There you are again. With that self-centered, self-assured walk. Like the world belongs to you. That jumpiness when you walk tells it all. The way you carry the kanun – bare, without a cover to protect it. But I can tell you have great respect for it, though you try to be casual about it. Again, you’re unshaven today. The same jeans, with that imprint of a thick wallet on the left back pocket. And you’re always either rolling a cigarette or smoking one. You must smell like an ashtray. But I see you take care of your body. In that white tank top o can clearly see the well-defined muscles of your dark shoulders and arms. Full of contradictions, aren’t you?
Oh yes, I see the way you look at me, like a hungry animal lurking for prey. And I don’t like it. you want to devour me in one piece.
At the same time, you probably think I’m too much of an intellectual for you. Or too proud to even talk to someone like you. Or too sophisticated with my leather briefcase.
Mother always told me I need to marry someone who would challenge me intellectually and let me grow. And I listened to her. Married a real intellectual. Dr. of Political Science, no less. Head of the department. And oh did he challenge me. Heated discussions into the night about the nature of the nation-state, the political identity of a people, what defines a nation, why democracy has failed, and what not.
I don’t deny it, they were indeed very challenging discussions. Intriguing even. I learned from him, and he even enriched my thought. Often, I found his ideas spilling into the lectures I was preparing, reflected in a different way in class discussions with my students.
Sometimes I miss these talks of ours. He was a good friend. A close one, even. There was mutual respect between us. We cared for each other deeply. When my migraines would completely disable me for several days, he always made sure the blinds were drawn all day long, and even kept my father away with his loud chatter. He made me shai three times a day and brought me my favorite fruit in the summer – khokh abu wabar.
Yes, we lived like good friends. We shared household chores, spent relaxed evenings in the garden reading through each other’s notes for the upcoming lectures, giving feedback and constructive comments.
I could tell from the way he was settling comfortably into this life that he was happy. Content that he reached his destination – the final end point.
But not me. I wanted more. Looking back, I sometimes wonder if I weren’t selfish for wanting more than that for myself – for us.
But still, I wanted more. Oh yes, much more. My insides were burning, my throat dry, thirsty. I was yearning for something greater. But I didn’t know yet what it was I was in search of.
I wanted the ground to be swept from underneath me. I wanted to experience something so intense it would leave me filled with so much energy enough to set me on fire. Leave an eternal mark on me like a hot iron sizzling on the skin.
I wanted to be set on fire and burn like the phoenix. To die an intense death and be reborn all fresh and new all over.
I thought at first there must be something wrong with me for wanting this fire intensity.
But there was something in me craving to experience the utter opposite of intellectuality. Raw, unhinged savageness.
At that time, I was immersed in teaching a course on the erotic works of D. H. Lawrence.
to be continued...