I can feel myself changing. At times I am hopeful, then there are days when I’m ready for a fight. I wear more leather than lace, more fiery red lipstick than pearls, and truthfully, more sass than class.
To underscore my newfound love of irresponsibility, I’ve taken to staying out late and keeping company with people I hardly know. I had found an accomplice in Ghazi, my gorgeous, painfully young, almost friend. Tonight, he teaches me how to play pool at yet another random venue. From across the room I can be seen laughing, jumping, high-fiving, and binging on nachos.
“What’s gotten into you?” Ghazi asks. I snigger. “I like it,” he continues. I like it too. Ghazi and I made an excellent team, two lonely people in hiding, miles away from the city’s prying eyes and crippling gossip.
“Noor, is that you?” I turn around and come face to face with Rashed’s best friend’s wife. She, like countless other housewives in Amman, has embraced the new trend of going out with the girls and leaving her tired spouse at home. I strain my neck and make out the rest of my old crew behind her. All without their husbands, all dressed like groupies paired with I-caught-you smiles, open-toe, Zanotti booties, and bulky watches in rose gold. Ya allah.
“It’s so nice to see you habibti! It’s been ages!” I scream. “Yes, I love your new look, very biker chic,” you could flatten a building with her sarcasm. “Tell me, are you here alone?” I shake my head and point to my new gang of one. Her eyes widen, “Oh cool, cool habibti,” but she’s not done. “Didn’t you have dinner with Rashed the other night? I thought you two were trying to work things out. I got so excited…” Friendships are nothing if not complicated, here was my ex friend, someone who I hadn’t spoken to in almost a year, asking me a very personal question.
I weigh my options, I could argue with her, or I could be honest.
“I know how this looks, but it’s nothing. Maybe pretend like nothing happened? Please?” She gives me a wink and walks away. I return to my table victorious; it was silly of me to panic.
Three minutes later my phone rings. It’s Rashed. I don’t answer.
Then it beeps. “Are you seriously at Baritone with wa7ad az3ar?”
I text back. “No!”
He sends a picture of me with Ghazi laughing at the pool table, circa five minutes ago.
He captions it with a question mark.
I reach for my bag, on my way out I spot the girls whispering and pointing. I pose for them to take another picture.
To catch up on Chapter 4, click here.