Thursday, 19 November 2009

Sometimes, It's Sex

So here's a little piece of fiction that turned out a let less smutty than anticipated. You plan for the sex and the plot just blindsides you I guess.

Usual Disclaimers Apply: Here be Lesbians.

Fresh out of the coldest shower I could manage, I pick up a pair of fresh cotton panties and slip them on. I almost put on a t-shirt but think better of it. It’s a typical summer night in Beirut, the air so heavy it feels like I’m breathing underwater. I can practically feel the nonexistent material clinging to the small of my back.

I walk into the bedroom, the whirring of the electric fan loud as it makes valiant effort to cool the room. No dice. I glance at the bed, Lara spread out on top of it, her long black hair fanned out around her head, as if spread out to catch the last of the coolness from the sheets. She makes a pretty picture, cigarette held gently between fingers that made me very happy just a few minutes ago. I think of joining her there, briefly, but I don’t.

Too hot. It’s too hot for snuggling, too hot even for sex. I’ve gotten too used to the omnipresence of air-conditioning back home. As much as I’ve missed sex with my girlfriend, I don’t think I can manage any more of it tonight.

Even as I’m thinking this, my feet take me closer to the bed. Sometimes it feels like she’s my true north, and no matter how hard I try to resist, I end up making my way towards her.

Despite my desire to fall onto the sheets and put my mouth to hers, I only steal a cigarette before making my way to the armchair across the room. I sprawl out, trying to take advantage of the quickly disappearing relief of the cool fabric.

I take a quick drag of smoke before speaking. “So,” I say, “You want to tell me why nearly everyone tonight was treating me as if I was made out of china?”

“Because the entire fucking community is made up of ignorant gossips that need to learn to mind their own business?” Her words may be harsh, but they seem to carry more amusement that anger.

“Care to elaborate?” Our friends are a pretty tight knit group, and information travels fast. Lara is not a fan of the gossip mill, but evolved girlfriend or not, I hate being out of the loop.

“Word is” she says without preamble, “I’m cheating on you.”

“And why would anyone think that?”

“Apparently if someone walks in and sees you face down on some girl’s vagina, it means you’re being unfaithful.”

“Oh?” I ask, shifting slightly, already slightly turned on by the image of my girlfriend lying between the phantom girl's thighs.

“Mmm,” Lara grins, “She was so juicy. Like eating out a peach.”

And just like that it's as if my last orgasm was years away. “Tell me about her?”

Lara pauses, and gives me a look. I wonder how I look to her... breasts bared, fingers of my left hand curling around the waist of my bright blue cotton panties, already inching them down.

Apparently, I look like a pervert who can't have a serious conversation. “… I know that you have a more or less one track mind when we can spend time together, but can we get back to the whole issue of everyone thinks I’m cheating you thing?”

Definitely an oversexed pervert then. I blow out a frustrated breath. “Me?! You started it, goddamn fucking tease,” I say without much heat. I hope.

“Heh, I know. Sorry couldn’t resist. I’ll tell you later, I promise. So anyway, that’s why…”

“You bet your fucking ass you’re finishing this. Can’t believe you bring that up and then you stop like that.” I am no a fan of sexual frustration. Not when I haven't seen my girlfriend for three very long months.

“Jenna!” If it wasn’t so hot she’s probably get up and smack me on the head. “Focus!”

“OK,” I say, “Right. So. Cheating.” Sex. Sex. Sexsexsex.

“Yes. Cheating. Remember when Jesse was rooming with me before she left for that job in Montreal?”


“Yeah well. One night I thought she’d gone up to Zahle to visit her family, but then she had something come up in town she forgot to tell me about.”

“And she walked in on you with Peach Girl.”

“And she walked in on me with Peach Girl.”

“And you didn’t explain that I was cool with it why exactly?”

“I don’t even know, I mean she left right away. And by the next day I saw her and she’d already told Lulu and Sara. Lulu had told Tanya and Tanya told Rana, and it just blew up. And they assumed, which pissed me off so much that I didn’t deny it, because I don’t need to defend myself to them like some sort of criminal.”

“Fuck.” The problem with being in such a close community is that things never stay private for long. “When was this?”

“Two months ago?”

“And you haven’t told me why exactly?” If I know my friends, they probably haven’t been very warm to Lara since then. I love them to death but the do close ranks ridiculously quickly.

“Because there’s nothing much you could have done from Kuwait? Because you’re miserable there as it is and I didn’t want to add to that? Because however they choose to interpret my actions, it only matters to me that you know what I’m about?”

I’m quiet, looking at my suitcase, contents strewn out like the guts of an amateur sacrifice to the Gods of Long-Distance Relationships. I got here today and in two weeks I’ll be leaving again. It’s going to be the longest we’ve spent together in more than a year. Usually it’s a spare weekend stolen away every few months. Three years already, and god knows how many more to come. It’s not easy. For me or for her. “I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault.” It’s abrupt, but definitely heartfelt.

I sigh. “Sometimes I wonder if we both wouldn’t be happier if..”

“Fuck you.” She’s more frustrated than angry when she interrupts me, “I told you a thousand times. I don’t care about easy. I care that we’re together. You and me. That’s what matters. Two days, two weeks, two years, two life times, I’ll take whatever I can get with you. And soon you’ll have enough saved up for that masters in Vancouver. And I can finally take that job. My parents are already there, only two hours away, and they can’t wait. Hell, they probably love you more than they love me anyway. You’re saying you want to disappoint them?”

I can’t help but laugh at that. “No?” God forbid I disappoint Lara’s *parents*. That’s my baby. Always deflecting with other people.

“Good.” She nods, as if it’s all settled. “So now that’s all over, let’s fuck.”

If she thinks that she can distract me from the issue as easily as that she’s delusional. There a lot of things we need to work out, because I don’t want to imagine what would happen to us if we let these things fester. And I need to have a talk with my friends because our relationship is our business. And if I’m OK (more than OK) with Lara fucking other girls when I’m away then they’re going to learn to be OK with it as well. Oh we are going to talk. First thing in the morning. After all… “How can I resist such a pretty offer?”

What I'm Listening to Right Now: متيم - راشد الماجد

Monday, 9 November 2009

It's Not Sex

It's not sex I miss. You can't miss what you never had, not really. What I miss is the intimacy. The easy physical affection. I miss touching. I miss hugging. I miss kissing.

Twenty days, only twenty days of being around only other LGBT women, and it's more real than an entire lifetime of everything else. Twenty days of breathing easy. Twenty days of honesty. Twenty days of belonging. Twenty days of joy.

Three months since I've been back in my real life, but I am no longer able to reconcile myself to the lie. Three months of acting straight. Three months of being back in the closet. Three months of being bereft of touch.

In Lebanon, Inever went long without the someone's arms slipped around me, offering love and comfort. Say what you will about the Community, they are not stingy in their physical affection. I never knew how tactile a person I was until I had all that at my fingertips. Often literally so.

These girls, my girls, their love, it overwhelms. In our space, there are no barriers. At first it seemed so strange, everyone climbing under, over, and onto one another. I was hesitant at first. For a few seconds. But I quickly fell under the spell of their complete openness and generosity in their affection. I had no idea how starved I was for all of it until I could have my fill. I never knew there was someplace I could belong. But like Frost says, Nothing gold can stay.

So I came back to Kuwait. So Eden sank to grief. Once again I am without the comfort of loving arms.

What I'm Listening To Right Now: Reelin' in the Years - Steely Dan

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Night Time Rituals

I’m not in love with her, that I know. But she draws me like no other, and I am certainly in love with the idea of being in love with her.

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like. If at fifteen I was thinner, taller, beautiful, desirable. What would it have been like if I had known I was gay? That she was gay. If I had known how much I would want her. If I had taken the chance. If I had the courage to speak to her. If I had smiled and put my fingers at her wrist. If I had been bold enough to casually brush her hip with mine. If I hadn't seen her just that one time, and unaware, left her in my subconscious biding her time.

What if we were high school sweethearts? If I had wanted her and she had wanted me. If I had told, asked, begged, pleaded, gotten down on bended knee. If I had asked her in written word, and touch, in song, in the way I looked at her. I wish that I had looked at her.

What if we were in love? What if hers were the first lips put to mine? If she had been the first one inside of me, her fingers tentative at first, her brow drawn as I lay back, one hand resting on her shoulder, fingers splayed, my mouth slack in surprise, letting out a cry of pleasurepain. If I had worshiped at the altar of her divinity, on my knees, face buried in her heat, one of her heels digging into the small of my back.

What if she had left me for that school so far away, and made me cry hot tears into my pillow, unable to tell anyone, terrified that it was for good? What if she stayed true to me as I pined for her? Seen her in every corner, every curve, every ray of light. Her eyes, her smile, that quirk of amusement at the corner of her mouth?

What if she came back to me and made my heart swell? What if she had known my friends, my arm loose around her waist, confident that she was mine? If I had melted in to her, bracketed by her legs, my back to her chest, acting extra coupley on movie night. If I had fallen asleep in her arms after going at it hot and dirty back in her bed, only to start awake terrified: what time is it, my parents are probably wondering where I am?

Instead I spoke to her years after that first glance. Instead she’s just a face on the computer screen, and has probably forgotten all about that awkward meeting.

Our could-bes are my bedtime stories, many a night they sing me to sleep. I am not in love with her, but I’m very much in love with the idea of being in love with her.

Credit where credit is due, I was inspired, love-crumbs notwithstanding:

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh ... And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

-ee cummings

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Though I Have No Camera

My day consists of a few dozen photographs. Sometimes I feel like an uninvested observer, fascinated by the boring details of my life, taking snapshots to document the ordinary. A pair of pale gold ballerina flats carelessly abandoned in the middle of my bedroom floor. Click. The casual intimacy of my unmade bed telling a story far more interesting than the truth of my restless sleep. Click. The view from my windshield of the cars gently gleaming before me as I idle at a traffic light. Click.

Most days, The City (it’s the only city we have) comes up like a revelation as I make my way back home from Shuwiakh on the road that takes you to the Sheraton Roundabout. The City usually breaks up from the flatness of the skyline like a tiny copse of trees and grows larger until it swallows me up. But some days the sky has other ideas. Some days it is The City that is swallowed by the sky, heavy with yellow dust.

Dusty days usually cause me a lot of grief, but on one particular day I lay safe in the arms of the antihistamines I rarely remember to take. On that particular day, free of stuffiness and itchiness and other things best left unmentioned, I noticed that the desert had swallowed up my metropolitan oasis of metal and steel.

Instead of the old familiar face greeting me at our usual place, I was by met emptiness beckoning me closer, and so I drove on. As I approached, buildings began to loom out one by one, shrouded in an unfamiliar cloak of gritty mystery. Instead of the usual merry group, each was a hulking monolith of individuality.

Odd, how an ordinary turn of weather had changed the friendly face of my city into something alien. It seemed everything was muffled, darker. It seemed to me like every structure carried a sort of dull post-apocalyptic sheen, left all alone and condemned to a destiny of solitude. It reminded of a short burst of fiction I once wrote in my original blog.

Some bits and pieces of that recently remembered something...

"We built the world, height upon height, we rose up reaching for the sky. We thought we could leave the mess, the grit and dirt of humanity behind. Reaching out to the clean expanse of sky, dirtying it as we reached... Then they left us here, living in the shadows of what they have wrought, mere skeletons now. Left us with hollow husks, laying under this blotted out sun. What a legacy they’ve left us, cadavers, monoliths, useless, a tribute to a pointless race whose outcome has been lost to time."

As I often do, I wished the I did in fact have a camera.

Er… perhaps I was feeling particularly lonely that day?

What I'm Listening To Right Now: Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) - Lady Gaga

Saturday, 14 March 2009

All Sorts of FAIL

So here’s the thing. I exist (and I use that word in its loosest sense) at the peripherals of certain online sci-fi/fantasy communities. I don’t really engage, I mostly just surf the blogs and communities for reviews and fandom meta (analytical essays by fans of specific book/series/episode/etc.). One thing I’m following at the moment is an ongoing debate on racism and the racism, real or perceived, of a few prominent figures which has stemmed from comments they have and actions they have taken which were... unwise, to say the least.

One of the catalysts of this spiraling debate was a post of a white sf/f author on how to write the other and several People of Color calling her on the fact that they don’t think she should be giving advice on proper portrayal of PoC characters given the shortcomings of her own portrayals. Now Racefail 09 as it has come to be called isn’t really what this post is about. This post, as most of my posts are is about… me.

As I was reading some really interesting comments about marginalization and whitewashing of characters who ‘happen to be’ people of color, Black or otherwise, it got me wondering. Am I a person of color? Or is that some exclusively western concept. Or am *I* the privileged dominant race.

See here’s the thing. I am a Kuwaiti who lives in Kuwait, and if you haven’t seen Kuwaiti Privilege you haven’t seen anything. Now our power doesn’t come from the remnants of slavery (although that did take place in the not so distant past), our privilege is government sanctioned, signed and notarized. You see, we have a little black book called our ‘Nationality’. I’m not being metaphorical here; we have black bound booklets that hold our nationality info that we call our nationality. Here’s the thing too, not all Kuwaitis are created equals, at least not according to our constitution. Depending on how you came across your citizenship, you get all sorts of levels and flavors of privilege.

If you’re descended from the male line of someone who was around during the 1920 census, congratulations, you’re an Article 1 Citizen (sorry ladies, if you marry a non-Kuwaiti your children are shit out of luck, regardless of your contributions to your country). Naturalized? No worries, you’re an Article 5, you have all the rights and responsibly… er except the right to vote, you have to wait twenty years for that. Your kids are Article 7 though, they can totally vote when they’re 21. Their kids even get shiny super special Article 1s! Ladies, if you want a Kuwaiti citizenship of your very own you can marry a Kuwaiti guy and five years later you can even apply for an Article 8. Non-Kuwaiti husbands of Kuwaiti women are of course as shit out of luck as their children. Tomorrow we’ll put all your different nationalities up and play discrimination and privilege bingo.

Of course the narrow legal view is an oversimplification. It doesn’t take into consideration all the cool nonofficial discrimination. The discrimination on the basis of Country and Region of Origin, Arab vs. Persian Ancestry, Sunni vs. Shiite, Tribe, Class, and Family Connections. And of course the universal, Skin Color. Oh how about Religious School of Thought or you know, Preferred Brand of Toothpaste. You know we don’t marry our girls to Colgate guys; they’re just not our kind of people.

Now how non-Kuwaitis are treated like they’re subhuman is a whole ‘nother thing. The attitudes of some people are just, god *sickening* is not strong enough a word. There is of course a whole class/region/race distinction to that too. The discrimination against Arabs is of course different than that against Non-Arabs is *extremely* different to that against Southeast Asians. The discrimination against Moneyed Arabs is different from that towards non-Moneyed Arabs. Don’t even get me started on the treatment of unskilled laborers and domestic help as if they’re a legalized form of slavery or how those discriminated against turn around and do the same to everyone else. After all, racism and bigotry comes in all sorts of fun flavors too!

I started this post with a preface about the Racefail 09 debate because I was going to write some fiction that was a little less whitewashed than my usual. In fact I though I was headed that way until about three paragraphs into the post. Sorry, it seems my indignation has once again hijacked my brain. Hopefully, I’ll have something a little less Ranty McSoapbox next time. Honestly, remember when my post used to be *fun*? Yeah, neither do I.

For more on Racefail 09 go Here and Here.

For more on the articles of the Kuwaiti Citizenship Laws go Here. Sorry it’s in Arabic, I couldn’t find a decent English version. The Google translation was sadly inadequate.

What I'm Listening to Right Now: The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel

Monday, 9 March 2009

It Speaks

So I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a good while now. A lot has happened. Some good, some bad. Holidays, trips, births, deaths, all the stuff that makes life what it is. My writing skills feel rusty as hell, and I’m not sure I’m fully comfortable in returning to expressing myself in the written form yet. I would have waited until I came back to it naturally, but something came up about which I could not hold my peace.

See, they’re something you need to know about the vulnerability of being queer in this region. If we’re outed, we can lose everything. They’re nothing anyone can do to defend us. We have absolutely no rights. None. Zero.

So as you might guess, we have to be careful about how we live our lives. Because every time we come out to someone we are placing our lives and everything we value in their hands. Scary as hell? You betcha. So why don’t we keep our mouths shut and try to live our lives as best we can in the safety of a lie? Because living a lie that immense means that we might as well not be living. Sometimes, just so you can breathe once in a while, you have to find people you trust enough to say the truth.

Then again sometimes you’re just too young/stupid/horny/arrogant to be careful. And it comes back to bite you in the ass. Apparently that’s what happened to local national football player Fahad Al-Rashidi. The boy was either stupid in love/lust or just plain stupid when he allowed some guy to capture with on a cellphone camera giving what I have to say was a truly awkward blowjob.

When I came across the aforementioned video I hoped and prayed for the unlikely event that it wouldn’t spread like wildfire. I clung to that hope until my teenage sister came home from school with this month’s salacious piece of gossip. Fahad Al-Rashidi was getting kicked off the national team for being gay, and that’s why he didn’t play in our game against Australia. This article here only confirms that he has ‘asked’ to be ‘temporarily excused’ from the team for ‘personal reason’ which makes it more like he’s nipping off for a quick trip to the gents than anything.

So yeah because a twenty four year old guy decided to think with his smaller head, his life as he knows it is virtually over. All because there’s visual proof that he has a liking for dick. (Quel Horror.) We already know he lost his job, since he was apparently a pro footballer, even was on loan to a Saudi team for a while. I wonder how many friends he’ll get to keep, how many family members. How many anything.

I’m sorry Fahad. I’m sorry the people you trusted weren’t deserving of that trust. I’m sorry that we live in a world where homophobia runs rampant. I’m sorry we live in a country where you might get arrested on top of everything else that’s happened or will happen to you. I’m sorry I haven’t done more for a course that’s yours and mine and a countless number of others’. Most of all, I’m sorry that writing this article is all I can do for you.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Still Kicking

I'm truly and genuinely sorry, I didn't mean to worry anyone at all. I didn't even realize. I've just been slightly overwhelmed by real life, and the longer I was away the harder it seemed to come back.

I hope I didn't upset anyone very much. Again I apologize for disappearing without warning or at least a heads up. I'll try not to do that again, especially with what I now notice was probably not the best post to precede that by.

Will be back, hopefully soon.