Kareem (part 10 of 10)

Continued from Part 9

kareem 10

Joe holds my hand.

“But Kareem… you have to quit it because I wanna be with you. And I can’t be with you and share you with other men”.

“I don’t know what to do. I wanna stop but I feel like I’m stuck”.

“We’ll figure it out. We’ll find another way for you to make money. There are other ways. You don’t have to live this life. Let me take care of you. No more lying”.

“I’m sorry for all the times I lied. I was just protecting you. I didn’t want you to know”.

“I know… It’s okay. I know everything now”, he says.

“We’ll figure it out, right?”, I ask him.

I really don’t know the answer. I want to believe we can.

He takes my hand. “We’ll figure it out. You have me”.

“I know I do”, I say.

We sit on the sofa with my head on his lap. We don’t talk. We sit silently through the night.

I’m so relieved that he wants to give us another shot. I feel safe, even if just for a night. Tonight, I don’t worry about the bills. About how I’m gonna manage. When I’m with him, I’m free from all that.

We slept on the sofa that night. Took off our shoes and got comfy. With a weird mix of love and doubt in the air. That feeling when you wanna believe something is possible… but you’re not sure how to get there.

Three weeks later, I think I have it all figured out.

I arrive to my apartment with a great smell coming from the kitchen. I walk in there and see Joe lookin so cute in the apron.

“Babyyy. What’re you doing?”, I ask.

“What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m devirginizing your oven! I know you’re stressed out cause of the exams. Just giving you a little treat”.

“Well, it smells great. I’ll be right back. I’m gonna go feed Bisi”.

“Don’t I get a kiss and a hug?”, he asks.

“I just dissected a frog. You sure you want that?”, I reply.

“No”.

“Okay then”. I blow him a kiss.

I go inside, feed Bisi then brush my teeth.

When I come back to the kitchen, I see Joe with a concerned look on his face.

“Babe what’s wrong?”, I ask.

Then I see what he’s holding in his hands. I come close to grab the book.

“Babe, don’t look through that”, I scream.

“All of these men? Four years worth of men”, he says.

He flips through the pages.

“December 1? On my birthday? How could you?”

I don’t know what to say.

“We talked about this. I’m done with all that”, I say.

He keeps flipping through the pages and lands on today’s date.

“Elie 12:30 pm Rawche. Is that where you were today?”.

“Baby, no! I wrote that a long time ago. Joe… it’s all in the past. You can’t be paranoid about this anymore. I’m done with it. I swear”.

I finally get a hold of that book and close it. I hug him as he cries.

“You have to believe me. You made a wonderful lunch. Let’s not ruin it”, I say.

He wipes his tears away.

“Okay”, he says.

I give him a kiss. “Okay”.

I take the book and throw it in the trash.

“There. Done”, I tell him. “I’ll pour us some wine”.

“Okay”, he says.

As I walk inside, I feel bad for making him feel the way he is now. For not trusting me. For always being paranoid. And I don’t blame him for it. I just wish he never thinks of that again. Never thinks of me that way again.

I go to my room to undress and get into something more comfortable.

I open the closet door and hang the jeans I just took off.

As I close the closet, I heard a weird sound. Like something falling. I open the closet and see them lying there.

A couple hundred dollar bills.

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Thank you for reading this story. You’ve been amazing.

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Special thanks to my amazing friend for taking the above pic of me. You being a ‘top’ and an ‘ass man’ came in very handy.

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Kareem (part 8 of 10)

Continued from Part 7

kareem 8

“What?”, Joe is in disbelief.

“He… He paid me for sex”, I repeat. And I start crying.

“I don’t understand… When did that happen?”.

“I don’t remember. Maybe two or three years ago”.

“Well, is he the only one you’ve fucked for money?”, he asks.

My crying intensifies.

“Kareem, are you still fucking guys for money?”, he screams.

I don’t reply.

“Oh my God…”, he says. “Oh my God… Kareem, you’re a fucking whore?”.

“I didn’t want you to know… I’m sorry I kept this from you for so long”, I tell him.

I come closer to him and try to touch him but he walks away.

“Please don’t go. Please. Lemme explain”, I beg him.

“You’ve been cheating on me this whole time. Fucking guys and getting paid for it. How can you explain yourself? You heartless son of a fucking bitch. Leave me alone”.

He whistles to a taxi and it pulls over. He grabs his wallet, takes out a $20 bill, and throws it in my face. “Here’s for tonight”, he says with tears in his eyes.

There it was. The truth was out there. The truth I’ve been trying for four years to hide. And this is why I’ve been hiding it for so long. I know people won’t understand. They don’t get that you have to do what you have to do. That it’s just sex. That it’s a means for survival.

I walk home and as soon as I open the door, Bisi runs into my lap. I cry all over that furry little thing.

“I still have you, don’t I?”.

I grab Bisi and lay on the bed with her.

He definitely won’t be calling me ever. The only guy I’ve ever loved. I fucked it up.

He’s right. Why would he want to be with someone who allows other men to fuck him for cash. It’s my prerogative to do what I have to do, but it’s also his not to want anything to do with me. I just feel bad I dragged him into this mess to begin with.

I look at the pic he held in his hand yesterday. That day on the snow. I wish we can have that back.

Right next to the pic is a calendar. Yep, March 2013. Officially one of the worst months of my life.

Then it hits me.

“Wait… March 16? Bisi…It’s her birthday tomorrow”.

I totally forgot!

“I have to see her”.

It’s always a hassle to do so. I have to wake up really early if I wanna make it on time with all the traffic. But it’s worth it. I feel better when I see her. And the nurses always tell me she lights up for at least a week after I’m gone.

I arrive there and the people who work there recognize me.

“I’m here to see Youmna”.

“Come with me”.

“Is it okay if I bring those with me? It’s her birthday.”

The nurse at the psychiatric facility looks at the cake and the balloon and smiles.

“Akid, no problem”.

I enter the room and she’s looking out the window.

“Mama… habibte”.

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Read Part 9 here.

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Kareem (part 7 of 10)

Continued from Part 6

kareem 7

“Babe, where do you put the sugar?”, Joe yells from inside.

“In the cabinet next to the fridge”.

I’m sitting on my bed wondering what to do. Should I go meet Charbel at 3 pm…or shouldn’t I?

I promised Joe to stop acting shady. I don’t know what to do.

Joe enters the room. “Hey. come inside, I made you cornflakes”.

There we are. Eating cornflakes like a real couple living together. I just hope it lasts this time.

“Kareem, we should do something tonight. Let’s go out to Bardo”, he says.

“Umm… I don’t know…”.

I hate that place. All the gays gathered under one roof. I, especially, should not go there.

“Come on, we never go out together. Me and you. Bardo. 10 pm. We have some wine. It’ll be a nice change”.

“Babe, you know I’m not comfortable with places like these”.

“You told me you used to go to gay places a long time ago. What changed?”

“Okay, you know what? Let’s”.

“Fuck yeahhh!”. He gives me a kiss, then stands up and says: “I gotta go. I’m late for uni”.

We walk over to the door and kiss.

“See you tonight!”, he says.

“See you habibi”.

After I shut the door, I realize this is the guy I love. I have to stop what I’ve been doing…at least for now.

I send ‘3pm Charbel’ a text message: “I’m sorry, I can’t make it today. Maybe some other time. Take Care”.

What a relief. I’ll just spend the afternoon catching up on my studies.

When the clock hits 10 pm, I head to Bardo.

Joe’s already inside. My taxi drops me off and I start to panic.

What if someone sees me? Someone who knows me. But I have to try to get over it and move on with my life.

I’m already getting weird looks and whispers from people outside of the pub. I don’t know if they recognize me, if I’ve fucked them, or if I’m just being paranoid.

I see Joe sitting on a table. I come up from behind him and kiss the top of his head.

He turns around: “Habibi…”. He stands up and kisses me.

“You okay? It’s not that bad, is it?”, he asks.

“I’m okay. Don’t worry”, I assure him.

We spend around an hour drinking wine, talking about us, laughing. It felt good. For a second I thought I could leave it all behind me.

As he smiled and laughed, I was thinking…should I confess to him what I’ve been doing behind his back? Will it hurt him? Will he appreciate me being honest? Or should I just shut up and let it go?

Then someone bumps into me. A 40-something year old blond man.

“Oh, I’m sorry”, he says.

“It’s alright”, I smile back.

Then it seems like he remembers me.

“Hey! Omar.”

“Shit”, I think to myself. I don’t remember this guy. But he clearly remembers me.

“No… I’m not Omar”, I reply.

He looks at Joe, then looks back at me.

“Oh, sorry. My bad”, he says, and goes and sits at a nearby table.

I am embarrassed. I can’t believe I thought this night would go without a hitch. He’s probably talking to his friends about me . About what we’ve done together.

I get up out of my seat.

“Babe, I’m not feeling well…I gotta go”, I tell Joe.

“Wait, what? But…”, he says.

I just head straight out. I can’t take it anymore. I need to breathe. I walk as fast as I can to grab a taxi.

Joe runs after me yelling: “Babe, come here. What happened? Was it that guy? It’s okay. He thought you were someone else”.

“I do know him”, I reply.

“What do you mean?”, he asks.

I don’t say anything.

“Kareem, did you fuck that guy?”, he asks.

“Yes… a long time ago”, I reply.

“Then why does he think your name is Omar?”, he asks.

“Because he paid for it”.

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Read Part 8 here.

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Kareem (part 6 of 10)

Continued from Part 5

kareem 6

“Hi”.

I’m shocked. I don’t know what else to say.

He doesn’t say anything back. He looks at the floor for a while.

Then he looks up at me. “Hey”.

“Come in.”

“I…I don’t know if I should”.

“Just come in. We’ll talk inside”.

“We’ve done this a million times. I don’t know”.

“Then why are you here?”, I ask.

Silence.

“Get inside. Please”.

He enters. Reluctantly. Slowly. Dead man walking. He sits on the sofa.

“I’ll get you something to drink. One sec.”

I go into the kitchen, lean against the wall and breathe a sigh of relief.

He’s here. He’s here! I thought he didn’t want anything to do with me but… he’s here.

That means something. I better not fuck this up.

I go back inside.

“Here’s some ice tea. Your favorite”.

“Fun day, wasn’t it?”

I look at him. He’s holding one of the frames I’ve put on the table.

A picture of us acting goofy during a trip to the snow.

“I didn’t know you had this”, he continues.

“I do”. I nod.

“Why?”, he puts it back on the table.

“What do you mean why?”.

He answers: “You know in the year and a half that we’ve been together, I’ve only been to your place four times? This included. I’ve never met your mom or dad. So yeah… why? Why do you have that picture? Why do you do this to me? I feel like I know you but not really.”

I go sit next to him. “You do know me.”

He looks away. I put my hand on his shoulders which he’s trying to move away.

“You know me better than anyone I know”, I continue.

“How? You never let me in. I feel like you’re hiding a part of your life from me. I’ve waited so long for you to open up. I’m sick of trying.”

“Babe, if this is about me not seeing you enough, I’m sorry. I have my…”

“Studies”, he interrupts me.

“Yes, studies. University is very important to me”.

“Right… Don’t lie to me. Remember last time when I asked you where you were… you told me you were studying for a “big ass” exam. Ten minutes later I see you on the fucking street. Why would you lie to me. Why would you do that?”

“I’m sorry…”

“No, I don’t wanna hear your sorries, Kareem. Seriously… I hate that I give you second chances and third chances. And still, you keep doing the same shit.”

“Listen. I know… I know how you feel. You just have to understand… I fucking swear… I never meant to hurt you. You’ll probably never understand but you have to believe me… there are some things you shouldn’t know.”

“Why? What are you hiding? I wanna know. I’m your fucking boyfriend!”. He tears up. So immediately I start tearing up. I hate seeing him cry.

“Joe…You’ll know what I mean someday. Please. Just believe in me. When I keep stuff away from you and when I lie, and I know it’s bad and it’s unfair… but I do it for your own sake. You just have to believe me”.

I start crying. He comes closer and hugs me. We’re both sobbing.

“I’m sorry… I really wanna change… I do…You have to believe me”, I beg him.

I can feel his tears dropping on my back as we hug. I move back and hold his face with my hands and say “I love you”.

“Of course you do”.

We both smile with tears glimmering on our faces. I wipe his tears away.

“So…what now?”, I ask.

“Just try harder this time, okay?”, he says.

“I will”.

I hope this time, I can keep my promise.

“Listen… you should sleep here tonight. You’ve never slept over before…”

“No…it’s fine.”

“No… you should. I want you to”.

“Okay…”.

That night, Joe takes a shower at my house for the first time. We cuddle in my bed for the first time. We make love on my sheets for the first time. And he sleeps in my bed for the first time. And for the first time in months… I sleep like a baby.

I’m woken up by an alarm at 7 am.

A phone reminder that reads: “Charbel Sodeco 3 pm”.

I have 8 hours to decide if I wanna do this.

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Read Part 7 here.

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Kareem (part 4 of 10)

Continued from Part 3

kareem 4

I hop into a cab at 8 in the morning and go back to my house.

I open the door and there’s Bisi. I bend down to the floor and carry her. Missed her smell.

“How was your night?”

No reply.

“Missed me?”. I give her a kiss.

No reply.

“Wli Kess emmik”.

She meows.

I give her another kiss and put her back down and make her breakfast.

Gotta take a long shower. He wasn’t that awful. But I just want his smell off of me. Smelling him reminds me of what I’ve done.

After I’m done showering, I hop in bed. I didn’t even have a proper breakfast. Not if you call the protein shake breakfast. Just want to sleep so I can fully focus when I study in the afternoon.

An hour into it, I hear my phone ring. But why would it? It’s on Silent. It’s a reminder: “Test at Skoun 2 pm”.

Fuckkkk, I totally forgot. Has it been a month already?

40 minutes later, I’m at Skoun, a Lebanese addiction center which also does free HIV tests.

I don’t have to wait a lot in the reception area. The guy who does the test knows I show up on time.

At exactly 2 pm, he enters the reception area and looks around for me.

“I’m here”. I get up and shake his hand.

“Kifak? Come inside”, he says.

I’ve done these tests so much I’ve memorized them. If you’re a beginner, he sits you down, explains about the HIV test, its accuracy, asks you questions about yourself and your sex life, does the test, then gives you the result. Well, I just want the last part, but still… he has to do all of the above.

He gets to the questions part.

“How old are you?”

“23”.

“What’s your field of study?”

“Medicine”.

“When was your last sexual encounter?”.

He’s gonna love this.

“Ummm… 5 hours ago”.

He looks at me. Smiles.

“Don’t worry… I washed my hands”.

He laughs. “It’s all good. In the past year, how many sexual partners have you had?”.

I know the real number. I have a black book. With the names, addresses and other important info if you know what I mean. So whatever the real number is, I divide it by four.

“Twenty five”, I reply.

“Okay”, he says. Poker face.

Wait, there’s also Joe.

“Six. Twenty six.”

“Okay.”

“Why do you want to do the test?”

Because I suck so many cocks and if I pass something on to my boyfriend, who hasn’t talked to me in over 72 hours, I might just die?

Instead I say: “Because if I’m positive, I’d wanna know.”

“Okay. Let’s do the test.”

I stand up.

He grabs my finger, pricks it with a needle, and drops my blood into the sample well.

We wait for 5 minutes… the longest 5 minutes of my life.

It never gets easier. You can always be safe. Put 5 condoms on the dick before sitting on it. You can be a virgin. A girl who’s never even kissed a guy before and still…they’d be the longest 5 minutes of your life.

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Read Part 5 here.

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Kareem (part 3 of 10)

Continued from Part 2

kareem 3

He grabs me by my hair and pushes my head on his face. A passionate kiss. As close as you can get to passionate anyway.

His dick is so hard I can feel it throbbing between my legs. Fuck, this is gonna hurt like hell tomorrow.

He comes up for air. “Let’s go inside”, he says.

“Sure… let’s”.

We leave Marylin and the other queens and go to his bedroom. Clean. Neat. Unlike my boyfriend’s room. But let’s face it, he is 45 and he has two maids.

He lights up a joint. “You smoke up?”, he asks.

“What do you think?”.

He hands me the joint and with one puff, I get even more loosened up. Now, if only my ass can loosen up.

He kisses my neck.

“Mmm…yeah…I like that”, I tell him while caressing his hair.

He touches my hand that’s on his head. Then he grabs it and looks at it.

“You wore it?”, he asks with such delight.

“Of course I did. You told me gym gloves are your fetish. I take your pleasures very seriously”.

He kisses me.

“Go over there”, he says.

“Go where?”, I ask.

“There. The wall”.

I know what he wants. A show.

I move slowly and take off my shirt and my jeans…revealing my black Calvins.

“Yeah…like that”, he says as he pulls out his dick and strokes it. “Now turn around. Show me that ass”.

I slowly turn around and pull my boxer shorts down.

“Fuckkk yeah”. Guess he’s lovin it.

Then I hear him get off the bed and take off his clothes. His jeans. He gets closer and grabs me from behind.

“Put your hands on the wall”.

He kisses my shoulders and licks my back. When his tongue reaches my ass, he pulls my underwear down. He moves my thighs further apart so he could rim me.

For about 5 minutes, he rims my asshole…moaning while he does it.

Then he stops and goes away for a second. I know what he’s getting.

He comes back, stands up behind me and I feel this wet thing touch my ass.

He forces it in me.

“Ahh yeah… take that dick”, he says.

“Ahhh fuck…”, I play along.

I’ve become quite good at overcoming the pain. Getting past the sex. As he fucks me, I close my eyes and think about Joe. About that time when we were in bed staring at each other in the morning.

“Do I have morning breath?”, he asked.

“Haha…yeah you do. And it’s so bad”, I laughed at him.

“Oh yeah? Well so do you”, he said while he tickled my stomach.

Tickling! I can’t take it.

“Stop…stop…”, I told him while I laughed hysterically.

Then it happened.

“Oh my God. Did you just”, he started laughing.

I was so embarrassed. He was laughing so hard.

“Shut up…shut up!”, I panicked. I stood up on the bed, removed the sheets off of him and started jumping on the bed like a crazy person trying to make the smell go away. Then I gave up and fell laughing next to him.

“You like that, huh?”, Hussein says as he fucks me.

I occasionally have to come back to reality. “Fuck yeah…I do…keep doing that…fuck…”, I scream.

Time for a good memory.

“You know when I knew that I loved you?”, Joe asked me.

I shake my head.

“That morning in bed. I knew it. I loved you”.

I’m not used to love confessions. So I had to say something stupid.

“If I wasn’t dark-skinned, I would be blushing right now”, I joked.

Then he hit my arm with his hand.

I looked at him for a second. “I love you too”, I told him.

“I’m close”, Hussein screams. “Ahhh I’m gonna cum”.

I open my eyes, stare at the wall in front of me as he grabs me by the shoulders, then close them again.

I feel something warm on my right cheek.

“Fuck…Fuck…”, he says, trying to catch his breath.

I put a smile on my face and turn around.

I kiss him, grab him by the hand and take him to bed.

We’re cuddling.

“That was good”, I say while stroking his hair. He looks up at me.

“You’re just sayin that because you have to”.

“What? No. I really enjoyed that”, I reply.

He stares into my eyes for two seconds, smiles, then goes back to laying his head on my chest. I continue playing with his hair.

“Sleep Hussein. It’s 4 in the morning. You have work tomorrow”

“And you?”, he asks. “What do you do?”

I hate it when they go there.

“Tonight? You”.

He doesn’t seem bothered that I didn’t answer his question. He’s sleepy anyway.

My mind is running. Like it always does when I’m in bed with someone other than my boyfriend.

Will I be like him when I’m 45? Will I do those kinds of hook ups? Will I be in a relationship by then?

I can’t sleep. I think about Joe. About what I’m doing to us. He would never understand it.

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Read Part 4 here.

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