Chapter 2: The Roommate
Comme si rien ne pouvait nous arriver
(As if nothing could happen to us)
Paradis - Garde le pour toi (Keep it to yourself)
I spent the next year in Lebanon trying but never having sex. Early November, I met a girl who I loved from the first sight. I felt so happy around her that one night after a party I dared — for the first time — to bring her home to my parent’s place. We cuddled and hugged, but we didn’t have sex.
“You take this girl out, right now,” my father said waking us up at 5 am.
I don’t blame my parents. Their house, their rules. But, my life, my rules. So, a week later, I moved out and shared a room with a girl called Marwa.
Four days later, we bought a bottle of cheap red wine and chatted till midnight. Tired, drunk and sleepy, we headed each to his bed, but something was bugging me.
“I have a problem,” I said.
“Yes?” Her voice pierced the darkness of the room, and I could almost feel her staring at me.
“I think I like you, but…” I paused and let silence breathe. “I mean… we’re roommates… and…”
“I like you too,” she interrupted me. “May I come over?”
“Yes,” I swallowed.
For a moment neither of us moved nor spoke. I noted she was much shorter than me.
“I don’t want to have sex now,” she said.
“Well, we don’t have condoms.”
“True,” she said hugging me, “but even if we had, I don’t want it now.”
“Why rush things?”
“Can I kiss you?” She asked.
Our lips touched, and we fell asleep.
Marwa loved reading. She introduced me to a book written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch called “The Venus in Fur.” It was after him that the word “Masochism” was coined. Think of this book as the opposite of “Fifty Shades of Grey” meaning that the woman controls the man. The concept is odd, and almost outrageous in a patriarchal society.
We had sex, but we preferred games of dominance because we needed a sense of control. See, both Marwa and I were in tough parts of our lives. We both moved out of our parent’s house in a country where the norm is to live with one’s parents until one’s marriage. Her Muslim father and her Christian mother were divorced. She was a university student but she had to work two jobs to pay the bills. And, she recently broke up with her boyfriend. I had on my record five failed startups. I just quit entrepreneurship and started freelancing as a software engineer. I never found love and I had been constantly rejected at parties. It seems that the harder life fucks you, the rougher you get in the bedroom.
“I have feelings towards you,” she told me at the end of the first month.
I gave her the truth. “I’m afraid I don’t. But, if this is going to cause drama between us, we better stop.”
“No, we’ll be alright,” she said hugging me.
The roles we played in the bedroom were not set in stone. I often took charge after I had a couple of drinks. I’d awaken the beast in me, and I’d fuck her ruthlessly. But, when I was sober, I let her take charge. She once told me, “When you get home, take off your clothes, get on knees, and wait for me.”
Five minutes passed, but she didn’t come. I found out she had fallen asleep in the bed. I spanked her, and when she woke up, I gave her another fifty spanks.
The next day, she made sure not to fall asleep, and this time, I was the one spanked. We did blindfold and tie each other up, but with time, we stirred up the game. I once filled the bathtub with water, forced her head under the water until she ran out of breath.
But, the weirdest thing she did to me was when she brought a bottle of vaseline and said, “Lay on the bed and relax. I’m going to put my finger inside of you.”
“What the fuck is this shit?” I said in panic.
“Just relax, Jesus! It won’t hurt. Trust me?”
I was curious enough to give in, but the feeling was unpleasant and painful. Seconds later I shouted, “Take it out!”.
By New Year’s, we had more drama and arguments than enjoyable physical play. I always came from masturbation, never from sex, her hands or her mouth. I lost interest in her, and I decided to distract myself with Tinder. Lebanon is such a small country that I had mutual Facebook friends with many of the Tinder girls. So, I gamed the system by finding and adding them on Facebook. Theoretically, if a girl accepts my friend request, it is as if she swiped me right, correct? In reality, most girls who became ‘friends’ never replied to my messages.
On Saturday, January 10th, 2015, I ‘Facebook matched’ with an Armenian girl. We went clubbing in the evening, and we danced until we crashed on a couch, and I told her, “We have three options: we can talk and destroy our lungs. We can get back to dancing. Or… I don’t live with my parents.”
“Which one do you want?” she asked.
“I’m sure you know that I want option three.”
“Let’s do it.”
I shivered. Was this going to be my first one night stand?
I messaged Marwa, “Don’t come home!”
She called me, “Are you with someone?”
“Yes,” I answered.
I cared about Marwa even though we never officially dated. My feelings towards her blocked me when I was with the Armenian. So, I let her dictate to me which of her clothes I was allowed to take off. Her blowjob was excellent compared to Marwa’s. Humans choose by comparison, always.
For some reason, Marwa had thrown all the condoms away, but the Armenian said, “We don’t need one. I recently checked myself.”
What did she check herself for? Is that something people do? Why? Does that mean she already had unprotected sex before? But, I was too horny or rather too emotional to think rationally.
She rode me well, very well. She wanted me to bite her nipples, but I sucked them.
“Harder!” she commanded. “Yes! Finally!” She gasped.
At that moment, Marwa unlocked the front door and stormed in the room. She was holding a half empty bottle of whiskey, and she couldn’t walk straight, giving the Armenian and I enough time to hide under the blanket.
“Oh… hello!” Marwa stammered. “I am looking for a book,” she said searching in a pile on her bed. “Where is it… where is it! I can’t find it! Pi… I can’t find it!”
I felt the sorrow hanging in the middle of my belly.
“Where is Nietzsche!” She said, “Oh man, Nietzsche and a good glass of Whiskey… excellent!”
I cleared my throat, “Who did you come with?”
“Some friends who are downstairs,” she said pointing at the window, “I need to find that book. Piii! Ah, yes! This one! Oh no, that’s Sartre. A good one, though, but no, no, I want Nietzsche.”
“Yo!” I yelled, but my voice trembled.
“Yes?” she looked at me.
“Turn around,” I said gesturing with my hand, “and leave!”
Did I have the right to kick her out of her room? Why was I harsh? Was I feeling embarrassed? Did I love her? Why did my heart bleed when I kicked her out? Marwa turned around and left, slamming the door behind her, leaving us in an awkward silence.
“This…” I said vaguely pointing at the door, “this was my roommate.”
“Are you okay?” The Armenian asked me.
“I’m… I’ll be fine. Let’s just continue.”
“You can cum inside of me,” she said when I am close to finish.
I froze and took my dick out. “I’d rather no.”
“Cum on my boobs, then.”
I had my happy ending, but there was nothing happy about it. I couldn’t take Marwa out of my mind, and I felt bad for the way I treated her.
The next morning.
“You didn’t use a condom?!” Marwa said.
“I couldn’t find any because someone threw them away.”
“Ah… Yeah… But, anyway, you need to test yourself!”
“What? Why? I’m fine now!”
“Don’t be an idiot. HIV could take years to manifest itself.”
“Fine!” I sighed, “Where the fuck do I do those tests?”
“There’s a center called Marsa. I’ll make an appointment for you.”
What’s an STD? Is it such a big deal? I heard about HIV when I was a kid, but I never realized how bad it was until I had to deal with the idea that I might have caught it. I realized that my school, church, and family never taught me about sexual health. I was ignorant about a serious matter. But, I could not talk about it to anyone because it was taboo to discuss sex in our society.
A week later, I went alone to the center. Never have I felt so consumed with fear. I was moments away from potentially hearing that my life was going to change forever. That I had caught a deadly disease and that my days were counted. How ironic is it when existential questions storm the mind in a medical waiting room.
After waiting thirty painful minutes, a young man in the nearby room summoned me.
“Hello! My name is Johnny,” he said shaking my hand. “I want you to know that everything here remains anonymous.”
“Cool,” I answered. Why is anonymity a big deal? Is the truth that scary? Should I be ashamed of myself? Is the taboos more dangerous than diseases?
“Tell me what happened.”
“I… I was having a hard time with this… close friend of mine, and then I met a girl online with whom I had unprotected sex. I didn’t think. I was just, too…”
“Sometimes, when under great emotional pain, we risk doing things we regret later on.”
He took blood samples and asked me to wait outside. Armed with whatever bits of patience I could muster, I went back to the main hall.
“Come in,” he called five minutes later.
Every step I took was heavy, and I felt that behind this door, the angel of death awaited me. What would I tell my parents? How would they react?
“The test is negative,” Johny said.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I said, shaking.
“It means you are safe,” he smiled.
I wanted to jump in the air. I wanted to scream and run down the streets and shake everyone and share with them the good news that I was clean. But, I could not, and I only told Marwa. No one else knew. It was my little dark secret.
My family & friends will discover this when they’ll read this book.