Now they’re out of the water, standing on the seashore admiring the majesty of the mesmerizing landscape surrounding them, her head on his shoulder, his arm holding her by the waist, waiting there to dry out, because they’ve no towels, obviously. Their silence was satisfying… Fulfilling. No words were needed. The crash of waves against the sand, the choking calls of seagulls, the soft-blowing wing, the smell of the whole place altogether… All of these components combined together produced a relaxing melody and it was enough for both of them.
The date has reached its final phase. Best part saved for last. Why you might wonder, would a pizza, coke and video games be the best part? Isn’t it clear enough? YES. That’s it. Of course, he asked her before about what a perfect date would be for her. He spent days planning for this day, so it would be nothing but flawlessly PERFECT.
Yes, he checked the weather forecast. Yes, he chose which safer route to take to his destinations according to thorough research and statistics. Yes, he consulted his female friends on which movie theater to take her and which beach would provide more privacy. And yes, he placed an order on the pizza, a day before the date, to be delivered at exactly 8 p.m to his: place. There was no room for glitches or chance. NONE. Willpower at its finest and purest moments.
He still has an hour to head back to his apartment which was enough. They kept quiet on the way, but if they could hear each other’s thoughts, they wouldn’t be disappointed at all. A wide grin was lighting up his face, as to a shy smile was beaming on hers. He put on some music to go with the mood -Chase Coy_If the mood fell down tonight- one of his favorite songs. She leaned back in her seat, closed her eyes and savored the idyllic, dulcet tones of the acoustic guitar.
He threw a glance at her and boy… Could he ever get tired of looking at her beatific face, looking so halcyon? The only thing that was lacking, he thought, was the golden halo on top of her head.
It’s 7:48 now and they’re at his place. It was a nice loft with hipster decoration, well, you couldn’t actually tell whether it was hipster or Gothic or a mixture or a completely new genre. Let’s go with either Hipthic or Gopster, whatever sounds best to you, I don’t care. The first thing that you’d see upon opening the door is a spacious living room that has what it looks like a multi-dark-colors sofa, a painted-navy-blue, round, wooden coffee table right in front of the sofa resting over a distressed, woolen, purple rug and a 42 inch plasma TV that he uses on occasion. A DVD player and various consoles and DVDs are arranged inside a wide wooden shelf right under the TV.
On the left would be the kitchen area. It was clean and organized. Shelves stocked with all the kitchen tools needed. A big 2 sided fridge stands tall in the middle, between a set of wooden cabinets, filled with lots of water bottles, veggies, and fruit, all sorts of meat except pork and no alcohol. There’s also whole wheat pasta and other healthy stuff. Women love a guy who takes care of himself and Ryan’s very good at that. In the very middle, lies a, what looks like, DIY-ed counter with Italian marble counter-top with swivel bar stools scattered around it. There’s, also, this specific thing that would catch anyone’s attention which is the steel serving cart resting next to an Elodie, grey sideboard at the end of the area. He does like his little trinkets, except this one is not that little.
At the far end of the opposite side, you’d lay eyes on a steel, pinned-to-the-floor black latter, serving as stairs, leading upward to his bedroom, where the magic happens. Never mind the last bit, I’ve always wanted to say that.
It only takes you one peek from the edge of the latter to figure out around 80% of Ryan’s bedroom. A king-sized custom-made bed with comfy pillows and clean sheets right at the center of the vast space, a big desk on the far side of the room with scattered papers all over it. You could see the bottle of ink and feather dipped in it. Elegant decorations were hanging on the wall either from DIY-ed, impressive-looking shelves, like trophies, diplomas, certificates, rare video games collectibles, superhero figurines and keychains, etc.. Oh yes, he’s quite the video-games/superhero fanatic alright. He watched all of the Marvel and DC animated and cinematic movies, TV series and cartoons with no exception. His favorite TV series being DareDevil, his favorite cinematic movie being Deadpool, his favorite animated movie Batman: the killing joke and his favorite cartoon is young justice.
Stick to the brick walls, were a couple of superhero posters, most of them being Deadpool’s, his forever favorite. By the way, Deadpool isn’t really a superhero, he was first listed as a villain but then upgraded to the anti-hero list, just like the Punisher and other characters. With nail support, there was this particular intriguing portray of several gloomy scratched faces hanging over the bed sending blue vibes, as if there was a tormented soul behind them. If there was one word best to describe it, it would be « melancholic ».
There were also nature paintings, forests to be exact. Oh, he loves forests. He loves the tall trees, the damp soil, the petrichor, the cloudy weather, the high cliffs, etc… A spacious shack in the middle of nowhere is one of his wild dreams where he could go on living a simple life with a partner. All of his dreams requires the presence of a partner, a female partner. Whose better to be there for you in ups and downs other than your significant other?
And he’s contemplating her right now, his eyes never letting her out of sight, drinking her in, absorbing her presence, savoring her company.
The ringing doorbell disconnected their unparalleled tray of thoughts. Pizza’s here. Fun time. She excused herself as she headed to the restroom, the one next to his bedroom. The delivery guy was offered a generous tip for being on time. He grabbed the pizza and proceeded to the living room to set the place.
There wasn’t much to do. He was 99% prepared. He just laid the pizza on the table, brought the cans of coke out of the fridge, turned on his PS4 and chose a combat game « Tekken 7 ». This is going to get competitive. He didn’t have to wait long until she emerged out of the restroom. But before she took a seat next to him, she headed to the stereo set, on the far side of the living room right beside his serving cart. Delmore examined the CDs and grabbed what she was looking for. Demi Lovato’s latest album.
You’d wonder how the hell did it get there since if you had to pick the odd CD out of the whole collection, it would definitely be Demi Lovato’s CD. That type of music is light years away from his preferable taste. A Demi Lovato album CD resting in the middle of all Three Days Grace’s albums, some of Nickelback’s albums, some of Breaking Benjamin’s albums, some of Steel Panther’s albums. In case you don’t know who Steel Panther are and you’re a conservative person, I beg of you to please not listen to them. There were also several burner CDs with an assemblage of tracks – « assemblage » here is a fancy synonym of the word « collection » from a French descend – he selected specifically for his own liking that includes some of Anberlin, Chase Coy, Veil Of Maya, Plini, Frank Sinatra, Eminem, Metallica, Motorhead, Megadeath, Rev Theory, Aurora, SYML, Yellowcard, Simple Plan and the list goes on and on… So yeah, now you know why the Demi Lovato CD wins the award of « how the hell did you end up here with the other CDs » award, and the answer to that question is obvious. Yes, that’s it. Oh no, he didn’t develop a crush on Demi Lovato. Gosh no! The other explanation! Demi Lovato is Delmore’s favorite musician and she loves her songs, so our friend Ryan went out to the CD store down the corner next to the pastry shop from which he always buys a piece of fruit tart and a mocha each morning on his way to work.
Maybe by now you’re thinking ‘What a hopeless, desperate dumb*ss! He’s doing all of this for nothing. When she sees that he’s done all of what he has so far, she’d consider him as an obsessed stalker and he’ll drive her away’ while some of you might go ‘AWWWWWE OMG that’s so adorable! I wish someone would do something like that for me for once!’
No matter where you stand upon the matter, the fact that can’t be ignored is that he’s putting some extraordinary effort into the whole thing. He’s stepping out of his comfort zone just for the mere sake of impressing her. Some say that’s more than enough, others disagree. So far, so good for him.
So, she put the CD in the stereo system and clicked play. Immediately after the first song started blasting, she began to dance, jumping all over the place, hair like and electric fan twirling from side to side, up and down while he was sitting on his sofa, in a comfortable seated position, yet again contemplating her. He was staring at her in complete awe and admiration, you can read his feelings just by looking at his eyes. That moment, they were so expressive. He was staring at her like a guy would stare at his beloved one when she’s doing something, not paying much attention to him, and he’d just sit there and watch her with this « I must’ve done something right to deserve her in my life » look on his face. You know what I’m talking about. There’s a picture of Barack Obama doing just that to his wife circulating on Facebook. And another one of a scene from the movie Tangled with the caption ‘I wish someone would look at me like that’. She was dancing, bare feet, carefree and not giving a damn about worries. She stopped, turned her head to the side taking a good look at Ryan, and strode towards him playfully, asking for his hand to dance.
« Come on. Dance with me. Let’s have fun! »
« No, I… I don’t dance. »
« Don’t ask me, I don’t dance, don’t ask me, I don’t dance… Madame with you » and she broke off laughing while he was staring at her flabbergasted.
« Hello! I’m quoting Frank Sinatra… His song… I don’t dance? I saw the name on one of your CD burners »
Waw… Do you have any idea what she just did right there? She just copied one of his signature moves. What move that is you ask? Let me break down one of Ryan’s funny signature moves that always works when he tries to make a girl laugh: so they’d be in the middle of a conversation and she stops with a word or a sentence that’s the title or a part of the lyrics of a song and he just starts singing that song. Very silly, yet effective. And with that move, her score to just went up from perfect to too perfect, a couple of points and she’d reach godess level to him and he’d build her a temple and start a new religion after her. Just kidding!
« Never mind » She continued rolling her eyes « Come on you scardy cat. I’ll teach you »
« No seriously, I’m fine over here. I’m good with just watching you do your thing. It’s quite pleasant actually. You’re… Very good » He said, partially blushing, shifting uncomfortably in his place.
And that’s when she goes down on one knee, bows her head down, offers her hand out and says:
« Would your majesty please honor me with a dance? »
He couldn’t help himself but crack a chuckle and then nodded, taking her hand and replied in a flawless British accent:
« Why of course my lovely lady. How could I ever deny you a quest? »
So they danced and danced until their feet could no longer bare it, and their throats went dry.
« I need a drink » declared Delmore.
« Help yourself to a soda, but don’t you dare steal a slice of pizza behind my back » Replied Ryan teasing « I think it’s about time that you and I get to see who’s the better gamer in this room »
He went back to the sofa, took his place and motioned her to take her place next to him. She sat down, brought a knee to her chest and took a concentration position, he handed her a joystick then smirked at her with a devious naughty idea of his own.
He looked at her sideways all smugly and such and she eyed him questioningly and he finally said:
– How about we make this interesting?
– What do you mean? She replied, a little bit suspicious.
– Well… He paused for a second, for dramatic effects. He was enjoying his wicked thought a little more than he should, not thinking about the probability that it could backfire at him. But he was on consequences-be-damned mode.
– Each time, He carried on, one of us lose, he has to get rid of a piece of clothing.
She grimaced a defying expression and responded:
– You’re ON. Get ready to strip.
Oh was he so determined to win! They set a gaming marathon composed of several two-player games including Tekken 7, Need for speed most wanted, PES 2017, NBA 2k17, Mortal Combat X, Street Fighter 5 and Rocket League. Each game, 3 matches. And be sure that with those hardcore gamers, bragging would become their middle name. Since Tekken and PES 2017 were his corn and bread, he had such a rush kicking her butt causing her to lose her top and trousers, her sandals were already off before his bold preposition.
It was at this point where the table turned. Being distracted by her exposed enticing body parts and eagerness to see the rest of what remains covered, caused by his treacherous hormones. That worked well at her advantage as she came out victorious at both Street Fighter and Mortal Combat. To her astonishment, she noticed that he was wearing an extra layer of undergarments.
– YOU TRICKED ME! She blurted out. You set this up you… You Bastard! She accused as she punched him on the shoulder. And indeed he did. He was able to put on the extra layer of clothes right after paying the pizza guy.
Acting all innocently, with a secret chuckle, he replied:
– No I didn’t. I was wearing them the whole time!
– No you weren’t. I saw what you were wearing at the beach. That undershirt and those shorts weren’t on the pile of clothes when we… Oups… She blushed as she stopped herself right there remembering the beach incident. I don’t think any of them would ever forget that. Not for a very, very long time.
During a situation like this, Ryan was presented with 2 options: either take the opportunity while the memory is evoked to revisit it sofa style or distract themselves from his thoughts by confessing that she’s right and that the trap was all planned. So, he burst out laughing:
– Alright, alright you got me. But it’s not against the rules. He said that with a wink.
– I am so going to get you for this. She said back, narrowing her eyes at him but failing to fully contain a faint smile.
– How about raising the stakes? Ryan asked cocking his head to one side.
– What do you have in mind Mr.Sinister? Boy, did he love that comic book reference! Is there any chance that she could possess any imperfections at all? He thought.
– I suggest, Ryan replied, for each match won, the winner gets to put on a piece of clothing back. However… He, suddenly went silent, his wicked grin growing wider making him look like the Grinch on Christmas eve after a bad deed. He was enjoying his little game, having fun being in control over the events. After a few moments he continued, The loser has to take off two.
– Hmmm… She replied thoughtfully, you have a deal. And they shook on it.
Share your thoughts
Close your eyes and allow me to take you on a stroll along a Tunisian street. There will be a mild wind, a golden sky, a narrow alleyway lined with vibrant green trees and garnished with exquisite, delicate white small stars. You can certainly smell the heady, seductive scent of the Jasmine bloom while reading.
Jasmine, according to some, has a floral aroma that is musky and bitter. Others believe it is too sweet and passionate. Still others believe it is too wild and rich. But I take my grandfather at his word when he exhales deeply through his Mashmoum and adds, « Rihet Lebled ». And an old man who spent nearly his entire life away from his country will always be more accurate and genuine in describing the aroma of this flower than you will ever be.
Every morning, he uses his shaky hands to carefully tear-off the selected buds from our small garden jasmine tree, place each one on a stalk of Halfa grass, and then gathers a group of them together to form the bouquet.
Later on, he proudly places it behind his ear; occasionally, he graciously gives it to me. It is also made into a chic necklace by local artisans, which women wear tastefully before their daily evening strolls in the summer.
According to the legend, the God of Love, Kama, sent his arrows bearing jasmine flowers to his victims, Legend has it that Cleopatra traveled to see the Roman general Marcus Antonius in a ship with sails adorned with jasmine essence. And according to history, jasmine traveled across oceans and arrived in the pockets of Andalusians from Spain to bloom in Tunisia.
A title for a never-ending love story might be « Jasmine and Tunisia », because we respect this flower’s enduring powers, you can smell it during our celebrations and weddings. We greet strangers with their blossoms and bid farewell to summer with their flowers. We adorn our homes with their hues and sometimes brew tea with their petals. We start our summer days with their purity and end our evenings with their oxidized aroma.
We give it to our loved ones and it guides us home while also reminding us of happy memories, innocent childhood times, and adulthood regrets. It also evokes memories of « Rihet Lebled », and makes us wonder, should we put the jasmine seeds in our pockets when we leave this country, or plant it here, care for them and wait until they bloom…hopefully…
Written By : Nada Arfaoui.