With eyes riveted on me, he placed his cup on the copier, and he maintained a steady pace towards me, which pushed me into stepping further backwards, my helpless hands pleading and warning. Suddenly, I realized that I hit something. It was the wall now right behind me. I was trapped. But he wouldn’t stop. ‘Please… Martin… please stop… stop please…’ I murmured, imploring fervently.
On realizing the futility of my pleas, I impulsively held up my arms, both palms facing him, so that they formed a ‘protective’ shield, but apparently not protective enough to produce the desired result. It seemed that he stopped only when he sensed the tip of his shoes touching mine.
‘Martin, don’t, please don’t’, I pleaded in a breath of a sound that was barely audible.
Powerless in the face of his looming impetuousness, I swiftly covered my eyes with both my hands. Such a defensive move seemed the wisest spontaneous reaction my artlessness could come up with to ward off danger. Well, I thought if he’d do anything crazy, not seeing him doing it would perhaps make it feel less ‘drastic’.
I froze like a statue, heart throbbing and body shivering, but paradoxically not in the least bit fearful of him. A few moments passed, but nothing happened. I cautiously moved my hands slightly down. He was staring at me. I sensed his beautiful hazel eyes embracing my face. Ostensibly rapt in passion, he seemed wistfully moved too. It must have been my artless reaction that had him ultimately maintain his judicious self-control. He must have had pitied such naivety that rebuffed danger by covering the eyes with two helpless hands.
Still apprehensive, I clasped my hands and placed them against my chin as I looked up at him. My heart drummed and I sensed my whole body electrifying the moment our looks touched. His beautiful hazel eyes showed pain even as they shone with love. After a few nervous moments, he gently grabbed both my hands with his right hand; he placed his left hand upon my left shoulder and pushed me tenderly. He averted his eyes from me as he commanded gently, ‘Go please, go’.
My mind has played back that scene countless times through all these years. Each time my whole body would shudder with consternation at the thought of the danger I was in. The possibility of someone catch us in such intimacy was not at all farfetched. Being caught in such a disastrously ‘scandalous’ incident would have obliterated my reputation beyond reparation for a whole life to come, and placed me in terrible political jeopardy. Then, the no less wonderfully exotic feelings would sweep over me every time I recalled that scene. It was my first genuine rapturous proximity, ever, with a man. The wonderfully new-sprung female within me had been baptised in torrents of bliss that would indivisibly bind my soul and my heart and my mind to this man for a whole life to come.
I returned to my desk, while he remained in the storeroom. Fury, shocked for Martin’s impetuousness and apprehensive about the danger posed by a darting intruder, had been guardedly watching over the romantic scene from across the glass panel. After I left the storeroom, she, recounted of him standing in the same spot, motionless, with his back turned against the door. He then grabbed his cup of coffee and stood for a brief moments with his eyes fixated on the opposite window. Before long, I saw him dashing out, his eyes altogether avoiding looking in my direction.
I sat bemused and baffled, but madly in love, now more than ever. This was our first physically close intimacy, and I hadn’t been the least bit afraid of him. And not only that, I dared for the first time to look into his eyes from such a critically near distance, and enjoyed it too tremendously. My mouth was desperately pleading for him to refrain from any insane demonstration of his feelings, but my heart and my mind were crazily craving such insanity. I was dying for him to take me in his arms, and hug me tight and kiss me, but the naïve and innocent-to-a-fault kid in me was still striving to hold on to the life she knew more strongly than ever. My parents’ precious trust, my priceless reputation, and the strenuous demands of my culture and my religion, not to mention the rigid traditions of a callous society, along with my innocence, stood admonishing against the least slackening of the rein. The sacred flower of innocence was pleading for him to stay away, but the desirous female was desperate for his body and his touch. Those short moments were long enough to say it, to admit it, and to reveal it all, loud and clear. He must have seen it glaringly in my eyes. He must have seen the full female in me who was abundant and overflowing with passion and love. The amazing thing was that I could no longer sense being in love as the burdening sin that tradition, culture and religion had instilled in me. An enormous wave of powerful love had swept away a lifelong sense of aeb and harram. It just seemed to have magically vanished, as had my fear and shyness of him. Yet, I fervently pleaded that he minded the pure chaste love that I cherished no less than the lover. I pleaded that he preserve the sacredness of what had started sacred, and the chastity of what had started chaste, until the right time. He didn’t let me down, but rather lived up magnificently to the expectations of the kid in me.
I sat detached from the whole world. I was shaking all over, my heart engaged in a wonderful dance of ecstasy, and overwhelmed with such agonizingly sweet emotions. This event consumed me in rapture beyond what my romantic nature could cope with. And the scene was much larger than my ignorance and lack of experience could contain or even dare to dream of or imagine. I was floating on cloud nine, wholly oblivious to what callous fate had in store for me. For, following that episode, Martin was never himself again. The irony was that what had profoundly enraptured me turned out, to be unbearably painful for him, so painful, that in less than a fortnight, he cancelled his contract, and made ready to leave Iraq.
To Be Continued.......