Minus One (part 7 of 7)

CONTINUED FROM PART 6

“Is this real? Is this really happening”, she cries on my shoulder.

“I am so sorry hayete…I am so sorry…”, I tell her. “Sit down hayete. Sit down. Let me get you a glass of water”.

She looks like she’s been crying forever. I help her sit on her bed and go to the kitchen to get the water. When I come back she’s changed her place. She’s now sitting on Fadi’s bed.

“Nadine…drink this hayete”.

“I don’t want to. How can I drink or eat when he’s not around?? Ma fiyye, Jad”.

“You must be thirsty from all the crying. Yalla, please hayete”.

She gives in and lets me hold the cup to her mouth while she sips. Her tears subside and she’s not gasping for breath anymore.

I brush back the strand of hair that’s fallen to the front of her face. “There…all better”.

I donno what to say to her. Anybody who’s been in my shoes right now knows you really can’t say anything to make a person feel better about losing someone.

“I came over as soon as I heard. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now…”, I tell her.

“Thank you for coming. I need you here, Jad”.

“And I’m here for you…I’m here, habibe”.

“How did you…find out…”

“Akh…last night at around 7 pm. We got a call from the school saying they found him on the…”. Her eyes start to tear up. “On the rooftop and…”

I grab her hand and caress it. “It’s okay…”, I tell her.

She continues to talk. “Dad had to go identify his body cause…he was so mutilated he was…unrecognizable”.

“God…”

“I still don’t believe it…Who would do such a thing?”, she looks in my eyes.

“Whoever it is…they won’t get away with it. I promise you. Alright?”, I reassure her.

“Akh…I just want my brother back. You know we were supposed to go to Batroon this Saturday? I promised him we would take the bus and go there”, she says.

“Oh, really? In this rainy weather?”, I ask her.

Her eyes wander off and she sighs. “He actually wanted it to be rainy. He said it reminded him of a special day he had with someone. He said he…”.

Then she stops and looks at me. “Listen Jad. I want to tell you something. My brother was …umm…gay. I just never told you because… well…it wasn’t an issue with me and I didn’t think it should be an issue with you either”.

“No…umm..of course not”.

I’m so shocked she’s bringing this up right now. I feel very uneasy.

“And I knew how you felt about him anyway. That’s all that mattered”, she says.

“What do you mean?”, I ask her.

“I know what you used to do to protect him. He used to tell me how you defended him from the bullies in class. He admired that about you”, she continues.

I smile uncomfortably.

“So thank you, Jad. Thanks for being kind to my brother”.

I nod at her. “It was nothing…”. I can’t look her in the eyes.

“My brother was gay. I accepted it. Others didn’t. The whole school didn’t. So when he told me he finally found someone…a boy…that he liked…I was so thrilled for him. I wanted him to tell me everything about it…but haram he was so reluctant at first. So shy.”

“Oh…so do you know who the guy is?”

“No, he wouldn’t tell me. All I know is that he had this great date with a boy in Batroon and then they head to the Phoenician Wall and sit on it. Out of all places, right? Then it starts to rain. And they have no umbrella…nothing. But they just sit there under the rain. It really didn’t matter they were soaking wet. He was so happy that at that moment, the world wasn’t looking and it was just the two of them. That’s when the guy touches his hand and then kisses him. ”

“I see…well that’s something, Nadine”.

“Yeah…I just wish I was more there for him, especially in his last days, you know?”

“Why? Was something wrong?”

“Well, the guy couldn’t accept that he could develop feelings for a boy. He had a girlfriend and he told Fadi to back off because he would never leave her”.

“Oh…”

“I just wish I did something to…”

“You couldn’t have done anything… It is what it is…You can’t control everything”.

“Yeah…I guess not. Thank you for listening. I love you”.

“I love you too”.

I kiss her on the cheek and hug her.

Someone knocks on the door and walks in. It’s her aunt. “Nadine, habibte, I’m gonna make you a sandwich so you eat, okay?”

“No I really don’t want to khalto”, she responds.

“You have to eat ya habibte. You can’t do this to yourself.”

Her aunt comes and taps on my shoulders. “Bravo Jad. Listen to Jad, habibte. You have to eat. I’ll be right back”.

Her aunt walks out and closes the door.

“Tayyib habibe, listen, I’m gonna go now…”, I tell Nadine.

“Nooo..stay…it’s okay, stay”.

“Don’t worry, I’ll come back later in the afternoon. I promise”.

“Tayib…please come, okay?”

“I will”.

I give her a big hug and kiss her on the cheek.

I stand up to leave and head to the door. Then I hear her say:
“You think he’ll show up?”

“What?”

“At the funeral. You think he’ll…”

“Oh, you mean…”

“Yes…the boy. You think he’ll show up?”

“If he loved your brother, then I’m sure he’ll be there”.

“That’s what I’d like to think, too. It would make my brother happy. And what about you?”

“Of course, I did. Will… Of course, I will”.

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Thanks for reading…You rock!
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Click HERE to go back to PART 1

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Minus One (part 6 of 7)

CONTINUED FROM PART 5

“Alo.”
“Hi. Jad is that you?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
“Man, it’s Joseph. Listen I just read some news. It’s all over Facebook. They found Fadi”.
“And?”
“Man…Fadi’s dead!”
“What? What do you mean dead?”
“Somebody killed him. Killed him in school! They found his body somewhere. Isn’t that just…”
“Yeah, that’s awful. Shit…he’s dead?! So you think there won’t be any school tomorrow?”

It might seem like all I care about is not going to school, but I actually have to be there. I don’t want people to suspect anything by me not showing up.

The next morning…

It’s beautiful chaos.

Police cars. Security. Barricades at the entrance of the school. No one could get in. Teachers, students and parents who just heard the news are all hovering outside. Some of them are crying. Others just have their mouths open in shock.

It’s the weirdest thing. There wasn’t a student from my class that didn’t bully Fadi. I mean, not all of them hit or punched him. But everyone had called him a name at some point. Remember Nadim? He comes up to me at one point with tears in his eyes saying: “Haram ya zalame…”. The guy always mocked Fadi for being a girl! Fuckin hypocrite. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a dick lover himself to be honest.

And Miss Sara…she never did anything to protect Fadia from being harassed by us. And why would she? He’s a homo. He deserves it! So why spill your worthless tears all over your corrected biology exam papers? Kess ekhtik. I hate two faced people.

Whether they’re shocked or upset, though, I’m sure all of them are afraid. How could this happen in this school? Who could murder a student during recess? Is it a teacher? Is it a student? More importantly…is the killer right here among us? Ummm…look at yourselves! You all did this. You all wanted him dead. I just had the balls to do it.

Usually, people would be thrilled to have a day off from school but surprisingly…these bitches are sad. What a weird scene I’m witnessing indeed.

Anyway, enough with this shit. I have somewhere else to be.

After 25 minutes of a bumpy Lebanese bus ride, I reach my destination. I see white ribbons hanging in the neighborhood. It’s a Lebanese thing. They hang those white ribbons around the building when someone young dies.

I start walking up the stairs to the 5th floor. I don’t usually take the stairs, but I need a couple of minutes to compose myself. Even I have to admit, this is gonna be a tough one.

I reach the floor and the door’s already open with a few people standing in the hallway. I enter the house and start offering my condolences: “El 3awad bi salemetkon”. They barely take me seriously cause I’m wearing my school uniform. After I shake hands with a couple of people in the hallway, I enter the salon and…she sees me.

“Habibi Jad! Come here Jad!”, she screams from her seat. She’s a wreck. She’s crying.

I walk up to her and hug her. “El 3awad bi salemtik tante…”

“They took him from me ya Jad. They took him. Can you believe what happened?! Ya haram. Ya habibi ya Fadi”, she screams her lungs out, as she slaps her face and hits her legs with her hands. She’s a mother in mourning. I feel sorry for her.

I donno what to say to her except offer my condolences once again. “El 3awad bi salemtik tante. Allah yer7amo”.

Her relatives sitting next to her try to calm her down and I step back to get out of the living room.

I walk over to Fadi’s room. I know I’ll find her there.

His room door is closed.

I take a deep breath…and knock.

No answer.

I knock again.

Still no answer. I can hear someone crying inside the room.

“It’s me habibte…”, I say softly from behind the door.

“Jadddd!”, I hear a scream from the inside.

I can hear her running towards the door. She opens it and there she is, standing in her pyjamas with her eyes swollen.

She sees me and starts crying. I hug her and say:

“Nadine…I’m so sorry for your loss”.

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Read Part 7 HERE
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Image by deviant artist: Marialittle

Minus One (part 5 of 7)

CONTINUED FROM PART 4

“Fadi’s not here…did anybody see him during recess?”

The whole class looked at his seat. No one had noticed he was absent until Miss Sara asked them. A collective “no” was sounded.

Joseph whispers to me. “Probably fixing his make up in the bathroom”.

“Probably”, I reply casually.

Miss Sara continues to explain the lesson, but after 15 minutes of no Fadi, she gets out for a second to inform the courtyard monitor of the situation. He enters our class and asks all of us if we had seen him, and again…everyone says no. Now I knew the kid was invisible but damn!! Poor thing.

Two more classes later, there was still no sign of Fadi and everyone is anxious to leave! No one cares if they find Fadi or not. The only reason they are irritated by his absence is because there’s no one else to bully and joke about! The bell rings! Finally…this day is over and done with.

As I get out of school, I overhear two teachers talking to each other:
“I heard one of the students last saw Fadi as he was going up the stairs…”
“Maybe he ran out of school…but his backpack’s still in his class…”

If they only knew he was rotting under the sun as they spoke. Wahad loute bel na2is…

I head home to empty the backpack and get rid of everything. Then I take a nice hot shower and sleep.

Next thing I know it’s 8 pm and a sound of an angry man wakes me up.

Who else would it be? M3allem Sameer just came back from work and he wants to shower.

“Why is there no hot water?”, I hear him screaming in the kitchen.

“Sameer, Jad just showered”, my mom replies.

He barges into my room. He doesn’t care that I was sleeping. “Why did you finish the water? Why do you shower like girls, Jad?”.

“Sorry dad, I didn’t realize…”.

“Sorry?? Now I have to wait another 4 hours to shower. Kess ekht hal 3eeshe bi ayre”, he shouts, slamming the door on his way out.

I stay in bed for like half an hour waiting for him to cool down then go sit at the dinner table. I’m starving.

Mom comes and kisses me on the cheek. “Baddak tabboule habibe?”, she asks.

“Eh mama”, I reply. Mom’s the only person I care about in this world, period. To hell with everyone else.

She sits down and it’s the three of us. Mom, dad, and myself.

“Jessy passed by my work today with Mario. Dakhilo hal zaghtoor byettekal”, mom said.

She’s talking about Jessy , my older, and only, sister.

“Here’s to seeing you get married and have children of your own habibi. 3a2bel manshufak 3arees ya mama”, she continues.

“Nshalla ya mama”, I smile at her.

Then dad speaks.“Let’s hope. After all, it’s men who keep the family name alive, don’t they Jad?”

“Akid, baba”, I say, staring at my plate.

Then out of nowhere, dad almost falls out of his seat yelling: “Turn it up! Turn it up!”

Of course he’s talking about the TV. I grab the remote and unmute it. It’s time for that Lebanese comedy show dad likes. Time for Majdi w Wajdi, two feminine Lebanese faggots who act and talk like women! Dad laughs at them so hard whenever they’re on.

Tonight’s sketch shows them singing a Nancy Ajram song in a karaoke. They’re being girly, “oooing” and “aaaaing” over some guy. Then when they leave the karaoke place, they take the “biiiig” microphone with them! All they care about is sex. Fuck, they make me sick.

The sketch finishes and my dad has this disgusted look on his face: “Tfeh…Shi bi2arrif walla”.

Then he looks at my mom and says: “You think there aren’t people like this? They’re all over the place!”

My mom responds. “Ya haram. I pity their parents. How can they live under the same roof with a son like that?”

“All I know is… if my son was like that, I would kill him with my own hands”, says dad.

He really knows all the nice things to say at the dinner table.

The house phone rings and I think to myself: ‘There IS a God’.

“I’ll get it!”, I storm out of that table and answer the phone.

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Read Part 6 HERE
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Image by Deviant Artist: Prashanna

Minus One (part 1 of 7)

No one knew the answer.

I’m looking around left and right, and no one knew the answer.

Bunch of useless idiots.

“Ovulation”, I say, softly. I didn’t want the whole class to hear.

But of course, Miss Sara had to say her favorite line in the whole world. “Sit up straight, and raise your voice”.

“Ovulation”, I say loudly and reluctantly.

“Correct. Bravo Jad”. She smiles at me then starts explaining to the rest of the idiots. “Ovulation is the process that occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle”. She’s explaining something we already learned about 3 years ago, in the 7th grade.

Joseph leans towards me and whispers: “I always knew you had a pussy”.

“Yeah. A big p-p-p-ussy”, I snap back at him. The boy’s a stutterer. No wonder he doesn’t get any p-p-p-pussy. He takes that smirk out of his face, looks at me like I ran over his dog, and leans away.

Then Miss Sara announces: “Alright, class. It’s time for the monthly group project”.

I can’t believe she’s doing this in the last 5 minutes of the last class of the day. It’s 2:40 pm and I wanna go home!

“I want each group to be a pair: one boy and one girl. You have 5 minutes to choose a partner and you can head home!”.

One of the boys, Nadim, raises his hand. “I know which girl I want to team up with! I choose Fadi.”.

The whole class bursts out laughing, except me. I turn my head to see Fadi’s reaction. He gets picked on everyday. His face is down and he’s looking at his desk. He’s not sad. He’s not pissed. He’s used to it.

Miss Sara , along with the other teachers in this school, is used to the gay insults Fadi gets. She doesn’t scold Nadim. She just pretends no one heard it.

Fadi gets out of his seat, takes his backpack and heads to the door.

“La7za Fadi, you still didn’t pick anyone”, says Miss Sara.

“Can I please do it like last time? I’ll work alone”, answers Fadi.

She has this sorry look on her face. “Okay, you may be excused”.

“Thank you”. He opens the door and leaves.

I pack up my stuff and walk over to Miss Sara’s desk. “Miss, can I go now?”

“Do you have a group team mate?”.

“Uhhh, yes. I’ve teamed up with Joseph”. Right…

“You may be excused”.

I get out of class and notice that Fadi’s going to the bathroom. I wait like a minute then I follow him there.

I enter the bathroom and I see him just standing there looking at the mirror.

“What are you doing here?”, he asks me.

“Just checking up on my favorite foufou in the whole school”, I say.

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READ PART 2 HERE

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Image by Deviant Artist: memori3s