Being in IT means that I can't help thinking in acronyms. DBR is my latest invention. It stands for Dead-Baby Related. So that's how I guage my mood these days. I know am doing well if most of my thoughts are not DBR.
The night my mother arrived was well where do I start? We left around 10 to get her from the airport. On the way we got into a fight that was definitely DBR. Am not going to write any of it down because I have an uncanny memory for conversation anyway & writing it down will just make it stick in my head even longer. And this is something ugly that I won't do anyone any good by not forgetting.
When we were out of the car & in the airport I'd had it with him so I told him that if he doesn't shut up I'll scream & people will think he's with a deranged person. He said you mean they'll know. I said are you going to shut up or not? He said yeah but only because he prefers to keep my derangement private. Then he said but he wasn't done with me yet. I thought oh God let me run away & join the circus & felt like tearing my hair out by the roots. But I let all that slide because I could see my Mom.
On the way back I sat in the backseat with my mother. Couldn't stand being near him in the front seat. We were trying to be civil infront of her but it wasn't easy. I was still furious. And he was too.
At home over dinner, I was more or less calm. He was still mostly silent. So the conversation was mainly between me & Mama. She started asking me questions, about how I was feeling, my latest test results etc...& before I knew it I was telling her the whole story of what happened that day. My parents didn't know until that moment that it actually happened in the street. My mother's first reaction was you were alone(at the hospital)? Together with an accusing glance at him. I said Mama he didn't know, I didn't call him, he wouldn't have left me alone if he'd known. Then I looked up & he was smiling at me. He still didn't say anything though. Neither did she. I did all the talking. Mostly confused DBR gibberish. The two of them didn't say anything. They just let me get it all out. And best of all they didn't come near me. I was at that touch-me-and-I'll-electrocute-you mood again. I guess my body language was issuing correct safety instructions.
When I was all talked out, I realized two things. It was the first time I actually talked(shouting insults about it in the car doesn't count) to him about what happened. Ok I wasn't really talking to him but I was talking infront of him so it was definitely progress right? The second was that I didn't cry. Not a single tear. Not even when Mama started crying.
At some point the two of them were cleaning up. I went into the living room, sat on the couch & switched on the TV. Flipped through a few channels & then left it on Orbit's Fox News of all things. Watched the headlines & was surprised by my supreme indifference to the state of the world. Didn't care who was getting blown up, didn't care who invaded who, didn't care if civilizations clashed or crashed etc...Figured it could all happen just as well on its own without my involvement. Impressive actually because Fox News never failed to infuriate me before. Am always sending them nasty emails. It tells you just how numb I was.
Mama came in & stuck a cup of tea in my hand. Nice tea. She sat with me for a while & we talked about non-DBR things. Family gossip, the state of affairs in Morocco, how my sister was doing in school. Then she gave me a hug & said she was tired & going to bed. She wasn't. She was just being tactful, thinking he & I want to be alone. Little did she know that I was actually terrified of being alone with him & talking about anything. I meant it when I said all talked-out. And he'd said he wasn't done with me earlier. What if he wanted to carry on where we left off earlier? Wanted to beg her not to leave me alone but didn't.
After she left I sat there a bit longer. My legs felt like they were made of water. I started thinking what if I never get off this couch ever again & having visions of life permanently attached to the couch. It would give a whole new meaning to the term 'couch potato' wouldn't it?
Then I heard him in the kitchen. We exchanged a few meaningless comments then he said that if I didn't want to wake my Mom I should stop shouting from all the way over there & come in he didn't bite. So I made myself get up & go. He was making sheesha. He looked at me & I froze thinking please don't say anything DBR or about the fight we had earlier. He caught on & didn't. Guess he figured out that if he'd even hinted either way I'd have bolted. Am getting so good at running away these days & making myself unavailable even if I happen to be right next to him. He said didn't you always say you want to learn how to make it(sheesha)? I said yes. So he said ok come here. So we had a sheesha-making lesson. I got it right on the 4th attempt. Then he made tea & we took the lot into the bedroom & out to the balcony.
Watched him smoking for a few minutes then went back in the bedroom & started looking into all my old handbags trying to find an abandoned pack of cigarettes. Was sure there had to be at least one. It was my lucky day. I found it. Got an ashtray from the kitchen. Came back out into the balcony & he said I thought you quit. I said that now we know for sure am not pregnant so I can smoke if I want. Then I teared up a little. He took my hands in his & kissed them. He wiped the tears off my face & was kissing me all over my face. Which made me cry even more. Gentleness does that to me these days.
We sat there smoking in silence for a while and I started to feel better. Told him thanks I could kiss you. He said hey you should always go with your feelings. So I did. He deserved it. He deserved much more actually but it wasn't going to happen that night. He put his arm around me & I put my head on his shoulder. Don't know how long we stayed like that because I fell asleep.
Woke up in the morning in bed. He was getting ready for work. Watched him for a while then I asked him if he still thought I was deranged. He smiled & said always. So I asked him what I always ask him when he calls me crazy/abnormal/deranged etc....which is: so why are you with me then?
Him: I'm a simple man. Give me a pretty face, good legs, long wild hair & I have no complaints. Sanity is a plus but not a requirement.
The answer is always some variation on that theme.
Pretty face I was fine with. Wild hair I wasn't but was more or less resigned to. But good legs? I was used to 'great legs' or 'amazing legs'. He said they were my best feature. Ya3ni if they're my best feature they can't just be good! That's almost worse than normal! So I asked him why I was suddenly demoted to 'good'.
Him: Good is the best I can do from memory. I mean I haven't seen them in God knows how long.
Well I knew how long but that was definitely DBR & not to be pursued. So I kept quiet & waited for what I knew he would say next.
Him: And do me a favor next time I see your legs can it please not be in public?
I know him so well. Told him that if I go out in short skirts it's all his fault since I never did that before I met him. It's true I didn't. Here in UAE where I grew up the sight of bare legs is very rare unless you're on the beach. Women might wear revealing tops or tight pants but short is just not in fashion here. And before I met him I guess I was an adherent to that fashion.
When we started dating I couldn't help but notice what I thought was his unhealthy obssession with women's legs. Oh he has the usual male fascination with the female anatomy but about legs in particular he seriously worried me. I mean we'll be out in public & I'll say something like did you see what that woman did & he'll answer who Skinny Legs over there? And I'd be like how did you know what her legs are like she's wearing a long skirt? And he'd say yeah but it's see-through & she's walking in the sun.
And I had to come to terms with the fact that I was dating a man who identifies women by their legs. It's like if he doesn't remember your legs he doesn't remember you. I swear he's just too perverted about legs. Now I like to think am not an unreasonably possessive woman but I really didn't like the idea of my bf checking out other women when I was right next to him. Ok I never actually caught him looking. I'd always just suddenly be presented with the findings of his observations & find myself wondering when he'd seen this or that. He must have eyes in the back of his head! But I still didn't like it. So my skirts slowly started to get shorter & shorter. And to balance it out I started to cover up on top. Basically my whole style changed. The idea was that if my legs were visible right next to him he might not look elsewhere out of laziness if not fidelity. He did stop but not for either of those reasons. He stopped because he was too preoccupied with glaring at everyone else who he thought might be checking me out - usually a lot of people - because like I said it's an unusual sight here. Sometimes it made me feel uncomfortable. I was used to wearing a top that was a little bit revealing but always carrying a jacket or a scarf to go with it so that if I find myself somewhere where all the other women are hijabed or niqabed I can wrap up a little & not have some of them glaring at me. When wearing something short what can you do? Carry another skirt? Nothing. You just have to take it.
Me: Well if a 4 year old doesn't want to play with his toy what does his mother do? She makes him think someone else wants to play with it.
He smiled & didn't say anything so I guess he agreed that he was like a 4 year old.
Then he suddenly told me that I don't laugh anymore. I said what? He said that we used to laugh all the time & now I hardly even smiled. I said I was sorry. He said don't apologize, that he just felt bad that I was so sad. I was quiet for a while. Then I said well maybe you're not funny anymore. He said what? Told him maybe you can't make me laugh anymore. And he said you reckon? I said yes. So suddenly he grabs me & starts tickling me. Am extremely ticklish so I woke up the neighborhood this time not just my Mom. Was laughing so hard I knew that if I didn't stop soon I'd start crying. I really can't afford to laugh too hard these days because it tends to turn into hysterics. Begged him to stop because I didn't want to cry all over him. It would have made him sad. I wanted to send him off to work with a smile for a change.
So I did. And as soon as he'd left I felt happy that I managed that. At least I can still make him happy even if it's in little ways like that. My spirits lifted. And stayed up for the rest of yesterday. I even went back to hounding him with phonecalls & sms all day at work. Was out shopping with my mother who knows me really well & so had figured out that shopping(bought another short skirt & a pair of boots) would cheer me up. Me & her also went to a beauty salon where I had a facial & she had her hair done. They refused to touch my hair because I had no appointment. My hair takes so much time that I can never get it done without a special appointment. In the evening we took my Mom to the Cultural Foundation to see a play she'd been talking about, then we dropped her off at a friend's & me him went to dinner. I'd say yesterday was pretty good on the DBR scale.
Today started out a little on the downside because I had a doctor's appointment. Went with my Mom at about 9:00 this morning. The doctor confirmed that everything was ok & that it would be fine for me to go back to work on Sat. She also said that I should wait 6 weeks before I get pregnant again. Ok that's nice to know. Left feeling down but didn't have too long to think about it because as soon as we got home, we were beseiged with visitors, female friends of the family who came to see my Mom & to see me since of course she had to tell them why she was back in town. I just stayed busy making tea, coffee, handing out sweets, helping Mom make brunch for those of our guests who stayed long enough. Didn't give anyone a chance to ask me too many questions because I was in & out of the kitchen the whole time. I don't know if I enjoyed it really. I guess I did. It was nice to see the house so full. And to catch up on everyone's news.
K came home for lunch & I didn't have to cook anything because we had so much food left over from the brunch. After he left M called from work to check on me & I asked her something I've been fretting about for a while. Does everyone at work know why I'm absent? She said yes. I should have known. My medical report is supposed to be confidential but who sticks to these rules here?Of course the secretary will gossip. What this means is that I'll have to deal with questions & sympathy when I go back to work on Sat & I really didn't want to. Work is one place I want to stay together. It would so humiliating if I come undone there. Just have to pray that I'll be feeling much stronger on Sat.