Chapter 4: Birds of a Feather

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Previously, Chapter 3: Flutters

Omar Qasim

11:39am September 25th

Good Morning,
Sorry I couldn’t write back yesterday as my internet went dead. I locked myself out today… I have to ring the landlord later to let me in. Don’t worry man; whatever you tell me stays confidential. We are reading off the same page.

I knew what conclusion you wanted me to draw about you ages before that last message of yours. Man, you are as gay as Christmas. Ha-ha. I’m only messing. As I said, I don’t jump to conclusions. I can make loads of assumptions but seldom a judgment. You have mentioned “The George”… Like come on; I could not be that thick. Ha-ha.

My life in the past few years is worth a novel. It’ll inspire your first book to be published. Isn’t that a great idea? Ha-ha.
Many things are bringing me down. What I’ve been through was traumatic… I lost my younger brother last May; Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome, they told us. I was very close to him; my baby brother… it was fracturing. Living away from my family, in a foreign land, I had to deal with it; to heal on my own. I couldn’t. Last night, I dreamt about him, he was alive. “Everything will be OK” he vividly said to me; I am still in pieces. How would things be OK now he is gone? I feel so lonely; a perturbing loneliness embroiling insomnia … I wish you were here; sitting next to me, so I can sleep. I don’t want to dwell on it. But thanks for the trust you put in me… It obviously goes both ways. x x x.

Gitanes Blondes

2:49pm September 25th

I am really sorry to hear about your brother; my condolences.
I know how hard it must have been for you. And all this time you spend alone doesn’t help at all. I don’t know what to say.

So, are you gay yourself? Or any other definition that might fall under the LGBTIQ umbrella (LGBTIQ= lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-sexual, queer or intersex)?
One more thing; today at work we were promised a raise. If it’s going to be an unfair one, I will resign and move to live with you in Ireland until I find a job. :)

Omar Qasim

3:17pm September 25th

Halla walla khayyou; you are welcome anytime. Yalla, move over and I’ll take care of you. But be careful as I might not let you go then. Ha-ha. Well, you see, I don’t know if you will understand the way I function. OK, for me if I love someone I love the soul, the company and the friendship. Sex, for me, is just a means to express depth; old school romanticism.  Ha-ha. I’m more on the sensitive side; heartbreaks scare me, thus the very few romances in my life. The latest was a nine year relationship that left me heartbroken 2 years ago. When I walk the streets, physiques rarely grab my attention; oh, that’s a hot girl or that’s a handsome man…People are interchangeable until I get to know them. Nobody knows anything about those theories of mine. And I don’t know why I told you. So, please keep that to yourself. Ok buddy?

Gitanes Blondes

4:32pm September 25th

:) I am so happy to know that you will take me in :) . To be honest with you, I have always been sexually driven. Emotional ties have always been make-believe to add significance to sin. Sex had always been my runaway train from intimacy; my barricade. Just like everyone, I am afraid of being hurt, rejected and discarded. But the worst kind of fear is that of our own happiness due to the leaden inevitability of loss; the insidious fear of loss evoked by our disbelief in our right “to have”. My last long-term relationship ended three years ago. These days I feel so vulnerable; sex is not on the menu, all I need is a man to hug me tight and say that everything will be ok and that if it is not, I will have him on my side no matter what. Cheesy I know. :)

I am out to all my friends and my family (but not my dad) and now I am out to you :) It’s still not clear to me what you are, so you don’t have to worry about me sharing it with people. I wouldn’t know what to tell them.
I do so wait for your messages. I love what is going on between us…

Who broke your heart?

Omar Qasim

5:35pm September 25th

Hey, I’m glad you are sharing this with me. I was in a relationship, for nine years, with a girl who was older than me. Her name is Valérie. It was your typical love story, a French teacher in a foreign country falling for a local man. We were seduced by the contrasts we found in each other. When I got my scholarship to do my masters in Paris she moved back with me. Being the romantic I am, once in love, I offered my life. I challenged my parents and my whole society to be with her.  I didn’t give up easily on faults, she had them, I could accept them. I accept people the way they are; I realize that if you need to change them to the people you want them to be then they were never yours. My tolerance levels were very high. I compromised a lot for her to be happier, which I shouldn’t have done. We lived together for a couple of years. I was faithful, even though sometimes it was easier not to be.  We had our ups and downs but, to be honest, we were on a continuous down since we had moved to Paris. The day I got the job in Ireland and signed the contract, I went home elated; my first job after hard years of studying in Paris. She said she had something to tell me. I said I have something as well. Go first she said. I told her about the great post I got, and how healthy this break will be for our relationship. She said she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she will be starting her chemotherapy the day I leave. Problems started and things slowly turned against me. I was blamed for everything. I was blamed for not introducing her to my parents. I was even blamed for her cancer. Actually I’m typing and crying saying that. After it ended, I wasn’t able to be with anyone; physical contact made me cringe. It took me years to heal emotionally and to reacquire a desire for sex. I don’t believe I’m telling you this as none of my family or friends know about it. Eventually I moved to Ireland; a new dawn, a new life. She stayed in France. I was me again, strong, happy and fine. I just didn’t give a fuck anymore. tayazet 3alla kil shi; bas ma falatet ya’ni.

Gitanes Blondes

7:17pm September 25th

Hey there,
I’m telling you; Destiny is devising an uncharted something for us. We both have a need to talk, to connect. With every story you share with me I can see how unfair life was to you. What happened, obviously, affected you big time. How is she feeling now? It is an awful thing to pass through (both of you I mean). As for myself, and at different stages in my life, I’ve fallen for girls. I’ve never had full sex with any; for deep in me I knew I was gay. Recently I’ve noticed that I can maintain satisfactory emotional ties with girls to whom I am out. Ties that are maybe a bit too deep to be only friendship. Tell me more about what happened in the past few months. Tell me more.

A series of both fortunate and misfortunate events had marked my life. I was not as oblivious to them as I might have seemed, but I couldn’t but be still. I had no energy to stir the wheel of my being in any other direction. Because I didn’t know where I was going, I was not afraid of getting lost. I just sat there in that confining room of mine; an ever shrinking world of absolute numbness. I watched my life taking on a Brownian motion; a seemingly random movement of a suspended existence on unpredictable trajectories on collision with random events. Omar’s messages became the only meaningful outlet; the only reason to wake up in the morning and come back home after work.

Omar Qasim

10:23pm September 25th

Our paths have crossed for a reason; known to destiny but for us to discover. Valérie is responding well to the treatment. And as long as I am there for her to pin her bad luck on, she will be fine.

I will tell you more… No sooner was I back on my feet, I fell for a guy. Yes, a guy, who made his way into my heart and soul. He walked straight into my life as I stood there flabbergasted by my own feelings. I met him in a local pub here in Rathmines. The random drunken chat turned out to be the beginning of a friendship; a close friendship. Things between us started picking up. As you know, I had no experience with men before. My feelings towards him were confusing.  I had to trust him. I had no choice but to give him the lead. One day he knocked on my door and asked if he could stay for a few days. He was so upset. I didn’t know what the problem was, I didn’t ask. I wasn’t as attracted to him at that stage but he was a friend in need. I took him in. The few days turned into three months. I did not complain. I was happy. I asked no questions. I brought breakfast to bed and cooked dinner. I took care of him. He did not do much; he did not even have a job. I loved him and I never cared that he was a man. Then one day, he said goodbye and take care. He said that he was sorry but that he has a wife and two kids to whom he should go back. He left… just like that. I had no idea he was married. I was shocked. He walked away leaving me under the rubble of the world that was mine. As hard as it was for me to fall in love, it was even harder to fall out of it; I tumbled. I went mad; aimlessly walking the streets for hours. I didn’t eat for days. A few weeks later my brother died – that topped it all… w shou biddy khabrak ta khabrak … I was referred to a psychiatrist; I was prescribed antidepressants. I nearly lost my job because of the amount of days I took off; calling in sick. In the mirror everyday, I saw a reflection of someone fading away; someone I did not recognize. My face was paler. My eyes lost their sparkle. My grey hair doubled as fast as my dying self esteem. I’m in pain. Lonelier than ever; after being deserted by the only person I was able to love after years of solitude. I used to be happy but now the simplest things make me cry. I used to be as steady as a rock but now I’m easily agitated and very moody. I used to be focused and strong and very independent but now I watch as my whole identity and personality collapse in one big wreck of the man I ended up to be. I didn’t have anybody to share this with; no shoulder to cry on. Anyway, I’m still alive; not completely well, but much better. Nobody knows this about me. Really, sometimes I don’t understand myself. I feel I’m living in the world alone; different!!!!! I’m special; one of a kind. Ha-ha.

What is going on between us is very strange but I’m happy with it as well. You could be my soul mate. Ha-ha.

There is one more thing. As he was leaving he told me something. I feel sick every time I remember it. I am not sure if I will have the courage to share it with you.

Gitanes Blondes

11:42pm September 25th

I was moved and touched by your last message; at the same time your sense of humor manages to make me smile. You had quite a story there but I still have many questions running in my head. This may sound like an investigation but believe me it is not, it is just out of pure concern. I want you to keep on writing, to get it off your chest, even though it is only via these messages. What is his nationality, his age? Did you have sex with him? :) What did he say to you as he was leaving?

26th September 2007, life was twisting like a snake spitting venom into its own flesh. I felt sick. I did not wake up at 7:00. I did not go to work. I over-moaned my words to convince Geraldine that I was not feeling well so she would leave me alone and go to work. She did. I woke up with the same annoying dryness in my mouth. The room smelled of dozens of burned cigarette butts from the night before. I woke up to the same coldness blowing from the air conditioner… to the same pain in my tooth that is ever increasing. Geraldine came back two hours later to check up on me. We had two cups of tea; mine with milk and three spoons of sugar and hers with milk only. We smoked two fags. We did not talk. But it was not until she left that silence prevailed. I realized how annoying the sound of the air conditioning was. I turned it off. I was sweaty. As fragmentized as I was, I decided to open up to him. I decided to tell him all.

I logged on to Facebook. “You have one new message” it read.

- Contributed by Gitanes Blondes

Guest Contributor

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