As I Wait For The Waiter To Tip Me A Lira

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I never run out of things to do here at the Greek hotel where I’m staying, yet an unpleasant feeling keeps haunting and tiring me.

It is the early morning, very early, about 4 or 5 am, and I am sweating. It is hot today and summer and June of 2010.

I wake up on this empty twin bed, my T-shirt stuck to my body, and you are all I can think of. I suppose if I were a man, different from what I am, that you would care for me. But I am not, so you don’t.

Why do you do it? Make yourself into that? Make yourself into a god and forbid me from worshiping you? And you close on me the gates of your temple, like they close the doors of the restaurant every time I go there when you have your shift, and I stay till you finish, and the place closes, and you walk away.

It is 7:53 am and I want dinner. For it is this only that allows me to see you.

You. Everything I ever wanted. He had told me about the new waiter at Café Rose, but I used to mock him. Remember how I used to mock you, Jad? But I am not the boy who mocks you anymore, for I saw what you saw in him: such a vivid soul, such passion for life, so spontaneous, so simple.

It is one of those days when it never cools down, but I don’t really care. I keep walking through the streets and around my mind, heading toward you.

I arrive and the restaurant is empty – just one or two customers – and you are there talking to the owner.

I greet both of you and sit at a table outside. It takes you a few minutes before you go outside, smiling – it is not your best asset, but it’s cute enough – and start talking about today’s special.

I don’t know why my heart only beats fast when you are not around. I look at you like any human looks at another, because you are then so real. Because it is only when you don’t address me that I feel this need, this urge – yes, urge – to touch you, or anything, to prove your existence.

The place is now extremely crowded, and you are very busy. (Too busy to look at me. My heart beating faster). You are running between tables. Taking orders. Plates. Dishes. Spoons. Forks. Talks. Laughs. Whispers. Shouts. Garçon! Slams. Menu! Amaz–. Breaks. Garçon! Garcon! Beats. Beats. Beats. Beats.

And then you look at me, and how are you today and what did you think, and I nod and say it was good, but maybe they can add some vinegar, and you say lovely idea – or maybe some wine, you say.

It is closing time once again. I leave and wait outside with a few people from a street close to mine, so I can walk back with them, and you come out and walk ahead of us.

We walk unhurriedly behind you, and their idle conversations could not interest me any less.

It is you I am looking at, and you don’t feel it. This is how you are toward my         -is this …?- You are just a notlistens, a notspeaks, a notsees.

This is the street where I should leave you, and you go on like you are: a notlooks behind.

And I leave, mumbling a song of Oum Kulthoum, (mumbles: Look where you are and where Love is. Why are you always so unjust to it?) but this feeling is deeper than any of our Arabic musical rhythms.

Maybe I am not who you want. And if I could, I would take it out of me, this notwanted you see. But I cannot if you don’t talk to me, and you don’t even care much about my walks toward you each time, like Dante’s walks through the Inferno, the Purgatory and the Heavens to get to his Béatrice. Because you are my notBéatrice, for she at least knew of the love and called for him. And all I do is write about you and remember you and walk toward you, but you unmove; not because you are not sweet – you are so sweet – but because you don’t really know. And I talk and talk and you don’t hear, and you don’t even know that I am talking about you – yes you – and I leave this note here on the restaurant table for you to see, for you to read, to know of this unexplainable feeling I have, this crippling emotion that encloses me like you would trap a bird in a small cage, like you trapped me within your words, your aura, your smile – yes it’s peculiar, but I love it. Because my dear, I have this feeling toward you and asking for it (say it! Says: Love) in return is too much to hope for. It is not that it is hopeless, but I just can’t hope.

Have you ever had this feeling before? Feeling something inexplicable toward someone that doesn’t know? Not physical, for I don’t care about the geography of your body; it’s something so deep, so peculiar, so intangible, something much higher than the physical, something more pure, something innocent, like those kids that run around here and may god keep you safe and give me a lira and I am hungry. How innocent they are, how they know nothing of life and how cruel and deceiving it can be, nothing of how no one is ever happy – just like me – but I want another kind of lira and no one gives it to me, until someone – like you – passed by and I saw the lira shining in his pocket and I followed and followed and followed. That lovely lira that I can’t have, I want it every day still. Béatrice, do you listen?

- Contributed by Le cat

Guest Contributor

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