May, 2007

Adam’s Apple

Adam’s Apple

Although I was good at table tennis, I was never good at the actual full-scale sport. As elegant and graceful as I may seem when attempting to strike the tennis ball, I discovered that, for me at least, tennis should be played vertically rather than on the ground’s surface. I don’t care if they have to string someone up and hang them from a window. I just can’t seem to be able to swat the ball in a nice curve across the net.

One of the kids who played tennis back in the States went by the name of Tom (although I think it was Bob but Tom is just easier to type). He was incredibly short and chubby, in stark contrast to my elongated and slim being. I was definite he was jealous, especially that he was the one who called me Sarah’s boy toy.

I later discovered he had a crush on her.

Anyway, I played with the school’s team even though I was not registered at the school nor did I even pay the trainers for their valiant efforts to suppress their urge to swat my head out of court. I got in because “Sarah said so” and it was the first time Americans got introduced to the term “wasta” (in return though I had to let them use my dad’s mobile phone to call their girlfriends).

That day we were playing double team. Me and Sarah against Tom and Melissa. They looked ridiculous as Melissa was twice as tall as Tom. Sarah and I didn’t look better either. She wore a horrendous pink skirt and t-shirt while I wore white shorts and a white t-shirt (both of which ended up being see-through). Being “the man” (LoL) I had to serve the ball.

It took 4 balls on the pine tree until I got it right. Two balls were almost mine.

But…

I hit Tom’s head with a ball.

He didn’t take it lightly.

As the game progressed I let Sarah take the shots, unless I really really had to or in case I had to pull off a special move. They were my signature moves that sent the ball zipping through the infinite vertical as Tom and Melissa hysterically tried to squint and see where the hell the ball is, only to be blinded by the sun and miss the ball entirely and we score. They called it cheating, but hey, there are no “outs” in tennis for the vertical shots. Right? The shots all remained in the rectangular horizontal perimeter.

Tom felt agitated by my shots, coupled with the fact that I was playing with Sarah (and, as I was behind her, I got to see her butt and legs and she moved, which, if any of you know me, probably was not the case). My final two serves hit both Tom and Melissa and anyone watching would swear I was born to be a tennis ball sniper.

When the game ended, Tom was flaming red and heating. Melissa was absolutely nonchalant as she thought we were all insignificant to play against in the first place. Admittedly, she was the best in school. But not good enough to avoid my shots hitting her abdomen.

As was customary, we had to “shake hands” with the other team.

Then it happened.

Tom.

He wanted to exact his revenge.

I didn’t see it coming.

He served a ball.

At 3 meters away.

And it hit my throat.

My Adam’s Apple went inside entirely and then bulged out and tripled it’s size (now everyone knows why I can pull off an elevator-movement with it). I was out of breath and almost fainted. I liked the attention though, everyone was around me making sure I was alright (funny though no one bothered to do anything other than asking if I was alright, and I had to waste my breaths on answering them).

I could see Tom’s face. Glowing with glee and joy over his triumphant revenge. He thought he had it all now. My voice got forever scarred (this is also why I sound like a smoking goat) and I would never be able to woo Sarah ever again.

He had it all, he thought.

Until Sarah’s tennis racket grilled into his face.

The Farewell Haiku

The Farewell Haiku

It has been a year – a year since I first stepped foot in this little studio of mine.Time flies by.

It was a hot day. The room was white, empty, full of echoes, voices of the walls speaking softly to the visitor.

It has been a while, they said.

It has been a while – I took a refuge in this house some years ago, when I was unwelcome by others… embraced me as I slept in its corner.

I prayed that day, years back. It was a first for the house.

I later returned, last year, when it was empty. It has been a while – it has been a while. I had no where else to go again. There was no bed this time. No furniture, no TV, no photos… just a memory, that once, I had been here.

It felt different.

I lay on the floor, placed my wallet and my mobile phone above it, like I have always been doing since I started carrying both. The floor was cold, yet, it did not bother me. It did not bother me that there was no furniture, nothing to live with. I just had the walls, a door, and a key.

I lay on the floor. The lights were off. It was 8 PM. Outside the window, I could see nothing but a black sky. I closed my eyes. I took a deep breath.

Welcome home, they said.

I felt a crack on the tile my fingers pressed against. I smiled. I felt the house, and it felt me too. You will be my home, I said silently. I turned to my side, and tried to read the shadows on the wall.

You slept here the last time, they said.

I did.

It has been a year now. It is hard to say goodbye. Crazy, probably – just a house… some concrete, steel, tiling.

But I would miss “it” – the “it” that people don’t feel until “it” isn’t there anymore.

White paint coats voices
of memories locked deep in,
silent in shadows.
My First Turkey Sandwich Experience

My First Turkey Sandwich Experience

Summer of 1997, for medical reasons (in a later blog post), my family and I moved to the States, to the Big Apple to be specific. We stayed there for quite a while, 4 or 5 months, but without a doubt they have been the most joyous months I have lived in my entire lifetime. I will bring you every now and then some experiences I had there, but first, let us start with moving in!

We had some family members there from my mother’s side. They lived in Astoria, Queens. A charming little house, like so many houses annexed to each other in a block. It was bewildering to me that a house can be made exclusively using wood. The only concrete was the porch because it was part of the pavement.

My father didn’t like staying over at other people’s house, so he decided to rent a little placed owned by my mother’s family’s babysitter. Her name is Jewel and she is the most charming person I have met. The house my dad rented was around the Fort Lee area. It was a nice little place but it felt disconnected from the rest of the family in Astoria.

After some debate, and seeing that a 13 year old (me) would probably be better off living with the extended family, I went back to Astoria to live with my mom’s relatives. It was a full house as it was, however, and so I moved in with their neighbors, who were also family members (technically my mother’s cousin’s husband’s brother and family). They were a small family of four: The father, who worked as a professional dancer and yoga teacher, the mother, who worked as a chef in her own Lebanese mini-restaurant (think 7ommous and falafel and the breakfast stuff), the daughter Sarah and her little 5 year old brother.

The parents were, most of the day, at work. The little bro went to summer school as well as other odd activities, and so for four months or so, it was most often only Sarah and I living through the days. I will talk in detail about some of them in later blog posts.

Sarah was (and probably still is) an enigmatic, energetic character who grabs life and bites it at the throat. She has a strong personality – which is only typical as she had to more or less raise herself as she experienced school and other social activities (all of which I was sucked into). She was a little chubby, and, in contrast, I was skinny (not that that fact changed anyway). I was dubbed Chicken Legs and I called her many mean names, but after being slapped and hit repeatedly by a girl you get the idea that you don’t get the privilege of calling her names.

She almost always wore pink or white or lime. I almost always wore gray or blue or white. We looked like a moving circus.

One of the first funny memories that come to my mind with her was at the deli’s after a tennis round (again… more on all that stuff in later posts). We went to the deli, starving little kids, Sarah and I and a girl called Melissa (stuck up spoilt girl) and I think a girl called Patricia (who was obsessed with skates, she might as well have played tennis riding them). Each ordered their sandwich, and when it was my turn, I asked Sarah “What are you having?”

“Turkey sandwich,” she said. It was the first time I heard that “turkey” can be used in a different context than the country. I thought to myself that it is probably a Turkish sandwich. I didn’t know what a Turkish sandwich would be like.

“What’s a Turkish sandwich?” I asked, naively I might add.

She looked up at me, puzzled, confused, as if I just told her that turkeys don’t exist outside of the States.

“It is that stupid big chicken thing they put on Thanksgiving,” she said, and added, “You know, the short ostrich!”

Her friends giggled… I don’t know if it was because of my question or at the analogy between a short ostrich and a turkey.

“Um, okay…” I said. I was shivering with fear. I expected a sandwich full of feathers and some other unchewable meat.

She handed me the revolting sandwich. I looked at it from the inside, and I almost froze in fear, almost screamed in horror at what I saw.

White meat that is neither chicken nor fish, surrounded by green stuff and olives and tomatoes as if to hide the little animal wrapped in the sandwich.

It took me over 15 minutes to have the first bite.

And it wasn’t me who fed me the hideous thing either.

Pleasure Me Baby

Tagged by yaser and a-mok. Double tag! Evil people!

So now I have to list TWENTY FRIGGIN THINGS that pleasure me! Sigh. Thankfully I have a lot of things to list, so, keep tagging :P

1 – The burning sensation you get when you pee. Most awesome feeling, and it lasts much longer than the event before it :P

2 – Shitting in less than 10 seconds. Although I usually shit in that range, however, if I break the 10-second barrier, I just feel this sudden emptiness and my bowels try to adjust to fill the void. THAT is the awesome part.

3 – Leveling up your characters (in any RPG) to level 100. It is like raising a child – for 60 hours.

4 – The “Mario Moment”: Defeating the final boss (or any punishing boss fight). No one ever forgets the satisfaction of plunging good old Bowser into the lava pit.

5 – Sneezing. The head rush that ensues is nothing short of phenomenal. My brain feels “bubbly”.

6 – Although I stopped shisha, I can’t deny the intense pleasure I had when I take the first sip.

7 – Smelling laundry. Yes, I can get as pathetic as the people in the Tide and Omo ads.

8 – Opening dA and seeing people add some of my work to their favorite. Vanity at its best!

9 – Driving. The traffic doesn’t bother me (much) as I spend most of my driving time in LaLa Land.

10 – Making other people happy. It just makes me joyous beyond the beyond.

11 – Turning off the work laptop, especially when I am expecting an email. LoL.

12 – Changing myself, which is a recent trend I am following to make the most out of the working life in Dubai.

13 – Installing a game. I am dead serious. It is as exciting as playing the game itself (geek me away, I don’t care!)

14 – Getting to the final chapter of a book. It is similar to leveling up your characters to level 100.

15 – Wiki. Allow me to call it the iPod of the Internet (along with blogging). I can get lost reading about myths and legends of long lost civilizations and moogles.

16 – Being called a moogle, and acting as one. It is the most absurd and funniest thing I do, kupo!

17 – Meeting people who just have a strong impact on your life, that even if the meeting lasts a day, your whole world changed (now a-mok may understand why I said what I said on MSN!)

18 – During stressful times, I come up with an astronomically creative idea which brightens up the whole day (KI had more than the lion’s share of listening to the over on gtalk!)

19 – Clipping my nails. I know it is feminine, but seriously, I feel that all my week’s filth has just gone away (see number 1 for possible filth explanation)

20 – Running around naked and peeing. I did it only once but it was totally awesome.

But hey, I am 22 years old, so I will add two more things :P

21 – Sound of the sea/ocean waves. I will offer myself to slavery if you promise I get to spend an hour on the beach, alone, feet in the wet sand, eyes shut, listening to the waves.

And finally

drum rolls please

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22 – Knowing you all ;)

(cuz you love me, I know you do, admit it)

I tag an ostrich, a llama and a prehistoric moogle.

A Restless Note

A Restless Note

“I see that you have talked to her,” he commented, his concentration apparently fixed on his work.

“Yes, I did. I got to know her better. There was nothing odd in our conversation.” I felt uncomfortable talking about what happened, but my heart told me to.

“I am certain of that fact,” he coldly said as he placed his tools on the table. He appeared tired, and he found his way to his bed, and lay there. I addressed my own bed, and felt that a dire omen was soon to appear.

The rest of the day passed without incidence of abnormality. The Lieutenant and I spent the day together; we had lunch, and we talked about many insignificant issues, mostly for entertainment. When the hours had darkened, the Lieutenant surrendered to sleep early, and left me awake to address my own thoughts and emotions.

As I lay in my bed I thought of what the Lieutenant had been telling me regarding April, and trying to balance my own thoughts and emotions with them. I had understood what he meant when he told me not to love her, but at the same time, I wanted to know her better, even though my incentives were different. I did not want to please romance; I only wanted to know her better for her character. My heart however refused my sudden change of thoughts. My heart demanded romance, and my mind denied. A battle waged, and at that night, I allowed for my mind to surrender. I decided to give in to whatever my heart desired. I wrote a small letter which I tore after my heart earned its gratification. It read:

You cannot believe how being awake at this hour makes me feel! What silence, what concentration! To think that never in my life that I spent this hour awake! I am happy to write to you at this moment, because you are sleeping and I feel you belong to me more. You cannot imagine what I would pay to watch you asleep!

I recalled the dream I had when I watched her sleep. I felt an unbearable nostalgia, and I truly desired her that night. But all my feelings were gone when I tore that letter. My inner turmoil ended when I had allowed my heart to express itself in a harmless manner. My thoughts regained their domination as a consequence, and I felt at peace. My resolution was only temporary, and I could not discern how long it would stand.

Your affections were only a passing crush, I told myself repeatedly. They were wrong for many reasons. I slept that night convinced that they would disappear the following morning.

Written on 27th May, 2005

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