Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘I Should Have Told Barbara

Introspection: Barbara (Addendum #1)

Barbara made me walk on air

Note: I have written most of the addendum of my autobiography at least six years earlier, as I was trying to learn more about my behaviors by re-creating my life story, during a somewhat depressed phase, after my return to Lebanon.  I have realized that the best refresher for memory is to recall your relationship with women.  It seems that the extreme mood swings of women leave strong marks on memory.  The resilient nature of women and their compassion, when in love, cannot but add clues to your emotional levels and the trajectory of improvement to understanding life’s complex fabrics. These addenda are sort of detailed introspection of the daily emotions.

I Should Have Told Barbara (Jan. 2003)

Sue insisted that I get in touch with her sister Barbara on my trip to Los Angeles. It was the  summer of 1976.

I was in the USA for less than 11 months, my first ever trip outside my country. The International Office at the University of Oklahoma arranged a trip for one week to California, for some of us new international students.

We were to meet American families in this exchange program.  I did not care meeting any American families for the time being, but I needed to get away in my second summer and wanted to see California.  I was 27 of age and had never tasted a cigarette yet.

The International student adviser knew about my Near Eastern origin. The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena. The husband was very helpful and friendly but his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program. The house was large with an unkempt garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, very gloomy, and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people. It is a crime to surprise youths with living among old people without prior preparations and warnings. We should be reminded that elder people are great people, still very much living humans, who could be funny, and could be functional…

We had a general gathering the first day with all the families and various students. Then we were given the daily program of places to see and whatever. We were to see Disney Land the next day for free.  I declined the invitation: Disney Land is for kids. I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later. I again declined. Disney was still just for kids.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my nephews. My little nephews and nieces, then 5 in total, loved Disney but less than I did.

My old host drove me for two hours to the meeting place with Barbara. He drove two hours to pick me up three hours later. I still can visualize Barbra after thirty years, coming toward me in white shirt, long brown skirt reaching a little below her knees, almost touching her long brown cowboy boots. Her boots must have added several inches to her stature.


Barbara is not tall, but the vision is always of a tall and grand lady. She appeared taller than me but my pride increased correspondingly, being by her side. Her maybe dyed long blond-brown hair was raised over her beautiful head. She was glamor incarnate.  She hugged me and made me feel I was a dear friend, of long time, whom she missed badly.

She spoke with effusion and earnestness. She wanted to know all that is to know, instantly, about how her sister is doing, what about her sister’s boyfriend who was my friend, about their relationship, about Oklahoma her home State, about everything but me.

I was glad that I was not the object of the conversation then, but not so glad now. We walked together so close, and I was walking on air.  I felt that I must look the most glamorous guy, a most glamorous guy in the whole wide world.

I asked permission from my host family to move at Barbara’s for the duration of the program and they agreed. I walked to Beverly Hills the next morning to see her in the fashion store she managed. She received me like a VIP and was happy at my surprised visit. I wanted to be with Barbara every second of my trip to California.

I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles a couple of years later, hoping to see Barbara again. It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it. My friends drove me through Beverly Hills where the rich and glamorous live, but I was not impressed. Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood. I called up Barbara and I invited myself to stay overnight at her apartment.  She had many friends.

She was attached at the moment to a fashionable young man, working in fashion and with fashion, but they had problems. She appeared depressed and disappointed and not in the mood for me. Her TV was on 24 hours.  I slept and woke up with the TV on.

I visited her six years later during my second extended trip to the USA: Barbara’s sister had told me that Barbara was married and living in Oklahoma City. She did not look the same Barbara. She was skinnier. Her skin looked darker, her face emaciated, down to earth, resigned and decked in simple blue jeans and an old black sweater.

Barbara was married to a full-blooded American Indian, she a half-blooded. A soft-spoken husband he was, a polite artist who toured the USA exhibiting his paintings. She stayed at home designing jewelry and managing her man’s business.

I had accepted her invitation for a Thanksgiving lunch. I went down to Oklahoma City for an important and specific purpose of mine: I was determined to tell Barbara my secret. I went down with my steady girl friend at the time:  I still had no car.

Barbara’s eyes had an ironic shine looking at my oriental short friend. She asked my friend all kinds of questions about our relationship, how we met and what are our plans. She said to me: “You know, someone needs news about your friend”. She meant that her sister needed to know the whereabouts of her ex-husband. I had lost track of the whereabouts of my friend too and could not be of much help.

Barbara was entitled to know the truth; that the first time she walked with me she made me feel that I was the most glamorous guy in town. But I did not tell Barbara the truth. I don’t recall that I talked during my two hours stay. Maybe it did not feel right at that moment. But I should have persevered on my initial decision: This truth is hers no matter what.

She could be sixty, but age does not erase the feeling, that to my young eyes, she was the most glamorous woman I set my eyes on. She could live to be a hundred, but age does not change the fact, that Barbara made me once walk on air.

Los Angeles (Continue 24)

I was in the USA for six months. In the summer of 1976, the International Office at the University arranged a trip, for one week to California, for some of us new international students. It was my first ever trip outside Oklahoma. We were to meet families in this exchange program.  I did not care meeting any American families for the time being, but I needed to get away in my first summer and wanted to see California.

The International student advisor knew about my origin. The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena. The husband was very helpful and friendly but his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program. The house was large with a relatively wild garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, and very gloomy and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people.  I think it is a crime to surprise youths with living among old people before thorough warnings, before proper preparations that elder people are great people, still very much living individuals who could be funny, and could be functional…

We had a general gathering the first day by the host coordinators with all the families and invited students to Los Angeles. Then we were given the daily program of places to see and whatever. We were to see Disney Land the next day for free.  I declined the invitation: Disney Land is for kids. I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later. I again declined. Disney was still just for kids. I regret that I didn’t share, even one day of the program, with the international students; at least I would have had a testimonial on the effectiveness of these programs for communicating with “Americans”.  I failed to participate in the program activities.  I got to be familiar with the neighborhood of West Hollywood and walked to Beverly Hills and wandered there for days, alone.  I wrote in length about this visit in my piece “I should have told Barbara”.


Seven years later, I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles hoping to see Barbara again. It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it. My friends drove me through Beverly Hills where the rich and glamorous live but I was not impressed. Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my relatives. My little nephews and nieces, 5 in total then, loved Disney but less than I did.

 

I Should Have Told Barbara (Jan. 2003)

The day before my trip to Los Angeles in the summer of 1976

A girl friend of a dear friend of mine asked me to get in touch with her sister Barbara.

I were in the USA since June of 1975, my first ever trip outside my country.

The International Office at the University arranged a group trip, 

For one week to California, for some of us new international students.

We were to meet families in this exchange program.  

I did not care meeting any American families for the time being,

But I needed to get away in my first summer and wanted to see California.

The International student advisor knew about my origin.

The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena, without warning me, 

At a time Israel was bombarding South Lebanon, every day, 

With the intention of emptying south Lebanon of its inhabitants.

They had a fourteen-year old boy and it didn’t cross my mind to ask if he was their grand son.

The husband was very helpful and friendly 

But his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program.

A student from Nigeria was assigned to the same family.

The house was large with a garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, gloomy,

Dark and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people.

The same evening they asked the Nigerian student a few questions

But I was spared this torture, may be because I didn’t look that forthcoming.

It is a crime to surprise youth among old people.

Youth has to be forewarned, to be prepared on what to expect from elder people.

Youth has to be reminded that elderly can be wonderful and much active,

That elder people are great people, still very much living humans, 

Who could be funny, charming and could be very functional…

We had a general gathering the first day with all the families and various students,

Then we were given the daily program of places to see and I barely paid attention to.

We were to see Disney Land the next day for free.  I declined the invitation:

Disney Land is for kids. 

I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later.

I again declined. Disney was still just for kids.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. 

I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my nephews.

My little nephews and nieces, five in total then, loved Disney but may be less than I did. 

My host drove me for an hour to the meeting place with Barbara.

He drove two hours to pick me up three hours later.

Youth: ruthless, mindless, uncompromising, and unappreciative.

I still can visualize Barbra after thirty years, coming toward me,

In white shirt, long brown skirt reaching below her knees,

Almost touching her long brown cowboy boots.

Her boots must have added several inches to her stature.

She is shorter than me in an after thought, 

But the vision is always of a tall and grand lady.

She appeared taller than me but my pride increased correspondingly, by her side.

Her then long blonde-brown hair was raised over her beautiful head.

She was glamour incarnate.  

She hugged me and made me feel I was a dear friend, of long time, whom she missed.

She spoke with effusion and earnestness.

She wanted to know all that is to know, instantly,

About how her sister is doing, what about her sister’s boyfriend who was my friend,

About their relationship, about Oklahoma her home State, 

About everything, but nothing about me, or so I feel.

I was glad that I was not the object of the conversation then,

But not so glad now.

We walked together so close, and I was walking on air.                  

I felt that I must look the most envied guy,

A most glamorous guy in the whole wide world.

I asked permission from my host family to move at Barbara’s,

For the duration of the program, and they agreed.

I walked to Beverly Hills the next morning to see her in the fashion store she managed.

She received me like a VIP and was happy at my surprised visit.

I wanted to be with Barbara every second of my trip to California.

I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles a couple of years later:

Hoping to see Barbara again.

It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it.

My friends drove me through Beverly Hills

Where the rich and glamorous live but I was not impressed.

Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood.

I called up Barbara and I invited myself to stay overnight at her apartment.

She had many friends.  

She was attached at the moment to a fashionable young man,

Working in fashion and with fashion, but they had problems.

She appeared depressed and disappointed and not in the mood for me.

Her TV was on 24 hours.  I slept and woke up with the TV on. 

I visited her six years later during my second extended trip to the USA:

Barbara’s sister had told me that Barbara was married and living in Oklahoma City.

I met Barbara and she did not look the Barbara of my vision.

Her skin looked darker, her face emaciated,

Down to earth, resigned and decked in simple blue jeans and an old black sweater.

She was married to a full-blooded American Indian, herself a half-blooded,

A soft spoken husband, a polite artist who toured the USA exhibiting his paintings.

She stayed at home designing jewelry and managing her man’s business.

I accepted her invitation for a Thanksgiving lunch.

I went down to Oklahoma City for an important and specific purpose of mine:

I was determined to tell Barbara my secret.

I went down with my steady girl friend at the time.

Barbara’s eyes had an ironic shine looking at my oriental short friend.

She asked my friend all kinds of questions about our relationship,

How we met and what are our plans.

She said to me: “You know someone needs news about your friend”.

She meant that her sister needed to know the whereabouts of her ex-husband.

I had lost track of the whereabouts of my friend too and could not be of much help.

Barbara was entitled to know the truth,

That the first time she walked with me,

She made me feel that I was the most glamorous guy in town.

But I did not tell Barbara the truth.  

I don’t recall that I talked during my two hours stay at Thanksgiving.

Maybe it did not feel right at that moment

But I should have persevered on my initial decision:

This truth is hers no matter what.

She could be eighty, but age does not erase the feeling,

That to my young eyes, 

She was the most glamorous woman I set my eyes on.

She could be a hundred, but age does not change the fact,

That Barbara made me once walk on air.

Table of contents

Short stories on women (started in 1998)

1.  Songs for women

2.  Raines’ my initiator   

3.  Twenty kitties around Josephine

4.  Decked in black

5.  You’re hungry, eh!?

6.  I could break your eyeglasses

7.  An inch taller than her country girls

8.  Chica Lupita

9.  I should have told Barbara

10. I’m in love with you kid

11. “Marie”, she said

12. What’s wrong with you men?

13. Smiling for three

14. Rachel’s sixth sense

15. Eve doesn’t mix sex with business

16. Taking a full bath is taboo for her


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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