Nine Bottles of Alcohol

I get a phone call from Carl, my European friend who left the country earlier last year. He is back in town for only three days to send his furniture back to his home country after he figured out that Syria is going to become a war zone in the near future.
We meet in a nice cafe in the Shallan area. I feel insecure there; my crazy ex has been running town trying to find me after I changed my phone number and he is known to like this area a lot. However, the nice Mexican beer I had with my friend, and the very clean bathroom in the cafe, helped me chill and relax.

“I will miss Damascus,” Carl tells me, I can see that he really enjoys the oriental feel to the city, the hobble bubble and the broken Arabic words he knows. I see a sad look in his eyes. He came looking for a new adventure that was cut short. “I’m sending my furniture on land, but I’m travelling back to Europe tonight.” I smile and comment that his furniture then will visit all the hot spots in Syria that he himself won’t be able to visit. “You’ll be sitting on a chair with a bullet hole in it,” I jokingly tell him, “and you’ll tell your grandchildren how this chair survived a revolution.”

He brought me nine bottles of alcohol with him. “I won’t be sending them home,” he told me as he presents them to me, “and it would be such a waste not to use them, right?”

I look at the nine bottles; they all seem so inviting, so beautiful, so fitting for both the personal and emotional status I’m in at the moment. I accept them gladly.


Bottle of Gin #1
I come back home after a long night playing cards with friends. My roommate was with me most of the night; but he left early to “clean up the house” as he claims. I knock on the door and he opens it.
He doesn’t want me to look at his face; I know he was crying. Then, suddenly I notice that he is actually wearing a heavy sweater but no pants on.
On the table; the gin bottle that I left full is now missing almost 80% of its alcohol. There is juice spilled on the floor; over 20 cigarettes are smoked in less than an hour, and he is walking funny back to his room. I know he was drunk.
I try talking to him but he collapses on his bed and break into tears. “What’s the matter?” I ask him repeatedly, “why did you do this to yourself.”

He refuses to answer; he continues on crying. Then suddenly looks at me. “You are a dog; a filthy ugly dog,” he says to me, and I knew that he is not seeing me anymore. He is rather seeing Haythem.

Haythem is the guy he loves; they met in a party; he loved him on first sight but Haythem didn’t feel the same way; he only found the whole situation to be amusing and ego busting. My roommate was heartbroken one too many times and found solace in my bottle of gin.

“I love you, you motherfucking son of a bitch,” he tells me and start to push me away from him, “why did you take me home with you if you don’t feel the same way? Why would you let me move from my city to here if you don’t want me. I hate you.” Then he can see clearly for a second, and he figures that it’s me in the room. “Get the hell out,” he curse at me, “I’m a strong man! I don’t want anyone to see me in this moment of weakness!”

The whole fit lasted for an hour and then he fall asleep. As I reach my room, tired and sad, I pick up my phone and call Haythem, I tell him of what happens. “But I don’t want him, Sama,” he tells me, “I’m interested in you, baby.”
That was the moment the major crush I had on Haythem disappeared.

Bottle of Jack Daniels Whisky
I pour myself a glass of Jack Daniels and I sit home; alone. I look around me and I see the bags of grocery I bought earlier today. I waited in line for three hours to get some bread and the gas bottle in my house is almost empty. I know I’ll pay triple its price to buy a new one now.
I pick myself up; pick the new Spanish movie “The Skin I Live In” that I bought earlier from an illegal DVD shop and while I’m about to insert it in the DVD player. Power goes off.
“Shit!” I say it as I try not to hit the table in the darkness. I reach my lighter and I lit a candle and a cigarette.

The sounds of power generators starts to fill the air. I’m sitting in the dark with my Jack Daniels and my thoughts. Suddenly, I hear gunshots in the air.
Who is shooting who? Why? Who died? A man!? A woman? A child…?

I pour myself another glass of Jack Daniels.

Bottle of Gin #2
Four gay guys and two lesbian women are in my living room. I’m preparing drinks for everyone. Bassem, who is giving me glances every now and again after I rejected his offer to be in a relationship the night before is not speaking much. Next to him is Wassim, whose face is getting redish the more he drinks. Wassim and I had a fling once back in the Summer but lost touch after. I didn’t seem too happy to know that Bassem and Wassim are best friends.

We were playing Truth or Dare and one of the guys asked one of the girls about self acceptance. “Do I accept myself?” She wonders, “I don’t think any of us in this room accept themselves fully. I feel like we’re all trying to play the cool part but deep inside we have so many insecurities.”
I agreed to her point of view, but couldn’t help but adding that “I feel that I accept myself and part of that is to accept my failings”. Bassim decided to suddenly explode. “Of course, you’re mighty Sama, you’re perfect Sama,” he says, loudly, “you are loved by everyone but can’t love anyone. You’ll wait for the best. Well, maybe you’ll wait forever.”

I look at him with astonished eyes, not totally sure where that came from. Everyone takes a moment of silence. Then Bassim excuses himself and leaves.

Drunken Wassim slept in my bed that night and I fucked him. I was angry, I was furious. I wanted to do anything to forget what Bassim said. My biggest fear of them all. Ending up old and alone. No one to love or be with. Deprived from any human connection. When I’m done, Wassim was kissing my chest, he was breathless when he told me that this was the roughest fuck in his life. On the other hand, I felt empty inside.

Bottle of Vodka
I take another shot from that smooth Russian vodka, which I honestly cannot pronounce its name, while I’m sitting with Jo, my best friend. We’re talking about my latest post on this blog. “You know what’s your problem, Sama?” She asks me, and of course, I list all the things I consider to be my problems, waiting for her to add yet another item to the list.
“Your problem is that you don’t really know how to handle life itself.” She explains, “you know the books, the logic, you read the novels, you watched the movies. So, you think life can easily be turned into one of these realities”
I tell her that I honestly believe that I’m living my own version of Jim Carrey’s Truman Show. “Some director is sitting high above and wants the viewers to be entertained, he pushes life in all directions for me; put all these people in my way and consider it totally fine to see me confused and unsure about anything. Yet I keep trying every time to get it right!”

She smiles and tells me to go find me someone who is not stained with a homophobic society, religious fathers, blood-lust cities, somewhere far away from Syria. I smile. “Here in Syria,”she says while preparing another shot for us, “you fell in their opinion when you fell in love with them.”
I look her in the eye, while taking the vodka shot from her and say that “deep inside, I have so much love to give, I just don’t know what to do with it.
Bottle of Fine Red Wine
We’re laughing as we work on opening the bottle of red wine together. His name is Alaa and this is the second time I meet him. He tells me that he is into me. I tell him that I like him too.
We lay on the sofa; watching Tim Burton’s Big Fish (maybe for the hundredth time in my life).
I pour some red wine for him and he lit two cigarettes for the both of us. I start the movie while he slide the cover over his slim body. I see his beautiful eyes; his amazing smile and that puppy eye looks he masters fully. I smile and slide next to him under the cover.
We taste the subtle taste of wine; enjoying the lovely mixture of soar and bitter in it. I feel its aftertaste growing slowly in my mouth. I turn around and catch his redish lips with mine: they taste like wine. I ignore the movie; pull him underneath my body; pushing his head to the side and catching his ear with my lips; he moans.

I carry him; so soft, so light. I take him to the bed; pull of his shirt and he pulls off mine. I tell him that I need a man that belongs to me, that he considers himself mine and I’m equally his. I tell him that I want him right there and then.

After all is said and done; we lay, breathing heavily in the dark, I smile to him and tell him that it was one hell of an amazing night. He smiles and kisses my forehead softly.

I ask him what he is doing on Valentine’s day and he tells me that he can’t see me that day. “I’m preparing something special for my boyfriend that night,” he says, keeping the puppy eye looks on his face; I reply with a long Okay!

To be continued


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