Sitting next to my husband in the car, I find myself watching him thinking it's no wonder he likes big cars. He's such a big guy that he would look - and probably feel - awkward in a small car. The way he positions himself in the seat, the way he drives with one hand on the wheel and the other arm hanging out of the window. He makes driving look easy because he's relaxed about it. When I am driving, I can't stop complaining about other drivers getting in my way or making mistakes. He never rants and raves the way I do. If someone is being really stupid, the most he will do is make fun of them. I love to watch him drive.
Who am I kidding? I mean, what don't I love to watch him do? I love to watch him, period. Sometimes I ask myself if I'd love him so much if he wasn't so good to look at. It's an uncomfortable thought. To think I might be so shallow, I mean. But let's face it, half the time when I let him get away with things that really irritate me in other people, it's because he looks so good it distracts me from being mad. How many times have I made up my mind to really put my foot down about something and then failed to even bring it up when I saw him face to face? I mean, who's counting?Who has time?
I try to push these thoughts out of my mind and enjoy the evening out. Last night, being too tired to dress up, we found our way to our new home. I discovered it recently. He liked it a lot. So before you know it, it's now our new regular hang out. An Arabic Cafe setting. That's the theme. You get your own tent. No chairs. You sit or lean on huge, comfy cushions on the floor. So comfy that I've fallen asleep on them a couple of times. They serve no food. Only traditional Arabic drinks and sweets and - of course - sheesha. They stay open at all times. At least they've never kicked us out yet and we've stayed pretty late a few times.
The service is excellent but the place is not pretentious at all. It's very relaxing. Almost like being at home. You get your own huge TV screen. The tents are big enough for 14 or 15 people to sit comfortably. So sometimes we go with friends and sometimes we have our tent to ourselves.
The tents are far enough apart that you can watch your favorite programs in reasonable peace. That's a big deal for him. Not me. Am not much of a TV person. But I bring along my novel or my laptop to keep me entertained while he's watching Egyptian football. Or talkshows on Egyptian channels about Egyptian football. I always find his obssession with Egyptian football odd. I mean, I didn't grow up in Morocco so I couldn't tell you the first thing about football there. And he's been to Egypt even less frequently than I've been to Morocco and yet he follows even minor league stuff in Egypt.
Last night we arrived to find this sign posted at the entrance:
ممنوع تفديم الشيشة لمن هم دون السادسة عشر
Which means they don't serve sheesha to people under 16 years of age. Can't say I was shocked or anything. The first time I ever came here I walked in alone to join a bunch of girlfriends. That was when I had my shock. The number of little kids who hand out there! And I mean little kids. As young as 10 or 11. Staying so late. Swearing at the waiters for not bringing them sheesha or allowing them to smoke. Some of them standing outside by the entrance or in the carpark to smoke. And I'm not talking about one or two kids here. I'm talking about big groups of them. Boys and girls.
As if all of that was not enough, as I walked in that first time, a group of about 4 or 5 boys - the oldest of whom couldn't have even been 14 - fell silent, stared and then I heard whistles and comments behind me. I froze. Then I turned around, looked at them and burst out laughing. The idea that these...these little STOOGES actually thought of themselves as men old enough to know ANYTHING about attraction was just hilarious to me. And flirting with me! I mean, I am old enough to be their mother!
Anyway, I think my reaction actually embarrassed them - because they all turned their faces the other way or looked down and went back to smoking their cigarettes. But of course I wasn't going to let it go at that. I proceeded to lecture them about smoking, ask them if they're done with their homework etc....I must have spent half an hour standing outside with them, making them tell me their names and lecturing them. At the end of which they hated me.
My friends and I took to bullying the poor little kids everytime we saw them there. We'd walk into their tent and ask them if it's not past their bedtime etc....They really got embarrassed by that. They really did. But they kept coming back. Which sucked because the idea was to do society a favor and drive them away from this sort of place. Where ARE their parents? This is just incomprehensible to me. Letting a 10-year-old stay out so late on a school night? Don't teachers give homework anymore?
Last night as we walked in, this 15 or 16-year-old kid stepped out of the way to let me pass. The perfect gentleman. I'd seen him a few times before so I said Ya 7abibi tislam(Thanks sweetheart) or something like that. And the kid blushed and smiled at me. So cute.
My husband didn't think so. When we settled down in our tent, I looked up to find him glaring at me.
Me : What?
Him: 7abibik? (sweetheart)
Me : K, he's just a kid.
Him: Mish sogayar lildaraga di ya3ni.(He's not that young.)
Me : Ok I'm sorry.
Me: Khalas. Wallah asfa.(I swear I'm sorry.)
Him (smiling): Khalas. (Ok)
I blew him a kiss. But by then he was busy fiddling with his sheesha.
Me : Excuse me. I gave you a kiss. Where's my kiss?
Him: 7adir. Gai. (Ok I'm coming.)
He kept fiddling with that sheesha for a few more minutes until he had it just right. Then he put it aside, pulled me by the hair and kissed me. When we came up for air:
Me (giggling at the way he looked with my lipstick all over his face): Wasn't that a bit excessive? I just blew you a kiss.
Him: Howa la kida 3agib wala kida 3agib? Niboos ti2olo mish 3arif eh. No3od sakteen ti2olo ma bitrodoosh leh. (He's asking if nothing will make me happy)
Me (picking up a paper tissue and wiping liptstick off his face): Don't you know how to blow kisses?
Him: Merci ya 7abibi. La malish ana fil7agat elnazari di. (Thanks. No I don't believe in theory only practice.)
Me: Ba3dain sa3a astanak tboosni? (Besides do I have to wait for an hour to get a kiss back from you?)
Him: Allah. Kont mashgool. Ana ragil a7ib arakiz. Liki sho2 ya shatra istani lama akhalas illy fi idi. Za7ma mish 3ayzin za7ma. (He's saying that he likes to concentrate on one thing at a time but in a really funny way - not sounding like himself at all. Like he was doing an impression of some actor in an Egyptian comedy.)
Then because of course that cracked me up. No one has ever called me 'ya shatra' before.
Him: Btid7aki(You're laughing)? Timooti inti fi kalam elma3alimeen da. Ana 3arif. Zo2ik mon7at(He's saying I have low taste for liking this manner of speech).
Me: Ana zo2i mon7at? Inta illy titkalam!(I have low taste? You're the one who is talking!)
Him: Aiwa 3ashan ad7akik.(Yes. To make you laugh.)
Then he started doing more impressions of actors in Egyptian soaps and movies - especially comedies. I was in hysterics. At one point, I asked him who he was imitating.
Me : Meen? (Who?)
Him: Eh? Ma ti3rafish Shokoko? (You don't know Shokoko?)
Me : Some one is actually named Shokoko?
Him: Ah tab3an. Da ragil gamid gidan.(Yeah, he's great.)
Me(laughing) : Never heard of him.
Him: Tisada2i 3aib? Yinfa3 kida? Ya3ni ana dilwa2ti ezay ab2a mitamin 3ala awladi trabeehom wa7da ma tisma3sh 3an Shokoko? Da inti kida thaqaftik elmasriya mafish. Abyad. (He's asking how he can feel comfortable with his children being raised by a woman who doesn't know Shokoko. That it means I know nothing about Egyptian culture.)
At this point, my mood suddenly changed to Lump-In-Throat, Heart-Bursting-With-Love-ness. I wanted to throw myself in his arms. Or jump up and down. Or do something equally mawkish and embarrassing.
Thankfully, my self-control held. I didn't want to over-react and have him withdraw or say something that would bring me down from the heights I was in. So I let it pass like I didn't notice.
It's just that he hardly ever talks about me as the mother of his children. Even as a joke. I'd been having serious doubts about whether he envisions children in our future at all. Or ever would. The way he hates it when I bring up parenthood. The obssessiveness about birth control - in an otherwise NOT obssessive personality. To keep the peace, I haven't tried to bring up the subject in ages. Whenever we talk about the future, I'm silently alert for any sign that he sees it as anything other than just the two of us. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. It was awful to think what if he's never ready to have children? What if he has no wish to be a father? I mean, I want him to want it as much as I do. This is something pretty vital for me - something I think about at least once everyday.
So to have him suddenly drop a casual comment like that in mid-conversation? I know he was joking but well you HAVE to grasp at straws when you're desperate and it looks like straws are all there is no?
Today I'm all dreamy and distracted - my head full of visions of little boys who look exactly like him. Please God make it happen. Make him let me have a baby soon. Yarab, yarab, yarab.
I still don't know who Shokoko is but from where I'm sitting right now he sounds like the coolest guy in the world.