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I forgot to write about the Iraqi: Part 1

April 30, 2015

I’m so tired.

This job is wearing me out. The workload seems impossible. Big projects, small projects, recurring projects, spontaneous projects, website updates, mobile site updates, bad backend interfaces, stories and signs, brochures and tickets and ads.

I’m burnt out.

So I forgot to write about the Iraqi.

He was a tinder match. John, it said. But there was something different about him.

“Where are you from?” was naturally asked after chatting ensued.


There it is.

“How interesting,” I said.

I decided I wanted to meet him to get it over with. To rule him out. So, I invited him to the Moon on a Wednesday.

He didn’t recognize me and was about to pass me by when I easily picked him out. Long, curly hair, heavily laden with product, over-developed upper body, facial hair that is likely rarely clean-shaven with a dreaded soul patch under his lip. He had sent me the dreaded gym-mirror-selfie. Ugh. His appearance seemed to confirm the shallowness that follows such a gesture.

But here’s the thing about guys like Iraqi. He has a font of knowledge and experience I don’t have. He lived through both Gulf Wars. He was an interpreter for both the British and American armies. He managed to use that experience to come to the U.S. and now spends one month here and one month there. The stories he could tell. That’s what gets me. To learn something beyond my own cultural and geographical experience. To be intrigued by someone. If this guy had been from Baton Rouge he wouldn’t be interesting to me.

We talked and he was surprisingly un-douche-baggy-ish. Sweet and present. We watched people dancing.

“What does Cajun mean?” he asked.

I tried to answer and let Lapin show off with me so he could see a proper two-step.

I liked him. Enough to see him again.

When he started sending me poetry, I panicked a little. I wanted to spend as much time with Mr. Moon as I could before he left. Did I want to give that up to date this guy?

He said he wanted to change his plans so he could see more of me. I told him he shouldn’t. I decided to keep him at bay.

When he came to the Moon again, I told him I needed time. That I needed to wrap something up. I was vague.

“Are you seeing someone else?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“Not. Exactly.”

“What does ‘not exactly’ mean?” he asked.

I couldn’t explain but he was understanding and said he’d wait for me.

But I was hesitant. I was stilly crazy about Mr. Moon and he was leaving in just a couple of weeks. Did I want to give up my  last chances to spend time with him to pursue a new and possibly disappointing venture?

I was standing in the pin sales booth at Festival International, Friday night with Liz, a green wig on my head, my torn up volunteer shirt draping off my shoulder. We were having fun, messing with people, a volunteer shift that has become our annual tradition. Suddenly, it hit me.

It was something Mr. Moon had said. I don’t remember what it was. Some seemingly small, innocuous phrase, observation or statement that had pierced some part of my heart, reminding me…….he isn’t yours and he can’t be. I had many such moments with Z. And each time I would say to myself, You need to let him go. This isn’t what you want. You deserve more. But I always went back. Because he was intoxicating to me and I was in love with him. And being in his arms was warm and beautiful.

Nonetheless, the stab in my heart created a dull pain and I decided to let go of Mr. Moon and allow myself to try to date someone else. I said it out loud in front of some stranger, there at the pin sales booth, music blaring on the stage nearby. “I’ve made a decision,” I said. “I’m going to give the Iraqi a chance.”

“The Iraqi?” the stranger asked. “What is she talking about?”

“Well, there’s the Persian and there’s the Iraqi,” Liz mockingly explained to the confused stranger as I stared off into space.

I picked up my phone and texted Mr. Moon, telling him I needed to talk. He wasn’t available.

I invited the Iraqi to come out with us after our volunteer shift, after I got out of that damned wig. He parked at my apartment and we walked to Artmosphere. Liz was flitting around inside dancing and the Iraqi and I sat outside drinking abysmal wine and talking. He told me about himself. He had a daughter. He was divorced. I enjoyed his company. He held my hand and told me I was beautiful.

The next day Mr. Moon came over and I told him I had met someone and I wanted to date him. I didn’t need to tell him. I didn’t owe him any explanation. We were only friends. But there was something between us and we both knew it. His reaction was difficult to read. He was politely understanding and encouraging. He was happy for me, he said. He teased me and kissed me. “One last time.” There was something a bit awkward about his reaction. He had no reason to lay any claim to my affection but I thought I saw some sadness, some regret. He started to ask me if he had meant something to me, fumbling with the words. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know how I feel about you,” I said.

I dropped him off at his apartment with an awkward goodbye and watched him walk away, wondering if I had done the right thing.

to be continued….


From → Rantings

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