the sheik will be a character in one of the many books in my head (and in the notebook my houseguest took and hasn’t returned, but that is another story).
he pops up at my desk like kazoo to make small talk. mother goose stops by to talk about a work issue and he leaves. seconds later an IM:
the sheik: hi
the sheik: r we still friends? or just co worker? i miss talking to u
me: i think there is something you still need to tell me. and that is not a conversation for IM, the phone, or work.
the sheik: ok when can we do that where?
me; after work today? i am leaving at 5.
the sheik::ok sounds good i leave at 4 but i will wait for u
we meet at the gazebo and after much ado about nothing he says:
i’ve been married for 20 years (he’s 38). my boys have special needs, they’re autistic. i’m unhappy in my marriage, tried to divorce my wife but she got her citizenship and used the power of america to get an attorney and fight me. she had something to use against me. she threatened to take my kids away. i moved out for 7 months and it was the worse time of my life.
yes i can have multiple wives (long diatribe about the koran, a “god” who allows polygamy, the woman he offered 2nd wife to who backed out, and the prophet mohammed’s life with khadijah, how he really needs a friend, a real hug, someone to talk to). yes friends, i attract broken people because i have a penchant for codependent men with fucked up lives.
i tell him he had ample opportunity to tell me the truth, he maintains he didn’t lie. i press him, you told me you could give me twins, but you couldn’t tell me you have twins? c’mon now. he concedes, yes, i could’ve told you sooner but i was afraid you wouldn’t see me, the part of me without all of this. (sound of screeching brakes) there is only one you. the married you with children. to which he responds, yes i know but i told you my life is complicated, that i have responsibilities, i just didn’t want to tell you everything, not yet.
i finally answer his earlier question: we’re coworkers.
he says, I feel that you’re judging me. that all of this has made you not want to be my friend.
nope, no judgment. i told you last week, my expectation of my friends is that they are honest. you weren’t. but this is what adults do, we talk, we discuss issues, we disagree. we don’t hide from our truths and we don’t hide them from others.
we talked for about an hour or so. i finally asked him, what are you going to do?
he says i don’t know. right now i am focusing on my kids, being their dad. in my dream i would find a woman who would be ok with all this, my life. who would love my kids as much as their mother does. maybe i will find her, maybe not.
yea, sheik, maybe, maybe not.