Helen Keller said that the most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or touched; they must be felt with the heart. My Forrest Gump flew cross Atlantic leaving Uncle Sam, and like a stray cat, found a nook in my busy life in Cairo. His raw untamed nature startled me; his strong southern accent, outdated hair-cut, rough uneven nails, timeless shoes, and colorful shirts repelled part of me, yet attracted another. Wearing D&G as it were Old Spice, eating rice with a spoon, cutting veal with the fork, walking like a soldier, and cheekily glancing at my curves with the eyes of a curious teenage boy made me realize that he has had a rough ride to wealth and success.
His spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and sentence blunders put a question mark after his education, upbringing, and background. My Forrest Gump missed out on all my witty comments and sarcastic remarks; I had to stick to the basics and I kept it short and simple. He resisted opening up at first but I comforted him into sharing by talking a bit about myself. I did not want to know the man he is now; with the big company car, company apartment, and expatriate package. I wanted to meet the kid, the teenager, and the young man he left back home many years ago. My 40 year old Forrest talked about poverty, neediness, and suffering. I saw a strong-willed man driven by admirable ambition; with basic education, minimal reading, primitive brains, and slower than usual understanding, Forrest Gump turned everything he touched into gold.
He talked about his achievements with a lot of passion and I fully understood where that came from. There was a very familiar pitch of pride in his tone and I knew exactly how he felt. I was moved by his untainted nature; I am allergic to fakeness. Were they in his shoes, a lot of Egyptian, or non-Egyptian, men will buy "social polish" with their money. I met many men here who learned how to talk smart, dress well, and walk with their heads stuck up high, covering up their modest upbringing. Designer clothes will fit anyone who has the money and expensive watches will never fall off the thick wrist of a social climber. My Forrest Gump did not buy himself new table manners, grooming habits, or en vogue wardrobe.
Like Forrest Gump, he had lovely blue eyes and an unsuspecting smile; he was muscular and hard in all the right places (no pun intended). I saw a lot of beauty in this simpleton and being the dreamer that I am, I wanted him to be as wise, as kind, and as innocent as the 1994 Forrest Gump version. I should have known better! Didn't my grandma tell me that looks can be misleading and that outer beauty does not have to mirror inner beauty? Didn't I fall in that trap before? I never thought that after three dates, he will star in my coming article! He triggered fear – a feeling that I locked up deep down in my heart! Something about him scared me.
His vibes were rough and his hands held mine firmly stopping the flow of air inside my lungs. His eyes were not sincere, his stories were always incomplete, and the numbers did not add up; married at 19, had a daughter at 17, she is now 24, married again at 37, his daughter is 8, got divorced 8 years ago, the girl was 2 years old, and now he is 40! He talked a lot about oil massages and "doing it", and he did not seem to understand anything I said about time, bonding, mental connection, and emotional spark. In another attempt to curb the horny toad between his legs, I told him that I am stubborn and that "no" is my natural response to any request. I clearly explained that I like to hunt and that I am not looking for a one night stand or a physical adventure.
Forrest Gump 2006 had the memory of a fish and the IQ of a sparrow; he could not pronounce my two syllable Egyptian name, forgot half of the things he told me and all the things I told him, and asked me the same questions at least five times on our three dates. I was faced with two questions more often; first was why I liked him and second was why I was comfortable with him. Looking back at the whole picture now, my answer should have been "I have no clue"! I neither liked him nor disliked him; he did not give me tangible reasons for either. All I had to hold on to were his vibes and my gut feeling. As usual, my mind rejected him, my body lusted after him, but my heart feared him. He lost!
So after two horrible hours of sitting there holding on to the pipe of my shisha, all I could think of was my long forgotten pair of running shoes; I put them aside on 22 May 2000 and I decided to be the hunter from that day onwards. There were the times when I enjoyed the chase itself, other times I could not wait to devour the catch, and sometimes I got distracted from the hunt by a juicier prey. I was always the smooth type; soothing the victim into submission by an ounce of teasing and a doze of well-seasoned flirting. My Forrest Gump evoked my instinctive need to run; I felt threatened and his attitude intimidated the little girl in me. Sensory images of a poor bunny running for his life in the wilderness raced into my head; his panting breath, pounding heart, teary eyes, wide-open nostrils, and skyrocketing fight fright flight hormones.
Gump looked at me all of a sudden and said that he was not a freak! My heart skipped a beat! I looked at my drunken partner with wide perplexed eyes as he told me … again and again … that I have killer eyes and a killer smile. My mind went blank as he turned his whole body to stare at a half dressed girl sitting with five guys on the opposite table, he was picking a fight and I just wanted to run. Like Jenny Curran, in the original Forrest Gump, I prayed "Dear God, make me a bird so I could fly far! Far! Far away from here!" As I stood there in the street waiting for the valet to bring my car, I struggled to release my hands from his. He wanted to come home with me or that I went home with him. Again he was pushing and again I was stubborn … I freed my hand, got in my car, drove off and did not look behind as Jenny Curran's words echoed louder and louder in my head: Run Forrest! Run! … Run Jenny! Run!
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