I looked down at the time on my phone, and was jumped with a random bump on the road. I always hated the road to Katara, if I was the designer of the place I would totally reconsider the bricks on its streets. Not to mention of the security guys that are forced to wear the traditional Qatari attire, regardless of their nationalities, in a climate like ours.
I let out a sigh as I thought to myself: “I took too many design courses… too many!”
Oh well, the idea soon slipped my mind as I told myself yet again:
“I’m not late. I’m not late.”
I looked around and found a pink and purple tent set with huge banners signaling volunteers. I asked Kumar to park. I was not going to take long.
Marching to the huge tent, I was greeted with the cliche of “THANK YOU VOLUNTEER” spirit. I’ve had too many of that, its growing old. The DJ music was loud, too loud I could hear it all the way from the car. Lights were everywhere, it felt like the atmosphere of a disco place. Not that I’ve ever been to any.
I approached a table with a pile of certificates, staring blankly at them. No technology?
Am I supposed to just manually look for my name in that pile?
“Am I supposed to just manually look for my name in that pile?” -Wait, that wasn’t me. For a second, I thought that was the voice in my head speaking out loud. Until I realized that it was the voice of a man. I slowly turned around with an impressed smile, not only did he speak my mind, but he also did it with an accent.
A British one to be exact.
“Khaled?” -I blurted out surprised.
Crap. FAJER! You were supposed to think that with yourself not say it out loud!
“Pardon my ignorance, do I know you?”
Did he just say pardon? Pardon? With his eyes piercing through thick black framed glasses, I felt it burning holes into my gaze. The difference in our height made my neck crack. Is that 1 Million I’m smelling off of him? Wait, I can smell his perfume? Am I standing too close?
Oh I hope he can’t tell I’m blushing. Oh, shoot, Fajer, I hope you’re not drooling too.
I instantly swiped off the edges of my lips and chin.
Ashwa. No drool.
“Umm. So do I?”
“Do you what?” -Still gazing into him. Last time I saw him, or saw pictures of him, he didn’t have this much facial hair! Which I can’t not admit, is very attractive.
“Do I know you? You just called me with my name. Khaled.”
FAJER. REALITY. RIGHT NOW!
This is another moment where I must remind myself that people around me cannot hear the 10 voices in my head. Now, remind me self, how do people introduce themselves, again?
“Fajer. Your second cousin.”
“Oh, ya hala bel ahal! Bent ay wa7ed men 3mami, fajer?”
“Well, technically, bent 3amik et9eer bint 5alti. Get it?”
And then he made the cutest facial expression of a blank look.
“No, I didn’t get it.”
I blushed. Of course he got it.
Was that flirting? Wela shesalfa? Side note: google pick-up lines. 5aleeji ones.
“And now you laugh!”
“Oh, sorry. I can be so slow sometimes. Hehe!”
“So, Fajer? What brings you here?”
“Its a volunteers appreciation event, I am a volunteer!” I said, sarcastically. I speak fluent sarcasm, and I couldn’t help it.
“Oh, looks like I’m slow too!”
“Looks like it.”
I looked around, the place was too noisy. People were bumping into each other from how crowded the place was, and I wasn’t in no mood to socialize or mingle.
“Shaklich mu merta7a bel jaw ehni!”
I turned around. He’s still here!
“Abadan.” I stated bluntly.
“Ana kent twni b6l3 br3 eshwi. ..”
I nodded my head. I wasn’t sure if that was an offer, a suggestion, or a purely a statement. Either ways, I was determined to leave this place, and I was eager to spend more time with Khaled. For some reason, the idea of knowing a lot about him, when he knew I didn’t, was amusing.
We walked out of the tent, I waved a few goodbyes to other volunteers I didn’t really know too well. I took out my Blackberry and texted Kumar to go home. We were taking slow paced steps. If anything, this night was going to be a good one. And nothing, as planned.
“Uh, I needed last night! Te5ayeli Kumar te2a5ar 3li waaaayed, but he still waited with me.” -I sighed while saying to Aisha.
I laid on my back on her bed, while she was walking around the room throwing stuff from her closet to her floor. A clutter of sweaters, hoodies, jeans, shawls and winter outfits grew on the floor.
“Yeah… Yeah…” -She answered, with absolutely no attention to what I was saying.
I love how I can be oh-so-dramatic all over her, repeat the same thing over and over again, and she’ll never show me that she’s bored of it. Well, at least, she’ll try not to!
“And then we hopped into his car, drove to LasVegas, and got married!” -I said sarcastically,like it was nothing big, while waiting for her reaction.
“Uha… Uha.. What else?” -Aisha said, as she threw herself on the bed next to me. “I don’t know what to pack! And what to leave! I have nothing in my closet!”
“Well, thats because everything is on the floor, and nothing IS in your closet!” -I said as I threw the pillow that supported my back to her face.
I stood up, hooked a few outfits together, and arranged them in her suitcase.
She took a moment to stare at the outfits, “I love you!” -She shouted. “Now, what were you saying about how nerdy Khaled is?”
“Oh, yeah! Well, we had this long-ass debate whether or not the new Google Andriod was as good as the iPhone! Ahh, it was magical. We clickkkkked!” -I said as I spun around myself like I was swaying.
“Suuure.” -Aisha said, sarcastically, of course. She coughed: “Nerds” and coughed again.
“So let me get this straight, you guys clicked like an iPhone to a MacBook, and he didn’t ask for your blackberry pin? Number? But for your……. EMAIL!”
“Well, yes!” I said blushingly. Khaled did seem like a shy guy. I didn’t want to scare him off. “But he didn’t stop emailing me ever since! The cutest randomest emails sent via his blackberry, to mine.” I explained.
She stared blankly at me. Aisha was always a guys girl. In no wrong way, really. She was just better at dealing with guys, getting them to like her, and getting what she wants. Whenever we would be out, she was always the one getting all attention. On the other hand, I was always “the friend” to guys.
“3awoush, don’t leave!” -I took a whole turn of subjects to break my train of thoughts.
“I have to! Its only for five days…. you’ll survive bedouni!” -She patted my shoulders.
I crossed my arms, shook my head and said: “kaifich. Bastanes. Ba6l3 o ba9ee3 o bastanes. Mu ekfaya kel elmu7a’9rat eli you’ll be skipping!”
“I couldn’t care less.”
Aisha’s careless attitude was shocking. Since when exactly did she not care about her studies? We might rely on our last minute luck or presenting charm, but this time she was pushing it too far.
“Ok, 5al akamellach!” -I stated with pure confidence that she’ll listen to me repeating how charming Khaled is, how the perfect height difference is, and the names of our children will be!
“I’m starving!” -She interrupted. “You meeting the guy of your dreams, and me leaving to London for a few days is the perfect occasion for….”
“SUSHI!” -I yelled, grabbing my car keys and running towards the door.
My dad just got my car back that morning, after a lecture from mom, I got to come over to Aisha’s driving myself.
“No, idiot! Basich sushi. You need rehab.” -Aisha shouted.
Actually, I do. I’ve been having all sorts of Makki rolls for the past two weeks. I felt like a woman on her first month of pregnancy, craving the randomest things.
“3ayal?” -I asked, staring blankly at her.
“JUNK FOOD!” -She yelled excitingly!
It was almost 5 PM, driving to mcDonalds drive-thru. Late lunches were my favorite meals! Not to mention if it was junk food, with my favorite person on the face of the planet.
“Choofi el-Cayenne eli jedamna. Lonha rw3a!” -Aisha said, pointing to the car that was ordering in front of us. “Gooli mashaAllah. Thaneyan, we3, chenna loon chai karak.” -I stated bluntly. I always hated how tiny and worn out my car is, but I also loved it for that same reason.
“Ya3ni methel loonich!” -Aisha said laughing while stretching out her arm next to mine.
The difference in our color was too noticeable. Regardless of her Beduin origin, her skintone was pure white, when mine was turabi. Not naturally tanned, no. Just a hint darker than chai karak, really.
We giggled. I stepped on the gas just a bit to get our Two McSpicy meals from the 2nd drive-thru window.
“SIR! SIRRRR!” -The filipino lady at the window shouted to the Cayenne that drove away. “Sorry, madam. I mixed orders! I hap his order. One mcArabia. You want?” -She explained to us as she leaned forward with the Cayenne’s guy meal.
Aisha hates it when someone screws up with her food.
Her face is turning red.
Her hands turned fists.
This is not a good sign!
Aisha grabbed the one mcArabia from the lady, “Akaho the Cayenne parked! Go park jambah.” -She shouted, while putting the order on my lap. I parked. “Shswi feh?” I asked while staring at the meal on my lap!
“Ro7i 3a6eeh hal 7awal.”
“AISH! Laish anaaa!”
“Because you’re the adorable girl with the cute smile that people will totally trade their food with!”
“Pshhht!” I puffed, as a knocking on my cars window interrupted.
“Khaled!” -I shouted, rolling down my window, surprised. This time I shouted his name with pure conscious. “This is too random!” I giggled.
“Oh, Aisha, Khaled. Khaled, Aisha. My best friend, My second cousin!”
I could almost hear Aisha correcting me in her mind: “Potential boy friend!”
I pressed my lips and tightened my gaze at her, when I instantly turned to Khaled and found him carrying two meals and two drinks.
Oh, the guy in the Cayenne. Our food. Makes sense.
“I believe this is my meal you have!” -He said, with the most charming smile ever.
“AND THOSE TWO ARE OURS!” -Aisha shouted at him, stretching out her hands to pick the food up. We exchanged meals, and he apologized deeply for the confusion. It was non of his fault, the filipino lady to be specific. But it was so gentlemen of him!
“I’m glad I got to see you again though. It was nice meeting you too, 3aysha. Oh, thanks for last night. I had fun!”
I know. You mentioned that in your earlier 100 emails. I smiled. “Me too!”
“You look good today!”
“So you mean she didn’t look good last night?” -Aisha instantly crashed his compliment.
Quick, Fajer, make things right! I let out a quirky laugh. He giggled along. Not sure if it was at the sarcastic joke Aisha made or at my squirrel-sound laugh that just came out of my throat.
“Laish ma nakel together?” -He generously offered. I looked around, realized we’re in the middle of rush hour for the busiest mcDonalds nearest to our place in Doha. So I politely rejected and thanked him.
“I have work to do anyway, for my design class.” -I explained.
“Lu e7tajti shai, 5abreeni.” -I melted a little inside as he offered his expertise.
“Yallah lazem nakel.. warai sefar.. ba3ad ma ana aroo7 kaifkum eklo MagDonalz kel yoom!” -Of course Aisha would ruin the intimate moment.
“Yallah, darb elsalamah.” -Khaled said, as he tapped on the edges of my window.
The minute he drove away, I locked the car windows and started filling the car with my voice, shouting “OMG OMG OMG! 3AWOUSH DID YOU SEE THAT! OMG 9EJ LOON ELCAYYENE RW3A!”.
Aisha was already digging into her mcSpicy and half way done with her coke. I realized the symphony my stomach made at the scene of the mayonnaise escaping her sandwich and decided to keep my excitement in, and driving back home.
Ah, seeing Khaled really refreshed my day.
I smiled, driving home, with the smell of mcDonalds hot salty french fries and the voice of Aisha singing along to “7abba 7abba 3ala galbi.. 7abba 7abba!”