Sunday morning I woke up next to the boy of my dreams, like every morning for the past year and a half. I kissed him good morning and reality set in that we agreed to go for brunch with a good friend and her mother who was in town from Brussels. We took our showers, got dressed, fixed the bed, and I asked him which shoes look better; red high-top converse, grey Adidas, or my nice black leather shoes. My outfit that day was versatile. He rightly pointed to the nice black leather shoes and we made our way out of the door. We walked, hand in hand to the bus stop, arguing over something silly, and waited for the bus.
We arrived to our destination a whole fifteen minutes early, a feat for living in a vast city like London. Although we arrived early, the line up to get into the restaurant went right to the corner. Impatiently we waited while we got news that our friend and her mother would be late. We waited patiently and moved up very slowly. Another couple joined us in the back of the line, amused by the 10:00am crowd on a Sunday. The woman, an impatient Eastern European blonde hiding under a floppy purple hat and sunglasses was trying to persuade her husband to go to the restaurant at the other corner, while he grumpily refused and stared in disbelief at the crowd of people inside.
The couple in front of us argued about the price of some commodity, while their son complained of hunger and boredom. Karim, my partner, asked if we argued like that. I responded with a quiet yes and we smiled at each other, reminiscing over the political debate we had on our Valentine’s day dinner in Lille, France.
The next thing we knew, we were at the front of the line, while others had filled the gap from our position to the corner. Across the street came our friend Natacha and her mom who greeted us with smiles. Shortly thereafter, we were ushered into the small Australian Cuisine restaurant. It was lightly decorated in whites and pale yellows. We ordered our food and had a pleasant meal, overeating only slightly.
After paying the bill and saying goodbye, Karim and I went for a walk around Portobello Market, looking at old maps, antique furnishings, and swerving through the crowds. Finally we decided to take the bus home, where we spent the rest of the day on the couch, watching movies, and taking naps.
Later that evening, my mom called me with some bad news. A friend’s mother had passed away in Montreal. Saddened and shocked by the news, I managed to get in touch with my friend, and gave my condolences. Karim sat puzzled, wondering what happened and why I was so frazzled after such a relaxing afternoon and early evening. I told him how I’ve known this girl since I was 16, and had remained friends with her since, how her mother had become friends with my mother. How my friend is about 7months pregnant, and just moved back in with her husband to her mother’s house a week ago to help her while she underwent chemotherapy. Karim held me close as the shock of the news settled.
As my mind started to calm down, we made our way to bed, turning off the lights behind us. We crawled under the sheets and I kissed him goodnight and we closed our eyes and fell asleep.
Every day that I am with Karim, talk about him, or mention him in passing, are days that I influence someone’s perceptions, not only of myself or our relationship, but the perceptions of what it means to be gay, arab, and in a relationship. We may not frequent pride, or the village, but we make our statement in other ways and celebrate our diversity just the same; by showing people that we are the same… only different.