Zeina stared at the message, she was beyond surprised at what it said..
"Saro 7ayati shway wakalmich ok.." she told her friend who had continued to complain not realizing that Zeina wasn't paying any attention to her.
"ok ok .. bes ebser3a ma khala9t.." Sara said and hung up before Zeina could. Her hands shaking a bit she found her call list and scrolled down to Mr. X's number and pressed CALL.
It rang two times before he picked up.. "Alo" his voice was low and sounded a bit nervous.
"hala.." Zeina spoke into her phone she immediately regretted calling because she had no idea what she was going to say.
"akheeran dagaitay.." he sighed.. "eshrayech bil message?"
"hmm..i'm confused wala Mr. X ... min wain ya kel hatha? o faj2a chithee?"
"Wala Zeina mu faj2a..9arli fatra afaker feech o mayet min il walah wala...bes kheft adiglich, kheft itkooneen nasyatni.."
"uhaa.." she replied. She knew he was looking for a better answer than that but she honestly didn't know what to say.
"ha Zeina? nesaiteeni?"
She paused for a second and took in a deep breath. All her memories shared with the man speaking to her came rushing back in a slideshow of one loving memory after another. This was the love of her life, the man that made her eyes blind to every other man in this world. The man who through only his words, though they were not worth that much, could force her to do anything he pleased. And right now .. they were forcing her to give him the answers he would like to hear.
"la, akeed ma nesaitik.." She whispered choking on her words, tears were about to flow down her cheeks. Tears of joy, of comfort from the words he spoke to her. Her heart had been in so much pain for the past few months and nothing not even time seemed to have managed to fix the pain; but his words right now were miraculously kissing away everything that hurt inside of her.
She can go back to the comfort and familiarity of Mr. X...and she just might get her happily ever after that she had dreamt of for so many nights during the years she spent with him.
"Zeina please I want to make it better between us. 3a6eeni fer9a ok.." He asked her his tone getting more and more nervous.
"a7awel.." she replied although she already knew that she would give him more than a fer9a. This was Mr. X. mu ay a7ad!
Over the next few days Mr. X called Zeina every morning on his way to work, at 3pm as he left the office, and around 1 am when he came back from the Diwaniya. In between these phone calls he would text her asking her what she was doing or what she had eaten for lunch or dinner. All this shocked Zeina a bit, but not as much as the nagging feeling she had in the pit of her stomach.
Manaf hadn't made up any excuse to contact her yet; she was so sure that when he had asked for her number he was using it as an excuse to start calling her and texting her and the fact that it had been a week and still nothing embarressed her a bit. Could it be that he really isn't interested? She wondered staring at his name on her phone.
The day of registeration Zeina woke up at 10:30, a bit later than usual. This was because her professor had cancelled one of her classes and she had decided not to attend the other one. Frantically she reached out under her covers to look for her phone in case Manaf had called while she was sleeping. There were two missed calls, both from Sara, and nothing from Mr. X. She dialled his number and called to see why he hadn't called her like he had been doing all week. Call waiting. She hung up and called Sara instead hoping that when he called back she would also have Call Waiting. It didn't happen though because Mr. X didn't call back, and neither did Manaf...and it had become 1:20 in the afternoon.
Zeina set her laptop down on the dining room table her mother sitting next to her stirring a bowl of soup.
"bessich laptop!" she muttered blowing on her spoon to cool the soup before putting it in her mouth.
"yuma i'm working 3ala shay 7ag il jam3a.." Zeina brushed her mother off. Just then her phone vibrated. It was a long and international number, they almost always were wrong numbers.
"Aloo" Zeina pressed the Answer button, she was preparing to say "wrong number" and turn it off when a Kuwaiti accent took her by surprise.
"Alah bil khair.." a deep voice said
"Alah bil noor ya hala.." she replied squinting deep in thought trying to recognize the familiar voice.
"ma3ach Manaf.." the voice said almost as if recognizing her confusion..
"Ohh ahlan ahlan.." Zeina immediately got up, trying to act casual, and picked up her laptop heading back upstairs to her room for privacy.
"tara ana ib ma9er hatha raqmi il ma9ry.." he tried to clarify.
"ee ana agool ma 3arafta awal shay" She laughed nervously, closing her bedroom door with her foot and carefully placing the laptop on her bed before lying down in front of it.
"wala ana ebkhair enta shlonik?"
They exchanged pleasantries for a bit, Manaf asking her about the weather in Kuwait and Zeina asking him how he was doing with the end of the semester finals.
"enzain tara ana jedami il website al7ean.." she told him clicking on her universities webpage and navigating through it until she reached the registeration page.
"a7taj il username malik o il password" she told him. He slowly spelled his username and password for her word by word, number by number and she typed it in, accessing his page with his personal information. She considered saving his username and password so she could access it again later and snoop around but then she decided it was too pathetic and low.
"Zeina bagoolich shay.." he said seriously as she browsed looking for available seats for the class he needed.
"gooli..." she answered as she found two available classes, butterflies forming in her stomach.
"ana .. ana gabil il 10 ma agoom tara.." he said in an even more serious tone. Zeina burst out laughing, "waay 3abali 3indik salfa" she joked.
"ee .. noomti salfa..shfeech!" he said the last word mid-laugh obviously glad she enjoyed his joke.
"enain legaitlik at 11 o at 12..tabee 12?"
"ee na3am.." he replied matter of factly. Zeina clicked on the class and he was registered.
"oo chithee .. khala9na.." she told him as she quickly signed into her account. She had two classes she needed and was wondering if any of them were avaible at the same time as his.
"ya36eech il 3afia Zeina .. "
"alah y3afeek .. "
" o ba3ad shemsawya..?" he asked her. She could feel his tone of voice changing, he let out a gust of air and she heard rustling of covers in the background .. he was obviously lying down. Zeina couldnt imagine how the increased casualness of his voice was making her heart pound faster and faster and forming a smile on her face that kept getting wider, so much that her jaw soon began to hurt her.
Finding the class she was looking for she registered and pushed aside the laptop. Her class started the same time as his did but ended fifteen minutes later; she pondered telling him about it but decided not to sound too eager. She grabbed her pillow and rested her head on it, covering her body with her blankets. She stared at the ceiling holding down all the excited giggles that were forming in her throat. He wanted to continue talking!
"Wala mako, jam3a..bait...emti7anat haha .." she let a nervous giggle escape... "enta shetsawi ib ma9r ? ghair el derasa 6ab3an?"
"tabeen il 9ij? ma asawii shay! ma ako shay a9lan asaweeh 7atan law baghait!" he complained, his voice became somewhat upset making his comment sound like it came truly from the heart rather than a casual statement for conversation.
"e7lif..enzain ya3ni el weekend kela bes teg3ad bil shiqa?"
"ee wala .. marat aroo7 gahawi weya il rabi3 .. aw entiyama3 .. bes mu dayman" he continued.
Her phone beeped indicating a call on the other line, she glanced at the screen seeing Sara's name. She felt her heart drop a little with disappointment that it wasn't Mr. X.
"Zeina..ana lazim amshi al7ean .. lazim aroo7 akalem diktoor.." he told her.. her heart dropped even further.
"ah ok .. mo moshkila.." she tried to keep her voice casual and cheerful.
"mashkoora wayed mate9awarain eshkither sa3adteeni!" he told her and his voice once again began to change..this time he was sitting up in bed.
"el 3afu eshda3wa.." she replied curling her hand into a fist against the pillow. She was literally angry at the universe for making him have to go.
"khosh 3ayal..." he paused .. it seemed that the goodbye was beginning to get awkward..
"hehe..ok.." Zeina dragged it on.
"Agool, gabil la aroo7, momkin as2ilich so2al?"
"ee akeed momkin.." Zeina sent a silent apology to the universe for getting angry with it.
"bes mu etithayagain .. o please khaleech 9aree7a ma3ay enzain?" he became very serious as he spoke those words..
"enshallah.." She began to get nervous..what if he asked a totally inappropriate question o 6a7 min 3ainha? What if he wasn't as good a guy as she thought he was?
"Momken bain fatra o fatra .. adezlich message aw ya3ni adeg 3alaich asolif? El 9ara7a thegat khelg ihnee o marat maykoon 3indi a7ad asolif ma3ah.."
Zeina's heart melted for a second as she lost her words. What was an appropriate reply to such a heart breaking request?
"Ee Manaf .. kelish wela etkoon ibro7ik wenta ib ghorba" Her voice broke with sensitivity..how could the angry man with the scary eyes be so adorable? Immediately she got the urge to comfort him in his time of need and give him the shoulder he needed to cry on, the companion he needed when the times got rough ..
"Mashkoora, ma te9awarain eshkither erta7tlich o etha ma 6alabt minich hal shay adry ra7 akrah nafsi lama asakra minich.." his voice had suddenly gone from serious to shy.
"el 3afu Manaf.." Zeina wanted to repeat his name a million times out loud. She wanted to fit it in between every other word knowing that she wouldnt get sick of it any time soon.
Manaf said his goodbyes, properly this time, without any hint of when he'd call her again, and got off the phone. Zeina threw herself on her pillow and tightened her grip on her phone never wanting to let it go. In her hand it beeped suddenly.
PLEASE LET IT BE FROM MANAF! she screamed in her head. She imagined him sending her a message telling her he missed her already or some other corny line that would make her heart melt nonetheless.
Instead it was from Mr. X .. "Zayoon 7abeebti sorry I've been caught up in meetings all day. Ana al7ean badish another one, bes wedi ashoofich! Fe majal hal weekend? 3indi surprise 7agich ;)" ..
Zeina re-read the message one more time and thought for a bit.
What was she doing with Manaf? She barely knew this guy, and here Mr. X was, trying to fix things between them! There was no way she could carry on both relationships, or atleast carry it on when things with Manaf escalated to a relationship.
She thought for a few more minutes and finally came to a conclusion..she pressed the reply button on Mr. X's message and began typing:
"Hey honey..sure I can make it this weekend! ;* .. goodluck with your meetings o i love you!"