A short Christmas story
"If you were to ask a room full of couples, "how many of you believe they found love at first sight?", not many will raise their hands. And I believe the few who raise their hands are most likely women, because women believe in those things. Love at first sight is something women find romantic. But what do men believe in? SAFIS - Sex at first sight".
Those were words from my friend Muhammad.
I met my good friend Muhammad ten years ago in his falafel joint. I went into his falafel joint one day and ordered a falafel, then incidentally we fell into a long conversation about life and other existential matters. We became good friends ever since.
- "Trevor", he would say my name with an Arabic accent, "love at first sight happens only to teenagers and twenty year olds. You must try to find loveship instead". Muhammad knew I was single, so he tried to encourage me into thinking carefully before settling down with anyone. "Sex is not the first thing teenagers think about when they find someone they like", he continued, "many of them even find sex disgusting. What they feel the need for most is to love and to be loved. They feel attracted to kindness, beauty, or if a person is someone they would want to hang out with and become friends with, boyfriend or girlfriend. Only after years go by and they first get their heart broken a few times then they learn not to care anymore. Because they finally learn from society that we need to find someone to settle down with as we grow older. So we open dating profiles on the Internet with sexy photographs of ourselves to appear younger and attractive, women put on sexy dresses and go out to bars and nightclubs to meet men, men pump their chest up as women walk by and play smart to look attractive. We focus everything on the outside, calling for sex and believing we would find love in the process. We drink alcohol to forget our inhibitions so we become lightheaded and act young again. And you know what many of us find in the end? Not LAFIS, Love At First Sight. We find LUI, Love Under Influence. Every couple that had found each other in a bar or in a nightclub found LUI. It should be against the law to drink and fall in love. Can you imagine how many of us were conceived under the influence of something?
- Before my father died he gave me some money and said, Muhammad, you must go to America, you will have a good life there. My father knew that my dream was to come to America and open a falafel bar. I was dreaming of the American green card and green dollars. Green was my favorite color, and I was dressed in green most of the time. But what I was also dreaming about was to find a beautiful American woman. I was crazy about American women. So I came to New York. I went out every night. I talked to many people everywhere. After my English became a little better I started to talk to women. The first woman I met was in a falafel bar. She was sitting aalone and I was afraid to go talk to her. I was afraid of rejection. But I kept saying to myself, "Muhammad, don't be afraid. Go to her. If you catch, finish. Green card, ggreen dollars. You will never be alone again, your green American Dream will come true". I went to her and we ended up talking for several hours until the falafel place was closing. I invited her to my one room apartment I was renting on the seventh floor. She was a beautiful American woman. She spoke so beautifully I wanted to learn to speak like her. I made tea and we continued talking. It was on purpose that I didn't have alcohol in my home, not only because I am Muslim but because I was looking for loveship, not LUI. After a moment she excused herself and went to the bathroom. I waited and drank more tea. One minute later she came back from the bathroom. She was naked. Completely. I looked at her and I was confused. Muslim women in Tunisia covered their body in front of their man, especially before having sex. "I think you forgot your clothes in the bathroom," I said to her. She looked at me with a little smile and came closer. She took my tea from my hand and she put it on the table, then all of sudden she placed both of her hands onto the floor and she flipped her body upside down in front of me, she spread her legs and landed her feet on the wall behind my chair, my head was now between her legs. She stayed that way for a short second and I wondered what was going to happen. I thought of the rollercoaster, when I was on a rollercoaster in Tunisia one time and the rollercoaster reached the highest top and it waited a few seconds before it dropped down with full speed".
- "She did what you call inversion position in yoga", I said to Muhammad.
- "It was complete yoga", Muhammad replied before he continued, "I waited with my head between her legs for one second and all of a sudden she slapped her vagina with her pubic hair onto my face and said - "Essen!" Her head hanging down to the floor. I worked as a waiter for a few months back in Tunisia and I knew what the word "Essen" meant, because I served German tourists sometimes and I learned a few German words. "What are you doing?" I asked her, my mouth looked like it was talking to her vagina, her pubic hair looking like a microphone. She pushed her vagina harder onto my mouth again and said, "Iss mich, Eat me!"
- Later she explained to me that she came to America as an exchange student and she fell in love with an American man and got married. That is how I found out she was not the American woman I was dreaming of finding, she was German. And she was still married while she was there hanging upside down with her vagina glued to my mouth. She was having an affair, in an inversion yoga position. We didn't see each other again after that night. I continued going out and I met many different women, and each time I believed I found my dream American woman, because they all spoke beautiful American English. But I found out that each one I met came from another country. One came from France as a child, another from Italy, and many from England. Only once I met a Muslim woman. She was dressed in Niqab, covered from head to toe, you could only see her eyes. After four days she told me the FBI had her under surveillance because of the way she dressed, they believed she was from ISIS. I became afraid. I thought to myself and said, "if the FBI cannot see who the person underneath that Niqab is they will put me under surveillance also, because they need someone whose face they can see and who is always with her". Trevor, they could see my face, and even my toes as I always wore sandals in the summer time. I was like an open book to the FBI. So I stopped seeing the Muslim woman. Many days and nights went by and I became convinced that I would never meet the real American woman I was dreaming about, because everybody in New York seemed to have come from somewhere else. Until I met Maria. It was almost a LAFIS - Love At First Sight. I liked Maria so much the moment I saw her that I decided to spend more time with her to get to know her well first before we could have sex. I wanted it to be loveship, not just love. But I would tell you, Trevor, New York was full of surprises. The first night Maria and I had sex was rocky. Not Rambo Sylvester Stallone Rocky, but rocky with a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. I can not go into details, Trevor, but it was a terrible night. (Every time Muhammad said "I can not go into details" he ended up giving you all the details). We were in the middle of having sex, Maria and I, he continued, and then all of a sudden Maria started to shout, "shit, shit, oh shit!" I stopped and looked at her, - "What is going on, why you say shit?" I asked her. I felt concerned that something was wrong.
- "Don't stop, please continue!" she said.
- "You say shit, why? You don't like it?" I was confused.
- "Of course I like it," she said.
- "But why shit? Shit means no good!" I said.
- "It's just something we say when it feels nice," she explained.
- "Shit is in the toilet, how can you think it feels nice? I don't understand your American logic," I said to her.
- "Okay, I won't say shit again, let's continue," she said. And we started to make love again, everything was fine. But she shouted "Jesus, Oh Jesus!"
- "Why you say Jesus?" I asked her. I was irritated this time.
- "What now," she asked, also irritated.
- "Are you talking about Jesus the prophet, or are you thinking about Jesus your Mexican ex-boyfriend?" I was a little jealous, Trevor. Maria was originally from Mexico, she wasn't the real American woman I was dreaming about but things were different with her. She told me about this ex-boyfriend that she had in Mexico who was called Jesus, and Trevor, how would I know what Jesus she was thinking about when she was having sex with me? Can you see my point?
- "I can see your point," Muhammad, I said to him.
- "Thank you my friend," he said. So I asked Maria, what Jesus are you thinking about?
- "Jesus, the prophet!" She said with anger. "I'm a Christian woman, we say Jesus a lot here in America, all the time!"
- "Sex is not good with religion, you know that," I said to her.
- "Yes, I know, and we are not married, so what?" She rolled her eyes.
- "Don't say Jesus, okay?" I said to her. "Jesus is also a Muslim prophet, and I'm a Muslim! I can't be having sex with you and you are calling the name of a prophet".
- "I can't control what I say when we are having sex, can I? And you want me to say what, Muhammad?"
- "Muhammad is good, it is my name, you can say that," I told her.
- "Jesus, Muhammad, HalloOh!" she shouted; "they are both prophets!" She balanced both of her hands as if showing me one hand was Jesus and the other hand was Muhammad. "Both are prophets!" She shouted again, and then she put on her clothes and she walked out the door. She left me alone. I stayed in the bed after she left and I couldn't understand what just happened. I felt sad, Trevor, because I really liked Maria. Afterwards I said to myself, "You know what Muhammad, you are no longer in Tunisia. You are in New York. Here people say shit, fuck, ass, like breathing air. Think about the color green. Green card, green dollars". I woke up the next morning and I bought flowers. I bought the most beautiful red roses I could find. I went to Maria's work and I gave them to her. And you will not believe it, Trevor. Like you see in real Hollywood movies, Maria's coworkers started to clap. All of them. I kissed Maria in front of them. Her boss came down and said, "it is soon Christmas, Maria, take the rest of the day off". Maria and I held hands and walked to the door. "Merry Christmas", some of her coworkers said to us as we walked out. It was the first time that someone said Merry Christmas to me, a Muslim man. And my first Christmas with Maria was a wonderful experience. Christmas in New York is magical. I knew I found loveship. Maria and I have three beautiful children now. Tunisian-Mexican-American, mixed origins, like every real New Yorker."
Muhamma paused for a moment. And even when I was still standing next to him, I felt as though he spoke to me like he was writing me a letter, or a postcard, like when we used to write Christmas postcards before we had emails and text messages. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "You see, Trevor, love can not sail on its own without a ship. Like a teenager, you must always look for love and friendship, not just love. Love without friendship is weak. And when you find love and friendship you must hold on to them both, because if friendship dies it means you have abandoned ship, and when you have abandoned ship you grow apart even when there is still love. Loveship is always stronger than love alone.
"Merry Christmas, Trevor, my good friend".
"Merry Christmas," I said to him back.
- The End -
©2019, Derek Banner, BUMP, All rights reserved.