It rains, as usual, I hate it. I am sitting in this little coffee place off Regents Street and ponder when exactly my life turned into a scene out of a really depressing soap opera. Love triangles, cover-ups, lies, constant guilty feelings and family and friends who are left in the dark. "Life sucks sometimes, get over it Salili" Farrah would say. I hate when she calls me Salili, it sounds ridiculous and is so not a reflection of my character. I am 35 for heavens' sake, isn't it about time I get a decent nick? Yes, I know, life sometimes sucks, but it seems to suck more often than not lately. How did I get into this mess? It started with this stupid evening. Why did Farrah drag me to the Turkish restaurant? Did she know or was this really just a major coincidence? It is too late, we arrived, I am starting to sweat. Panick sweat, it always happens when I am out of my comfort zone. We are walking in. The beautifully carved mahogany swing doors close behind us. The constant noise so familiar to London suddenly disappears. It is like entering a paralel world. The entrance of the restaurant is beautiful. All covered in decadent fabrics in orange, gold, rich turquoise and intricate Turkish paterns. Soft oriental music plays in the background. It's nice and warm and the smell of exotic spices makes me feel like I am embarking on a romantic trip out of Arabian Nights. I close my eyes for a moment to take it all in. The sounds and fragrances of the place become more intense - a mental picture sneaks in. Me, all dressed in beautiful oriental garments, surrounded by equally beautifully dressed people. I don't know where I am, but it feels like home. I smile. I am happy and contend. "Salili...Salili." I sigh and open my eyes again. Farrah looks at me curiously. "Where were you?". I shake my head and smile "nowhere honey, nowhere." I can tell she doesn't believe me. She shrugs her shoulders though, turns arround and waves a waiter to get us seated. The waiter nods politely, smiles and signals us to follow him. He walks deeper into the restaurant, I start to pray in my head. Why does he not seat us somewhere here?Why does he keep walking? Finally, we have arrived. The waiter pulls the first chair out and offeres it to me. I thank him and sit. He walks around and does the same for Farrah. He walks away for a moment, just to return with two menus in his hand. He passes them to us and introduces himself in broken English. "My name iz Hassan and I will bee your waiter tunightt". We nod politely. Hassan removes himself from the table to give us time to peruse the delicious offerings. Farrah is fully caught up in the menu. I try my best to do the same but I can't. My eyes seem to have a life of their own and keep wandering off, searching the restaurant, looking at the silent waiters gliding past the different tables. What am I doing? Playing with fire, a little voice in my head whispers. I know. "What do you know?" Farrah askes. Oh gosh, I must have uttered it out loud! "Nothing. I am just overwhelmed...the menu...I mean...it all looks so good". I smile and hope she leaves it at that. Farrah looks at me funny. You can tell her brain is working overtime and attempts to figure out what's going on with me. I smile my prettiest smile, in the vain attempt to convince her. I know it doesn't work but she just shakes her head, mumbles " You are weird today" and continues to study the menu. I need to be more careful. Damn it, I wish I could speak with her, but I can't. I look up again and suddenly there he is: Carlo! Tall, handsome in his nonchalant I'm-not-even-trying kinda way. Shit! I thought he wasn't working tonight. Farrah follows my gaze, smiles and waves him over to us. Carlo smiles back and slowly walks toward us. My head is spinning. Through his kitchen uniform I can make out his well-defined arms. My eyes wander to his chest and stomach. I can picture his toned six-pack and broad chest, as if I my eyes suddenly turned into x-ray machines. I see his strong, beautifully masculin hands. The pictures of the other night rush back into my head. I can feel I turn red. Red with guilt, shame and desire. Desire? What the hell Salima, my inner voice screams. I know. I wish I could just disappear.
I am ripped out of my memories and mental pictures by the coffee shop assitant, asking me whether I wanted a refill. I am confused and it takes me a little while to comprehend where I am. I smile politely and shake my head. No, I really don't need more coffee. What i really need, is to talk to Farrah. If only I could.