you are simply drenched with love.  I called it properties of happiness.

Yamen or Mimo was born and raised in Saudi Arabia.  Of Syrian and Lebanese roots and his Scorpion stance wrapped in humor and the easy bohemian life, he captured my flighty personality to extreme proportions.  We were both in our early 20s and we were both jocular and saw life as a comedy.  Our stars, Capricorn and Scorpio, agreed with what we had as well.  Who would have thought that we started being sex fiends and were both so in synch in the bedroom that we barely talked in the first few weeks that we were together and just did it instead?  Mimo did not speak good English (thank God I had my way with conversational Arabic back then) and it was proof of how other senses can work its way to resonance even without the influence of language.

Alongside, we sang songs together from Santana’s Supernatural which became our symphony throughout our days.

A month later, we were already living together and I saw myself writing English words on tissue papers and reconciled with the fact that I had to teach come hell or high water.  Mimo was a good student and before long, he was not just talking in English but writing it as well.  In turn, he taught me Arabic syntax and sooner than I thought, I was ranting in Arabic in times of arguments and if I wanted to make a point.  Of course we always ended up laughing to our heart’s content.  If there was something about the two us that made us memorable as partners to our friends, it would have been us being the clowns that we were, both to everyone and to each other.

Mimo was the very first person I lived-in with.  It was beautiful and perplexing at the same time.  I became domesticated and did somebody else’s laundry for the first time.  I attempted cooking.  I learned a foreign language and went inside a culture that was so different from my own.  I loved a man who believed in a more puritanical God that I considered forgetting mine.  I smoked hash for the first time and for the first time, I became someone who waited for a man to come home for dinner, not minding my own hunger.  It had to be him first.  All the time.  I changed who I was for him.

There was a time, after a fight, when I had to pack all my stuff and decided to leave him for good.  There were frying pans that were thrown in his direction and his antithetical side bursting all the same.  My best friend Norman came in between and asked me something in the midst of my woeful cries.

“Can you live without him at this point?”

I answered, “Norman this is the very first time I cried like this over a man!”

“You did not answer my question.”

I looked long and hard at my best friend.  It was a look that did not require any answers.  Norman knew I could not.  And would not.  Even with the strewn bags all over the place.  At the time, it was something I can’t live without:  a sense of existence.  And love, with all its baffling contribution to man’s pain, decorated the way I walked on earth.  I may have been limping back then, but Mimo was my happy cane despite of it all.

It was a good year.  But we had to separate ways.  I had to deal with reality.  I had to leave Saudi Arabia.  I had to be myself again.

When I came to Dubai, I bought a cat.  A beautiful feline I named Mimo.

Two Days Ago

Dubai

After 11 years, Mimo resurfaced and somehow found his way into my mobile phone.  Through the years, I sent him text messages every November to greet him Happy Birthday.  He replied all the time.  There was a time when I was living in Bangkok when we actually talked for a good 30 minutes on the phone.  But this time, he meant business.  The urgency was mystifying but I gave in.  There was nothing to lose and I missed him just the same.

Last Tuesday, he sent me an SMS and asked for my email address.  I gave it instantly.  That same night, I opened my email and saw a letter that simply said How are you Jon?  I miss you so so so so much.  I hope you are happy there in Dubai with 5 of his recent pictures attached.  I replied to him and added him on my chat list.  A few minutes later, we were chatting via webcam and celestially transported back to the year 1999 – in our own little corkscrew world – when we were both so young and vibrant and so brazenly emotional.

From 12 midnight to around 4 AM, we spoke about everything and kicked off where we left off.  Mimo commented on how I gained so much weight.  I asked him if it looked any good.  He gave out flattering double-takes that I could not even imagine.  I knew deep inside that amidst the flirting and the constant switch of topics from present to past that we were both being good to each other.  There was an instant when I had to counteract something that he said but I had no choice but to agree with it anyhow.  Goodness comes in packages I then realized.  And the best ones come after a certain healing like a great, mammoth love that loomed after 11 years.

We both deserved it.

Throughout the conversation, I noticed how stellar his English was and I applauded it.  It was amazing because not only did his tenses improve but his vocabulary as well.  When I typed, “Congratulations on your English!” , he graciously replied, “I will never forget you because you taught me my first real English.”

I almost cried.

And then when he asked me if there was anybody in my life right now to which I wittingly answered, “A lot!” .

He laughed and told me that I was lying.  In a matter of minutes, he admitted he saw a certain sadness in my eyes.  I defensively told him that I am just exhausted.  He said, “OK”  and blew me a kiss.  I knew deep inside that Mimo can see through me like he used to.  I denied being sad because I knew I was not.  But I may not be seeing what I am truly feeling and it took Mimo to have the eye to see through it anyhow.

When were saying our good nights, Mimo pointed at his left eye.  I did not get what he was trying to say at first so I typed, “What’s up?”

Only then when I realized that he was crying.

I smiled and did not ask him why.  We stared at each other’s cameras for a while and then he typed, “Thank you Jon.  I am so happy tonight.”

January 14, 2010

Dubai

The fireworks at JBR engulfed my silent heart and cheered it on after many years of not feeling the intensity of love the way I did back in my 20s.

Have I had it?  Am I done?

Will it ever occur again?

Will I ever feel the same level of fierceness like I  did way back when Mimo was the greatest love of my life?

Does love even know me after all that?

Inhaling the fanfare of heaven’s vault, I closed my eyes for a second and heard the scream of the wild blue yonder all over again.  Beckoning me to celebrate the sidesplitter of my silent heart, which, by the seamless hands of time, have stayed open and willing.  Engaging and fiery.  I stood there as the firmament bloomed above me and before I can even say no, I saw my spirit elevate.  And heard my silent heart speak.

“You will fall in love again.”

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