Since Ramadan is the time when Middle Eastern TV kicks with endless shows, series and cheesy entertainment programs; I was wandering around the channels having an idea about what is rocking bottom this year when I came across a scene that froze me: there he was, a guy in an officer's uniform knocking on some family's door. I waited for the scene to change in order to see the cop's face; he looked so familiar.
After the never ending advertising break; a certain 20 something female opened the door and I could see the agent's features: it was Ken. I smiled, and listened to the conversation he was having with the young girl's father. The same deep voice I fell for over the phone, the same warm tone that made me thrive; coming out from well formed lips that I loved kissing and biting. Seeing him on TV made me remember those fall nights when we used to date; and I loved every single moment and feeling I had with him. Even though I was harsh at the end, I couldn't deny the fact that I still have some feelings inside of me; and I assume he has the same -otherwise; why would he be keen on contacting me every time there is any occasion just to wish me a happy one.
When we first chatted together; I never cared about knowing him: he never displayed his picture nor maintained an attractive chat flow. Ken was keeping a certain annoying anonymous aura around himself. Even though I sensed a certain vibe in the way he used to express himself with in that MSN window, I couldn't really understand the real him; and I didn't even care.
A couple of months later, and because I was very stubborn and boring in chats, he decided opening his cam and, for the first time, letting me see him. A smile and broad shoulders greeted me; when he moved the lens up to show me his face, he typed:
"Do I look familiar?"
I kept looking at his dark hair, wide dark brown eyes and his perfectly well shaped lips then answered:
"Am I missing something?"
I could almost hear him laugh in the mute video stream and read:
"Well; I was in a couple of TV series and movies. Some people recognize me!"
I blushed, artificially thanks to the emoticon, and quickly replied:
"I am sorry, I am not an Egyptian movies and series follower; but I get your point. You're a Star!"
Again I saw him laughing then typed:
"Not that much, just a few roles; luckily in major movies and TV shows though."
I liked his naive way of telling me that he's some star while trying to be modest. I smiled, again with an emoticon, and said:
"Maybe I should watch some of your work then, I'd certainly like seeing you in motion!"
"Why not in real?"
I stopped for a while; then realized that I wasn't really ready for meeting people yet; plus the awkwardness I felt because he's some sort of an actor made me feel uncomfortable. Was it because I always demand being me the one under the spot? Might be, or just because I was recovering from my relationship and wasn't ready to annoy one more person with my twisted talks. I quickly suggested exchanging phone numbers, that would rescue the negative answer to his question.
Two months passed with daily phone calls. He always tried meeting me, and I always had an excuse that I believed it was real before convincing him it was impossible. Certainly shopping for my cat isn't a good one since he already had two kittens and a dog, and wanted to join me in my tour; or one of those nights when he called me up, knowing that I was in the Gym:
"Digg, I was walking my dog when I found myself right under your Gym. Are you there yet?"
I quickly came near the wide glass and looked downstairs: there he was standing with his dalmatian and holding his cell phone; waiting for me to answer. I was confused; not only I looked in a mess for a first time meeting, but I was worried seeing him and things go wrong right before even knowing each other. He looked nice, wearing the attractive red cap that I commented on earlier and holding the cutest dalmatian dog ever. I wanted to jump down the stairs, salute him and just walk around with the dog; but I simply couldn't.
"I am in the middle of my training. My coach will kill me if I leave now!". That was half true, but at least real.
"Oh, never mind. I am sure we'll get the chance meeting again soon."
When we hung up, I was wondering what made him do all this for me, the stranger MSN guy who refuses meeting and hiding all the time? Was I worth a fake dog walk, a call and a rejection? I couldn't help but wonder: how desperate can we become when it comes to a potential, even very weak possibility, of meeting a good guy?
Ten minutes and ten counts of a rather painful biceps exercise, I just grabbed my cell phone and texted him: "I am sorry for not being able to meet you. You looked very cute in the red cap!". A couple of minutes later, my mobile announced: "What about Jeff?". I quickly typed: "The hottest dalmatian I could see!". I smile, and continued my exercise, thinking about how good he looked downstairs; flattered as well, that he made up all this just to see me.
When I was over with my training, I called him up while driving back home. I apologized once more for my rather disappointing attitude and decided that it was about time meeting him. It was obvious that he won't be putting himself one more time in that situation, if not even ending the whole date idea. I even had the guts telling him why I was pushing the meeting time as much further as possible:
"You see, Ken, it's just I feel really not that self confident after my break up.", I held myself from talking about how low my self esteem is, how deeply broken I was to the extent that I saw everyone out of my league; that I didn't have a chance with him, the Star. He just answered, after a pause:
"Digg, since you have mentioned your previous relationship, was he Mostafa?"
I hit the breaks and parked. That was his name, how could he have guessed? Did he know him? Was this a game? Why did he wait till now in order to tell me about it?
"What?", I said, trying to fill the sudden silence that was between us over the phone.
"I am sorry for mentioning this, but I sensed during all our talks how broken you are, and from the slight hints I could gather, and of course your nickname, I was wondering if that was you."
I couldn't understand why I felt a block of ice melting down my spine, or that strange numb sensation in my stomach that kept growing, forming a ball in my throat that prevented me from neither thinking nor answering comprehensibly. I just asked:
"How did you know?", as if the reasons he had just told me weren't accepted by my tormented mind.
"I told you, I guessed, plus there aren't many Digg in Cairo!".
I lit a Marlboro lights then answered:
"Apparently you know about me more than I had thought."
He quickly answered, trying to fix what he had just bombed:
"Digg, listen, to be honest with you I knew Mostafa for a while. In fact we were best friends for a while. We were so close to the point that he used to introduce me as his brother!" I couldn't help but remember the fight that I had with Mostafa, when he told me he was seeing some Star and I doubted the real kind of their relationship.
He kept on talking: "Actually it was fun, till he started talking about you. He was carrying that much amount of negative feelings towards your persona to the point that I was wondering if anything that he said was true: he had no reason to hate you that much, in fact, nobody had any valid reason to hate another person the way he used to talk about you. I started doubting whether what he used to say was real, in terms of how fucked up that relationship was and even if he ever hated you in the first place. It was just a matter of time to understand the real him: a liar, manipulator and cheap. He stabbed me in the back and now, we just don't stand seeing each other. Digg, I must tell you, he is really sick that guy. When we talked together, I saw myself how wonderful you are. He's such a fool letting you go."
I was smoking nervously while he was talking over my cell phone, when he finished, I just found myself saying:
"Ken, you have NO right talking like this about him. The guy you just criticized used to be my partner, and I would never allow anyone speak this way about him in front of me."
He excused, but I hung up; and never answered him again.
... at least for the following week.
A flood of SMSs, eMails and MSN messages: I felt bad. Not for not answering Ken, but for being under Mostafa's spell till that moment. I called him up, and again, I was shocked how important I was to him even though we hadn't met before. I just said one word when he answered:
"Let's meet now."
Thirty minutes later, I was under his house. He walked down and I could finally see him closer; as well as he. Ken sat next to me in the car and quickly said: "Finally we're here! It took me all this time and problems to see you!"
I smiled, offered him a cigarette that he rejected, then I said:
"I am sorry for being that rude with you, it's very complicated when it comes to talking about my relationship, I know it's my trigger key for insanity and you just broke it."
He wanted to talk about it again, but I just hushed him.
"Please, let it go, so I have to."
That night; we just started discovering each other; and I knew much about myself.