Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 99 Tray and Lisa or The Love That Never Was

Tray and Lisa ran in the same Chicago social circles. At first, which was two years ago, they were indifferent to one another. Lisa thought was Tray was aloof and weird, and Tray thought Lisa was superficial and annoying. After about a year of hanging around the same group of friends, and not being friendly with one another, the ice began to thaw.

They bonded over dancing, which they both loved to do. It may have been someone’s birthday, and it may have been Danny’s Bar, but there was definitely dancing involved. Lisa began to think Tray was funny and unusual, in that endearing kind of way, and Tray began to think that Lisa was cute and interesting.

Neither one of them made a move. They would hang out with their friends, moderately flirt with one another, and then part ways. It may have been inertia or it may have been shyness. Either way, life went on and Lisa started dating someone else.

Within a month of Lisa starting to date someone else, Lisa and Tray found themselves dancing together at Danny’s. All their friends had gone home, they had one too many Vodka and pineapple juice and it was a full moon. Tray, after months of mild flirtation made his killer move.

For a few days, Tray and Lisa didn’t exactly date, but spend a good chunk of time together. Tray gave Lisa a piggy back while riding his bicycle. They walked on the beach at night. And they went swimming in Lake Michigan during the day. And that was it. Lisa decided to spend her energy and time on the other guy she was actually dating; who at the time she thought looked much better than Tray on paper.

But, of course, things with that guy didn’t work out and Lisa realised how much fun Tray was. She kept hoping to run into him, but of-course, she didn’t. She saw a lot of their mutual friends, but Tray seemed to have disappeared. She finally called him and nonchalantly suggested they go dancing. Tray agreed.

Before Lisa had a chance to confess her growing affection, Tray announced that he had a new girlfriend, and Lisa went home, hopes dashed, convinced the universe had played a cruel trick on her. And life went on.

Four months later, Tray broke up with his girlfriend. In that same week Lisa, completely unexpectedly, came across someone who felt special beyond words. Sometimes things between two people really aren’t meant to be. And life goes on.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 98 Lora and Eddie

Lora (see Day 10 Lora and Lina) first heard about Eddie from Yoni (see Day 12 Yoni and Mere) and she was dubious. Yoni was an Israeli friend of Lora’s who was always pushing her to get more connected to Jewish culture, especially to klezmer music, which she hates, so she was suspicious of his politics and his friends. The first time Lora saw Eddie, she noticed his beard,

Lora: there were all these very anti-religious secular Arabs and Jews around, and they all had the same damn beard as though they were religious. This was very funny for me.

During their first conversation, at one of the artsy parties they frequented, Eddie remembers looking down Lora’s shirt, and Lora remembers that he told her he was a political writer and she was like, “ew, political writer”. Lora is a political writer.

They got talking about Gaza. It was January 2009, a month after what the Israeli government were calling Operation Cast Lead. Eddie asked Lora to go for a drink with him, and Lora declined. Instead, she said “let’s make a pact to get to Gaza in the next 6 months” and he said “okay”. A week later, out of the blue, Lora was invited to join a humanitarian delegation to Gaza, and she called up Eddie to let him know of the opportunity. Eddie had an ohshitmoment,

Eddie: like oh shit I can actually send myself to Gaza, oh shit I might be in Gaza really soon, oh shit GAZA, oh shit homeland, oh shit hot girl+gaza = joy+pain wow wow wow.

Eddie kept changing his mind about going, and didn’t buy his plane ticket till three days before they were due to fly out from Chicago to Cairo.

In Egypt, they waited for five days at the Egypt/Gaza border, camping out, before they were let in. After the delegation’s work in Gaza was done, Lora decided to stay in Gaza for an extra month to do translation work for a human rights organisation. And Eddie decided to stay in Gaza for an extra month to work on what has now become a film project. Their friendship deepened, but Eddie was seeing someone else back home.

Back home, in Chicago, some few months later, Eddie found himself single and things between Lora and Eddie blossomed. Lora had always felt very natural around him. They opened up to each other pretty quickly. Eddie started spending hours working with Lora on her book, making very detailed edit suggestions. He owned land in Taybeh, a village in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, which was very sexy to Lora. Very quickly, within a couple of weeks, Lora knew in her gut that this was for real.

Being with Eddie has taught Lora not to be so neurotic. She calls it “happiness by obligation”.

Lora: If you care about the person you’re with, you soon realize that if you’re sad, it will affect them, and your relationship, and everything. So you have to figure out how to deal with your emotions in a healthier way. I’ve really put emotional stability as a priority because of Eddie.

Eddie has learnt what it feels like to REALLY be listened to for once and it feels great, “I didn’t realise that a relationship could be so easy, but when you really listen to the other person you can really understand them”.

A month after they got together, Lora was accepted to teach English in Paris and after much discussion, Eddie accepted to follow her across the globe a second time. Lora knew she had found someone special and it seemed dumb to drop it for logistical reasons like geography.

And now it’s Lora’s turn to do the following across the globe so she’s following Eddie to the West Bank this April where he wants to make art. For the next two years, they will be between Paris and Palestine. For their anniversary, Lora got Eddie bulbs for flower bushes for him to plant on his land.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 91 Louis and Petra

Louis and Petra met in 1998 in Environmental Science class at the University of East London. Petra flirted with Louis and Louis found her annoying and off-putting. She was too loud and exuberant.

After getting to know her more, and finding that her zest for life was real and not a put-on, he started falling for her. By the time he had started to fall for her, she had moved on and was dating someone else. But Petra still had a soft spot for Louis and so they started an inappropriate friendship. Petra eventually broke up with the guy she was dating and she and Louis started a relationship proper. It lasted three months. Louis broke up with Petra because being in love was new to him, because it freaked him out and because he didn’t realise that love was not a smooth ride.

Petra finished her degree and moved back to Greece. Louis went on with life, relationships and political activism. Ten years later in November 2008, Petra got in touch with Louis out of the blue. She called him from Greece and told him she was planning to be in London during the Christmas vacation, and they should meet up. Later, she would tell Louis that she had called him in the naïve hope that something might be rekindled between them.

Something did rekindle between them. Louis fell in love with Petra all over again. Hard. They met up the day after Boxing day (which is the day after Christmas day) and had the best date. They met in a pub in Camden Town, had dinner in a Brazilian bar, and then went dancing at Madam JoJos, a funk club. It was the best six hours Louis had ever spent with a woman.

At the end of her vacation Petra went back to Greece. Louis didn’t pine away. Instead he made a plan to spend the summer with her. Plan A was that Louis was going to spend a month in Zakinthos, where Petra lived. After agreeing to that, Petra got cold feet and the plan became that Louis would spend a month in Greece, but only a week of that would be in Zakinthos with Petra.

It was a long, difficult winter for Louis. But finally summer came round and it was time to go to Greece. He opened two separate bank accounts giving him access to ₤1,250 in overdraft and sold all his books for ₤800. Two weeks before he was due to fly out, Petra told him she had started dating someone.

Louis went to Greece. He had to know what had happened, and if there was still a glimmer of hope, which there always is, he was going to hold on to that.

After spending two awkward days with Petra in Zakinthos, her boyfriend showed up with a menacing undertone. Louis spent three more awkward days with Petra, Petra’s boyfriend and Petra’s mum in Zakinthos. Louis eventually left Zakinthos and went on to other Greek adventures. He had fallen in love and he had followed his heart. He may have been heartbroken, but he had no regrets.