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The Iraqi Part 3

May 2, 2015

He was supposed to walk with me again Monday but it rained heavily and Tuesday I had a photo shoot after work.

The intervening time was filled with texted poems and proclamations of intense affection. He liked me. I was different. He missed every minute he was without me. He didn’t want to lose me.

It was started to be a bit much. We had meet just a week or so before.

When I was at work, I would see his name pop up on my phone and sigh in annoyance thinking, what now? His salutations and impromptu poetry was met with “Thanks. That’s sweet. I can’t talk right now. Work is crazy.”

I agreed to walk with him on Wednesday.

As I was driving to the park he texted me, telling me where he had parked. I glanced at the message and put my phone down.

When I arrived he was waiting. He gave me a big hug saying, “I missed you so much!”

We started walking and he asked about my day. “Stressful,” I told him. “The workload is heavy.”

“I will talk to my boss and get you a job at my company,” he said. I looked over at him.

“I don’t want a job with your company,” I said. “What could I do there?”

“I don’t know. Logistics or something.”

“I don’t want just any job. I need to be creative. My job is stressful sometimes but I like it.”

As we walked I began to feel a tension from him. There were long periods of silence followed by proclamations and questions designed to confirm both his affection for me and his need to have the same returned.

He told me that he thought about me all the time. That he really liked me, that he wanted us to be together. He wanted to know if I thought about him before I went to sleep at night and when I woke up in the morning. He said he wondered why he didn’t get longer replies from his poetic texts. He wished that I would surprise him with messages of my own. He wanted to know what I said about him to Liz, what she thought about him, what she said about him. He said he wanted to make me happy. He wanted me to meet his daughter. He wanted to see the ocean and travel. He wanted me to see Iraq and visit  the Kurdistan region where his friend lived. I should go to the gym. He would take me. He would pay for my membership.

It was overwhelming and I felt my chest tightening. I was uncomfortable.

“I don’t want to go to the gym. I like the park.”

I dodged and deflected and answered his questions with silence. I told him I needed to take things slower, that I didn’t want to rush. I couldn’t say to him that I thought about him as I lay down to sleep. I couldn’t return his intense affections. It seemed disingenuous. He barely knew me.

I tried to change the subject and brought up the earthquake in Nepal. He had not idea what I was talking about.

He pointed out that our cultures were different. That Iraqi’s tend to be more intense and forward. But this was more than a cultural divide. He was analyzing our relationship when we didn’t even have one.

He asked me if I had gotten his text from earlier.

“The one about you being here?” I asked. “Yes, I saw it.”

“Because it says, ‘delivered,’ not ‘read,'” he said, holding up his phone showing the message.

Oh holy shit, I thought. He’s a basic bitch. I laughed to myself remembering how I had done the exact same thing when I sent a text to Z and the ‘delivered’ status remained for three days. Foolishly consulting my son about it, he had ridiculed me calling me basic. Now, I could see why.

This is too much, I thought. I can’t deal with this. 

“It seems like you’re hoping for a set of behaviors from the person you’re interested in and I’m not behaving the way you want me to,” I said.

He countered and tried to explain.

“I wish you spoke Arabic,” he said in exasperation. “so I can explain what I really feel.”

Finally, I raised my hands, looked at him and said, “You’re analyzing us. We’ve known each other 2 weeks. You shouldn’t be analyzing things at 2 weeks!”

He laughed and persisted.

“I don’t understand you,” he said. “You drive me crazy.”

He was smiling as he said it.

Maybe I had met my match. Maybe he was intrigued with me for the same reasons I had been with him, at first. “I was different,” he had said. I didn’t want his money or his favors. I didn’t want to be taken care of. I didn’t insist on his time. I was interested in his culture and experiences. He was doing to me what I was doing to him. The problem was, underneath the fascination there was no chemistry, no common way of thinking, no shared values. I could see that. But he couldn’t.

We were finishing the last lap just as I was explaining why I thought it was a fallacy to think that anyone can make another person happy. I could see that he was confused and frustrated. It was almost 7 and I had to go pick up my son. I said a quick goodbye and got into my car, relieved to be alone with my own thoughts.

“Marie, what I wish I don’t want loss u.” he texted, minutes after I pulled away.

Oh boy, I thought. I gotta shut this down. 

to be continued….

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From → Rantings

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