It was a Friday nite , December 29th and the Berkeley temperatures were on a free fall downwards - it was a day when Jessica Alba announced she is both engaged and pregnant at the same time , president Bush non-chalantly vetoed a defense bill on his desk , and the Patriots - much to my ire - were flying off to a perfect season ! And, this is the day T left .
Yes, T left for Lagos, Nigeria last Friday - final destination : Cairo, Egypt . She always wanted to know the Arab culture and Arabic . In fact, I met her when she came to see the Arab Film Festival in SF/Berkeley . And, we met by chance , on a sunny extended summer day in Berkeley , and we have been together since - until last week.
It was a very uneventful meeting , I had just walked into Dada's place , and there she was - clutching a cup of hot chocolate and trying to sneak a glance at me as I strolled through the dining room ( she really did ! ) , and on the way back , she was still with her hot chocolate when I said , " Hi " . She nodded , but did not say anything , and I kept walking !
I wanted to see her again , but my work at the hotel , and her volunteering for the Festival kept us from running into each other for the next few days . Until one afternoon when I was driving past Dada's house , I saw her opening the front gates and going inside ! Well, a Taurus always knows what he wants , and goes for it ! So , I did . I turned my car around at warp speed , parked and went inside the house hoping to catch her before she fades into the bedrooms upstairs !
And, I caught up with her halfway up the staircase ! Feverishly between catching my breath ( I attribute this to my not running since I moved back from LA ! ) , and coming out with the right frame of words - I tried to convince her that she should go out with me sometime ! Honestly, I don't remember the exact words that I said , but it kind of went like this :
"i kind of liked you when i saw you the other day , and i heard you are going back to Pasadena after the festival and i might not see you again - so when i saw you while driving past the house i had to stop and ask you - will you go out with me ? how about a movie and dinner ? - we can talk and find out more about each other ! although i have to tell you that you are looking at a thorough Bengali man who happens to be a Taurus - we are fantastically emotional , stubbornly faithful and of course , extremely gracious ! "
And I kept on and on , totally unscripted ! Until she stopped me and said -" Yes ". And we met to watch the festival movie - "Seeds Of Doubt" and then - "Kiss me not on the Eyes ". And we were together . I remember that we were talking in a cafe until midnite and then sat in the car and continued the "conversation" - until the street sweeper trucks called in the cops to move our car at 5am ! I still remember when I went to meet her in San Francisco for the Festival Celebration Nite and danced with her till 2am - and how awesome she looked in her "yemeni" outfit !
Yes, she is special , and we started in a very special way .
Isn't it odd that the first things you miss about the person are the ones that you would complain about the most ?
" Did you wash all the plates and forks before putting it on the table ?".
" Please do ."
"Why ? I washed and put them up yesterday ! "
"Can you please do it again ?"
"Why are we stopping ?"
" I have to take gas ."
"You still have a lot "
"Its a twenty minute drive !"
"Its cold , I want to go home first ! Its going to take longer if we stop !"
"Did you mapquest the place we are going ?"
"How will we find it T , you know we always get lost in San Francisco ?"
"No, You get lost in SF , besides its more fun finding out the place on our own , instead of knowing every little turn ! "
"Unbelievable ! You do know the movie starts in half an hour !"
"41 minutes Raj , I beg ,- always fuzzying up the numbers !"
"Are you listening to him again ?"
"Its not him - its Rufus "
"Yes, Rufus the Dufus ,T its 4am ! "
"Isn't he great baby ?"
"You do know he gives me a headache now with his ranting music !"
"I can't believe you said that - you have to unclutter your head , thats where you are getting your headache, I beg ...."
"Can I switch the channel ?"
"To what ?"
"Something else "
"I am watching the Tennis channel !"
"Babe, weren't you watching this same interview yesterday ?"
"what is your point Raj , now I missed two minutes of the interview and have to watch it again , I beg ...."
I could always depend on her , she was my biggest cheerleader . Every evening ,I would call to ask her what to bring for dinner and start home. I would climb up the stairs and dash to the bedroom to see how she is . She was there , and I always knew she was there . Every weekend we used to make plans and then just stay home ! And when , she had to go to DC , or I had to go to Miami , we would just miss each other so much and couldn't wait to get back .
This job in Cairo is great for her . This is just what she always wanted to do. And I will miss her terribly , I miss her today , and I will miss her even deeply tomorrow . But, I do not want to put the word 'forever' to this word 'missing' . One day , maybe that day would be a warm one , and the patriots would be rotting at the bottom of the NFL , and I will see her again - maybe she will be holding a cup of hot chocolate and sneak a peek at me and I will say 'hi' again - but this time I won't keep walking , and simply say - ' lets start , i have been waiting for you !'
Well baby - be safe, be happy , and as you know , there is someone here who will always root for you !
We used to jokingly ( or seriously ) refer to this as our song , so here it is :