their one night stand

I have a good friend who confides in me and asked me to write her story in my words; here it goes, with the setting and way she told it.

It was one of those lovely autumn nights in Beirut, and she had prepared herself to crash somewhere that doesn’t look like her bedroom. She had that habit of escaping the zone she was familiar with every once in a while. She said that with a smile, knowing I would think this “habit” of hers was weird enough, which I thought.

She spoke about him like he was a prince, so I’ll refer to him as such. She met prince online she told me, the usual cyber conversation style. “Why did you ever think you clicked?” She smiled and poured out a list that ranged from the twinkle in his eyes in the photos to the way he chose his words. I reminded her that she had those – what appeared to me as – odd thoughts even before seeing him, seeing how he sips his coffee, hearing his voice, watching his hand gestures. She nodded and agreed, and confirmed that she knew he was trouble from the day he typed his first sentence ever to her back in November. I asked if she was sure she wanted to tell me their story. She nodded, lit a cigarette, rested her elbows on her thighs and said “I want you to write it, so listen.”

She continued “I booked a room at my favorite inn. I was working on a huge project trying to ace a presentation, rehearsing and going through hell when he arrived.” I had to interrupt to ask how come he drove to see her and she said they had agreed on that. “He rang the bell, I opened, he came in and shut the door. He had a frown on his face, the one you pull right before nagging or criticizing. And this was indeed what he did. He asked me whether it’s a communist room, he asked me if we’re gonna sleep here, he told me he hated communists and he told me he will be up all night trying to get over the fact that the room looks ugly. I hate negative people, I hate people who nag and I hate people who cannot appreciate a moment. Was it really hard for him to sit and tell me about him a bit? Or was it super demanding to smile and be polite? Was he really mean and harsh? All what I could repeat to myself was ‘oh shit’ as he spoke. I got up, put on my shoes, and we left to a pub nearby. We were crossing the street when I grabbed his hand to guide his steps away from a puddle when I saw the worst reaction ever. He panicked. For the first time I feel degraded because I tried to help someone away from a puddle. I have been given the remark that I’m touchy, but for someone to stop in their tracks, scowl me and yell ‘don’t hold my hand’ on the street was something else. I was trying to make the night pass and go back home in two hours, to hell with escaping the zone and to hell with relaxation, I wanted him out of there and that was it. We got to the pub, sat inside, ordered our drinks, and he kept criticizing. The sound, the people, the place, the amount of alcohol in his drink, the fact that I smoke, everything. I kept wondering when this drink will be over because I really wanted to be not there anymore. You know how you build expectations that aren’t a fragment of your imagination, they are real. He was sweet to me always, we talked everyday, and he was right there in front of me, being a major pain in the ass.”

She put off her cigarette, took a sip on her coffee and sat back. “I really still don’t know why I had the guts to take this step and ask him to spend the night with me. It was the worst suggestion I ever made. He became gradually more relaxed at the pub, he started cracking the real jokes he had typed to me before, and suddenly prince was back to life. I was actually happy that the guy I liked wasn’t far from being himself and unwinding. We left the pub together to fetch a bottle of Jameson and go back to the room he had gotten over, finally. We drank there, and we talked, and we listened to music, and I was enjoying every moment with him. He apologized for the panic when I held his hand, I laughed, he laughed and then we both looked again at the phone to watch the concert. At some point he held onto my hand and I rested my head on his chest. I owned, well, I won’t say the world, I owned the stars. I have to shamelessly admit that I slept with him.”

I had to interrupt her to ask if she really was meeting him for the first time that night, and when she nodded, I asked whether it’s normal for her to jump into bed with men she meets because that’s not what I know about her. She shook her head and told me “Lara, you don’t know him. He talked to me about everything. He even told me he’s leaving the country. He talked openly, I was happy.” I saw her pause a little so I decide not to push the questions through. She then said “it felt right, you wouldn’t understand.” And she was right, I wouldn’t understand. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like, her and prince, in perfect harmony, for ten hours. She said the remaining details aren’t important except that they woke up and grabbed a bite and parted, and he said he was happy that they spent the night together. “A week later, we became total strangers, and here we are, no contact whatsoever.”

I was puzzled, so I asked her to describe prince to me.

“He’s a very mentally chaotic person. He’s selfish, handsome, smart and manipulative; possibly the worst type of men out there. He’s not a good businessman, he’s a good bluff. He is irresponsible, though he isn’t spoiled. He just takes people for granted and doesn’t care about them. He doesn’t know how to communicate his feelings, and his easy way out is sarcasm.”

I heard her describe him so carefully like he was the beautiful doll she ever wanted. And I was left to my thoughts. Why did he go away? Why was she not enough for him? Why was he not enough for her? Why was it such a mystery how they parted? Will they ever be together? Will she call me with nice news? Why was this happening?

She summed it up “he’s the only one I wanted, and I’m the only one he didn’t want. If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door. Accept and move on. Strangers again. It was just a one night stand.”

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