My home phone rang at 3:30 in the morning; I was just getting back home in that summer night in 2005, thinking about my new job that would start the next day. I was partying with my friends the new contract and it was about time to sleep, if I wanted to give a good impression at the new firm.
"Yes?", I said while looking at the watch as I picked up the phone. It surely was 3:30 in the morning, who would call me that late; and on my private home phone?
"umm.. Digg?", a soft voice asked.
"Yes. Who is this?", I quickly asked while assuming that this couldn't be but a gay guy. I had no clue who could that be, but calling me on my home number was something serious.
"How is it going?", he asked, skipping my earlier question.
"Good. Who is this again?", I asked, irritated this time.
"I am a friend. I just want to see you now."
Now? Was he crazy?
"Now? Are you crazy? Who are you? Listen mate, looks like you're just fooling around. You'd better tell me who you are. I've got your number here!", I said while checking my Caller ID. It was a certain land line number in Mohandessin Area.
"Trust me I mean no harm. I thought you'd recognize my voice when I call you, but many years have passed. I changed a lot it seems".
He captured my attention.
"You see, I want to see you now... I want to see the expression on your face when you cross me. I so want to see how you'd react!"
I got puzzled.
"Listen, the fact that you have my home number means that you are someone I really cared about it seems; which makes me quite confused, I mean not recognizing you is killing me, but I sincerely can't go out now, I barely have to catch a couple of hours of sleep before I start my new job tomorrow. Can we make this tomorrow night instead?", I was worried more than in need to sleep. I felt unsafe.
"Sure. Oh and Digg, Happy Birthday!"
I hung up bewildered, my birthday would be in 4 days and this unknown person still remembered me very well. Puzzled, excited, I was waiting for his phone call the following night as promised.
I always had a doctor/patient fetish, but I never had sex with a medical student before. Even though it might turn me on to unattainable limits that I might have ever reached anytime, I never thought about anyone else who could fit in that picture but Haley.
It was one of those early days in 2000 when I used to date people and hope that they would turn out to be my saviors. Cheesy thoughts could fill my young head; heavenly music used to deafen my ears even though I was standing in the middle of Tahrir square; the always busy place in Cairo. I was supposed to meet a certain twenty-something years old fresh medical student, and boy, I needed therapy.
He was looking at me from a distance, and I knew it was him. Even though we haven't exchanged pictures back then, I could feel that it was him from the eye contact and the vague connection that we had. I never initiate the first move, but his looks and the desire pushed me to start the first talk:
"Haley?", I said while walking slowly towards the boy who was wearing his cap, throwing a deep enigmatic feeling and impression to his persona.
"Yes", he simply answered yes. Nothing more; just a yes, while looking at the ground; masking his face with the same cap that made him look even cuter with the feeble blush I could see in the night's shades and lousy lamps in the street in front of KFC.
I can't remember what happened that night, but it was fascinating. Flashes of a walk by the Nile, a quick run to cross the busy streets and me, foolishly fantasizing kissing him. My back then blurred seventeen years old mind drew a lot of intimate things with that twenty one years old cute boy; and I was loving it.
Haley's problem was routed far beyond his sexual confusion: being the only son in his family after his father's death made him carry a heavy responsibility in an early age. They used to live a lavish life before his old man passed away, not caring for expenses since he used to provide them the high standard of life they needed. With his own car and outings, Haley used to live large.
Days never stay as cheerful as they might reflect: hospitals, debts, problems and different money exhausting issues drained all the savings that his family had. Haley had to sell his own car, move into another small apartment with his family outside Cairo in order to survive. Many things got broken inside of him, and he wasn't coping quite well with all these sudden changes. When he understood the true nature of his sexual orientation, Haley felt lost in a dark pit that couldn't be enlightened by any candle, fire or even a nuclear power station! Depression took control of him: he had to survive and provide extra money for his mother and sisters as well while thinking and wondering what makes him love the boy-boy action. Haley surrendered to the classic scenario of therapy and medication.
He told me all that in the first time we met and I sympathized with him. He didn't look like someone who deserved suffering in his life; at least, not being victim of such monstrosity and awful luck.
Two weeks later, I wanted him already to meet my group of friends back then. I scheduled a meeting in Marriott's Bakery Cafe at 7 PM and picked up Haley from Tahrir. We were planing to have coffee, catch a movie then hang out a bit. I wanted him to step into my inner circle; my plans were high and optimistic.
For the first hour in the Cafe, Haley was silent. My friends tried making him talk, but he always answered with a couple of words. The kid was too shaken to the extent of losing all his self confidence. He took his delicate features for granted, his mesmerizing eyes as if they were common. He always used to complain about his body: "I gained weight". "I am not in shape". "I look bad"! I couldn't relate to any of his assumptions, but when we are down, nothing can lift us up except our own self confidence and esteem.
Time flew, and we were already late for the movie. My friend Roco suggested going to the movie theatre and see what we could catch, if not, we could hang around the mall. We all agreed.
While going in the car, Haley held my arm so tight. I leaned close to him and asked:
"What's wrong dear?"
"I don't feel okay. Your friends are too... open!"
"Sorry?", I asked looking at him, "What do you mean by open?"
He went silent for a moment then said:
"Later I tell you, are we going to stay for long?"
We didn't catch the movie but had a couple of drinks in the mall and talked. I tried focusing more on Haley who started letting go a bit. He was having side talks with Tommy which made me feel comfortable.
After driving him to the train station, Rocco said:
"He's sweet, but not for you, Digg".
I frowned, as if I was insulted:
"Seriously, the kid is too closed", again I couldn't understand the mysterious open and close expressions. He kept on: "He's too simple, not self confident and he really needs to take care of himself a bit".
"You have no right judging him that way, Rocco", I quickly answered while leaving his car. My Haley was fine. He was better than any of them: his innocent and clean soul were his aura that impressed me.
Two days later I found Haley online:
"So what about the other day's worries you had".
"I don't feel comfortable with your friends. They are too gay. The way they talk, act, behave", he was right. That was one of my very pink phases in my life.
"I am sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. I just wanted you around; knowing me and them better".
"What did they say about me?"
... I had to lie.
The following time we scheduled a meeting in the same place, Tahrir square, he was standing there wearing the same heavy coat and holding a flower. A red one.
"Hey Haley", I said while looking at the flower.
He didn't answer. We walked a bit then he handed me the rose saying:
"I had a gift with me as well, but my bag was stolen in the subway".
I smiled while taking the flower:
"Thank you". It touched me, cheesy yes. Too romantic in a way that would make you vomit: absolutely true, but how do you explain these mixed feelings you get whenever someone you really like just thinks about you in a materialistic way?
"I was going in the subway, and right before the doors close, someone cut the bag's handle and ran away. I couldn't get out, the doors were already closed and the train moved."
I sighed: "Oh dear! Thank God that knife didn't hurt you or something".
Silence. Whenever he used to say a long sentence, he used to remain silent afterwards as if he had a certain limited amount of words to say per hour.
We had coffee together that night and around 11 PM, I walked with him to the subway station.
"You be careful this time okay?", I said while buying two tickets, one for each of us.
"Why are you getting two tickets?", he asked.
I actually assumed that he had lost his wallet as well, instead of buying him only one ticket that would be embarrassing, I suggested waiting with him on the platform.
"I just want to wait for you", I answered.
"No it's okay", he said, "I have my own ticket".
I handed him the one I bought and suggested using it next time we'd meet, so I'd guarantee a "next time". While standing on the platform's entrance, two trains passed yet we kept talking. I quickly handed him 50 pounds which he refused:
"Come on! Listen, you never know what could happen while you're going back home. You keep this, and give it to me next time we meet if you won't need it.", again, a lousy next time scenario. I could picture the awkwardness of the moment, but I had to do what I had to.
While he was going through the gates he said: "Digg, I am bringing these back to you". And he disappeared in the crowd. Even though I felt very happy while going back home, humming and running, rushing to reach my PC and wait for him; I had this huge inner feeling that I wouldn't see him again.
At least, I didn't know that the next time he would get in touch would be after 5 years, via a phone call at 3:30 in the morning that kept me wondering who that person could be. I haven't thought it was Haley: they tone, way and confidence expressed over the phone weren't what I used to remember about him. I wished so many times knowing what had happened to him, he left me devastated not knowing anything about him. I had no way to reach him, no cell phone number, no home address or even an MSN. I just had a picture of his which I always kept on my PC.
The second phone call that was supposed to be done the following day as he promised me that night hadn't come in but a week later in which he revealed his identity, telling me that he was already in the airport going back to Switzerland where he had left years before. Haley still remembered me, and wanted to see me in the vacation he had in Egypt but couldn't get the same guts he had the first night he called asking to meet. He felt guilty leaving me in the dark, that's why he called again telling me about himself. He finished the call saying:
"Digg, I still keep the 50 pounds and the train ticket as promised!"
Lamer than being in a lousy Bollywood movie, I smiled.
I so much wanted to see him. I missed his lips. I always loved commenting on how cherry they were; full and attractive. His eye contact made me melt, and his extremely sharming shy looks could make me swoon. His well built large chest and dark hair were captivating me.
Multiply all this by 100, and you'd get his new look.
When he added me over MSN a year later, I saw his new pictures. Haley literarily fucked himself at gym. Not too bulky, but the firmest and most perfect body shape I have ever encountered I could see on the display picture. His looks got way better: bye bye silly caps and lousy sweaters; hello spiky hair, tight bodies and sexy low waist jeans. He looked man, macho, cute, sexy, baby, cuddly: all in one glance. Haley was Mr.Perfect.
"You can't believe how I changed Digg", he said while starting the chat, "I actually had sex with a guy!"
I laughed, with a pinch of jealousy.
"Was it good?", I teased.
"Of course it was. I finally overcame my inner confusion! Remember those days when I told you I used to go to psychiatrists and psychologists, filling me up with medicine?"
"Yeah", I quickly typed remembering how I used to get upset with all those chemical waste and dumb they used to stick in him.
"Well, not anymore. I finally believe in myself. It took me time to reach so, but I am quite balanced. It's just loneliness that is killing me. I became a working machine, making money; but at the end of day, all alone."
We kept on talking every now and then online; I felt bad seeing him that perfect, yet that far away from me. He decided starting a new life after that night we spent together. He silently packed his stuff and went adventuring in Europe; changing his career. He got lucky after a while in a new job in France and from there he kicked up. Gained his confidence, re-built his lost self esteem and finally felt alive.
The first time I met him was 7 years after our first kids meeting, in Thrust. We had a date that night to join Marco V's spinning night, and I was supposed to meet Carl as well. I was devil enough to invite Haley just to make Carl see me with that hot sex bomb, in fact, almost all fags and girls in the gig were trying to hook up with Haley. When I touched his body while dancing, it was so firm yet very soft that turned me on. When Carl joined us later, I felt from his looks that he either was so annoyed seeing me with such a hunk, or he wanted him badly.
When I saw Haley that night, after all these years carrying a box with a gift that reached me safely that night without being stolen, which I made a joke about, I felt that all the years that separated both dates were just a couple of days. Even though Haley looked totally different, in fact I didn't recognize him at first, his very same pure and wonderful soul remained the same. We couldn't talk much that night because of the loud music, but we surely danced like crazy. Seeing his beautiful lips and attractive eyes again, in that miraculous shape of his that he worked so hard to reach made me feel king of the night; and a kid, 7 years back in time.
When we finished the party, Carl was too possessing my thoughts and monopolizing my drunken measures that I quickly drove Haley to his friend's place and actually turning his invitation down to have dinner with him and maybe spend the night. I wanted to see Carl, I wanted to go to Carl's after party. While driving Haley, he said, talking about Carl, Kane and their friends:
"Your friends, they look strange".
"In what way", I answered.
"I don't know, they don't look comfortable to me."
I smiled then said: "They are the party animals friends. Drugs, music, after parties, alcohol!"
He took a deep breath then said: "Could you at least not go to that after party, please?"
I smiled; and didn't answer. I wanted to go. I refused Haley's juicy invitation to dinner and night: Carl was mesmerizing me.
An hour and fifteen minutes later, I was in the Intercontinental's lobby -empty. I looked around, then looked at my dead phone; smiled and thought that Haley's wish had just come true: Carl had left.
Three weeks later, Haley left Egypt back to his life, leaving me his always wonderful memory, a couple of pictures we took in Thrust; a wonderful gift that I will forever keep on my office desk, and this blog space just for him.
"Why is he late?", he asked my girl friend.
"He said he's putting your gift in the car, he can't dance while holding that box!", she answered him while looking at the people raving.
"Well, I hope he just didn't take it and run away, I mean, it's not a really expensive gift! I want him back!", they both laughed... that's when I got into the club and saw them socializing. I was glad that Haley had finally managed breaking all his ice, even if I wasn't the one who hammered it.