March 06, 2015 12:00 AM | by Luci
A Stranger with Baggage
Mum: Everything set? Did you forget to bring anything Habiba needs with you?
Me: I don’t think I forgot anything, but I have to run now mum. I’m carrying too many bags and have to make it to the counter. Will call you once I board.
See, I’m a big fan of weddings, but not when things get stressful. At that point, the stress level was already high and I haven’t even made it to Cairo. Was I excited to go back? Of course I was, but I was a bit worried I get mixed up in all the things I left behind, but let’s face it, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I prefer sooner!
Remember Habiba my friend and her fiancé Rafik? Yes, the 41 year old guy with a son. They got engaged over a year ago and even though Habiba was very eager to seal the deal and get married, she finally listened to her parents and decided to give things more time. And now, it was time for her big day! As the maid of honor, yes me not Dina, I had to get her a few things from Dubai, and be there on time to organize things properly.
A few hours later, I was laying on my bed in my own room. I missed it! I rested for an hour, spent some time with my parents and then headed over to Habiba’s place.
Habiba: Are you going out with us like this?
Me: Like what? Going out where?
Habiba: Of course you forgot.
Dina: See, I told you I’d be a better maid of honor.
Me: No you won’t be. It just slipped my mind, refresh my memory please.
Habiba: We’re having a small gathering today, my close friends along with Rafik’s besties.
Dina: Oh over-age men? Anyone looking like Gegorge Clooney? Hahaha
Oh shit, I completely forgot about that and even though I was extremely tired, I rushed back home, slipped into a black dress, put some makeup and accessories on, then went back to get Habiba and Dina.
The gathering was at a fancy restaurant, just a few people, around 12 or maybe a little bit more. The awkward thing about it, was there were tons of older men among ladies of my age. I felt it was a bit uncomfortable for everyone, or was it just in my head? Dina scanned the table and decided to go squeeze herself right next to a guy who looked like he’s her style. I haven’t spoken to her for a while and neither have I spoken to Joey as well, I wasn’t sure where they were taking their relationship or if they were still talking. I would definitely need to catch up on that.
I picked the emptiest corner and sat in it, a perfect location for me to try and relax a bit. I wasn’t in the mood to socialize, but couldn’t tell Biba that, I’ll just stuff myself with food instead and pretend I’m busy eating. I had only 10 minutes of alone time when I was interrupted by a guy grabbing the chair next to mine. I gave him a scary look, a reaction to not wanting to be disturbed.
Stranger: Oh, is this seat taken?
Stranger: Great, then I’ll sit here. I’m Faisal, Rafik’s friend.
Me: Yeah, I figured.
I only realized I was being rude when he looked at me in a weird way.
Me: Sorry, what I meant to say is, nice to meet you. I had a long day and I’m not concentrating properly anymore.
Faisal: Don’t worry about it. Happens to me all the time. I assume you’re the famous Luci? Habiba talks a lot about you. You’re now living in Dubai?
Me: Seems like you have all the details. Yeah, I live there now.
Faisal: What do you do?
Me: I’m sure she told you that too, didn’t she?
Another weird look. I’m being a complete and utter ***!
Me: How about this? Hi I’m Luci, Habiba’s friend and maid of honor. I apologize in advance because I don’t always think before I speak, especially on exhausting days. I just came back from Dubai, where I work in PR, I have barely slept the past few days because I had to submit lots of projects to be able to take a week off.
Faisal: Hahaha now you’re talking too much.
Me: You’re hard to please man!
Habiba: I see you two have met. Faisal couldn’t make it to our engagement because he was traveling, but he promised he’ll be dancing the most at our wedding.
Me: I doubt that, the competition is on!
Habiba: Did you know he’s the best man? You guys will be dancing together at the beginning of the wedding.
Faisal: Do we have to? She speaks without thinking hahaha
Me: Nice, he has a sense of humor too!
Habiba looked a bit puzzled, she wasn’t sure if we were really not into each other at all or we were just kidding.
Habiba: Do you guys want me to change the plan? You can go with my friend Mona over there and Luci you can go with him (pointing at another guy sitting across the room).
Faisal: No it’s fine, I’ll dance with Luci.
Habiba was relieved we wouldn’t mix up people for her and then she left quickly before we could change our minds. I looked at him and started laughing.
Me: It seems like I messed with the wrong person.
Faisal: You know I only agreed to the dancing thing because I didn’t make it to their engagement. Usually, I’m pretty much against weddings as a concept.
Me: Wonderful, now you’re sharing some juicy gossip about yourself with a total stranger?
Faisal: Trust me, you’re no stranger to me, I’ve heard too many things about you. See, your friend Habiba thought it was a good idea to try and match us together.
Why would she do that? And with a 40 something year old guy? I have to admit he’s very handsome, but it doesn’t mean I’d be okay with the age difference.
Me: Wonderful! Why do they even think I need someone to set me up?
Faisal: That’s what I asked her right after she showed me your picture. She then said because both of us have terrible taste. I then had to point out that she was the one getting married to Rafik hahaha
He had a good sense of humor, that I must admit.
Faisal: So why are you single?
Me: Why are you?
Faisal: Don’t answer a question with another. Is it really because you have a terrible taste? I’ll share with you my take on this once you tell me.
Me: Why should I share something like that with a stranger?
Faisal: You don’t have to, but I’m curious to know. Plus random conversations with strangers are always interesting.
Me: I’m single because I want to be. I don’t plan on getting into another relationship until I find someone who works perfectly with me.
Faisal: Yeah, that’s what they all say, but there’s no such thing as perfect or that soul mate crap.
Me: I didn’t say I believe in soul mates. I’m not naive. What about you?
Faisal: I don’t believe in “forever.” What I do believe in, however, is fun and shorter relationships.
Me: Dude, how old are you? You’re not in kindergarten anymore. Tic tock!
Faisal: Ouch, that was harsh.
Me: I know, but you need a reality check. I get that there’s no guaranteed forever, nor such a thing as soul-mates, because let’s face it, people change on a daily basis, but come on, what you’re saying is just the cheesiest thing I have heard.
Faisal: You think because you’ve had a couple of bad experiences and managed to get back on your feet, you'd be an expert? Well, you are indeed naive. Things aren’t always as simple as people think they are.
Me: And things aren’t as complicated as people like you make them to be. Life shouldn’t be that dramatic. Anyway, nice meeting you man. I need to leave and get some sleep.
He looked at me and I could see I got him angry. I don’t care, honestly I’ve had enough of people who think they’re experts in everything in life. I’m okay with people who have their own views and don’t try to interfere with yours, it’s called respecting other opinions, but the ones who try and enforce the way they think on you just suck.
I spent some time with my mum before I finally made it to bed. I decided to call Habiba and let her know I’m sorry I wasn’t there for her like I should have been today.
Me: Biba, I promise you I’m getting my energy together, I'll get my beauty sleep tonight and tomorrow I’ll be super hyper for you.
Habiba: Great babe, don’t worry about it. Quick question, what did you think of Faisal?
Me: Hmmm, he’s ok. A bit on the crazy side though. I heard you wanted to set us up?
Habiba: Yeah, I was trying. I was talking about you with Rafik and Faisal was there. It seemed like he got interested to know more about you and that was when I showed him your picture. Did he annoy or anything? I sensed a weird vibe between you two.
Me: Nah, we were kidding at first, but then he started asking me all sorts of personal questions about why I'm not in a relationship and this crap. He went all “I don’t believe in forever” kind of stuff. I wasn’t in the mood to listen.
Habiba: Yeah, he does that, but he didn’t have it easy.
Habiba: His wife died a few years ago and he had to go to therapy for a long while. Rafik tells me it was a crazy time for him, he collapsed and no one was able to do anything about it.
Me: Oh shit. I was a total *** in that case.
Habiba: How would you know? Don’t worry about it.
Me: Does he have kids?
Habiba: Not sure, I have to ask Rafik. Anyway, don’t worry about it. Faisal will be okay. I now need you to sleep and be ready for me tomorrow starting 10am. There are still things I need to get and need your opinion on them.
The moment Habiba told me about Faisal my whole body shivered. I couldn’t help it. I shouldn’t be that quick to judge people. I really shouldn’t be! I couldn’t sleep for a while and kept on thinking whether I should apologize or not. Then I decided against it. I tried to close my eyes to get that sleep I’ve been longing for, but couldn’t fall asleep.
I get up, open up my laptop and search for the guy in Habiba’s friend list. Oh great, she has it private. I try looking for him in Rafik’s friends list. Here he is! Should I add him to message him? No no, I’ll just message him. After thinking about what I should write for a while, I decided to send the following:
Me: Hey Faisal, I’m terribly sorry for today. I was in a really cranky mood and you happened to be beside me. Have a great night!
A few seconds afterwards, he starts typing.
Faisal: Don’t worry about it. We’re cool, but you’re only apologizing because Habiba told you, right?
I stared at the screen for a second and wasn’t sure how to reply.
Me: Yes, she did. It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for you or anything. I just realized I was as stubborn as you were and maybe a bit ruder. That’s all!
Faisal: Good! See you tomorrow then.
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