It's time for the final chapter of this strange tale.
For those of you who read and enjoyed L, L2, and L3, this one's for you.
One last time. Here is L4:
"And then, I am punching her in the tits?" Leila was telling me, "And I am laughing because she is fat."
I was laughing, myself; genuinely, at that. After dinner, I agreed to take her home, and together we hopped a bus heading north, leaving my idiot friend and that thing he dated downtown with the bill. I didn’t care; this girl had a spell on me. I had only known her for such a short while, and yet it felt like I had known her for years.
Now, to say I was still angry at Mark for tricking me into a double-date would be an understatement. To say that I wanted to beat him with a trash can until he looked like half a cantaloupe filled with ground beef and jam would be another understatement. But I was also grateful. Without him and that mewling abomination he called a girlfriend pulling a fast one on me, I wouldn’t be here, earnestly joking around for the first time in a long time.
Once her story was done, she cleared her throat and composed herself. "So," she began, "Mark told me you are Korean?"
I blinked, "What? No, I'm Cambodian."
"Really?!" she exclaimed, giggling.
This piqued my interest, "Why?"
"Because Mark said, 'He is Korean. Korea is cool place, not like Cambodia!'" she laughed.
I felt my blood boil a little. Actually, a lot. I'm not a patriotic man, but a big part of me suddenly wanted to make Mark's skin into a nice new coat. "That dick! I will fill his ass with concrete and throw him in a lake!"
"We can attach a weight to his face!" Leila beamed, still laughing as she pet my shoulder, “And feed him to crocodile!”
I reached for her hand and stared at her, my face close to hers as though I had just heard divine wisdom. “Will you join me on this magical adventure?”
We were suddenly very silent. Our eyes, however, carried a conversation. I don’t know why, but there was a certainty here that made me feel safe and warm. Everything I knew and loathed – the shop I worked in, my apartment, my insane best friend Mark, his screeching Haruka, and, yes, Sylvia – was miles away. All that stood in my life was her.
Leila brought her other hand up and put it on top of the one I used to pin her to my shoulder, “When can I see you again?”
“Tomorrow,” I proposed, instantly.
“No,” she whispered, “I’m going to mosque tomorrow.”
This caught me off guard. “I didn't know you were –”
A flick of the wrist, and a long blue and silver-lined kerchief, perfect for wrapping around a young woman's head, produced itself from her coat. She held it up to me.
My eyebrows nearly flew off my face. “Oh.”
“I take it off when I leave the house,” she said, tucking it away, “Is it okay?”
I shrugged, “Well, I'm not even remotely religious. Is that okay?”
She paused for a moment and turned her eyes up, considering that before finally saying, “Yeah, it's okay.”
“Oh, goo –”
“But my father, he might kill you many times.”
All coronary systems ground to a halt, “Oh. So, what are we –?”
“Jeff, are you Muslim?”
I blinked. “What? No –”
“No, pretend I am my father. Jeff, are you Muslim?”
“I kill you with brick. Try again. Jeff, are you Muslim?”
I hesitated, feeling a cold sweat, “Um, yes.”
“Sunni or Shia?”
“I kill you with brick.”
She giggled and touched my arm, “He is very protective, that's why.”
“No kidding,” I gasped. “What’s he do for an encore, eat my dog?”
She gave a spry little laugh. “So funny,” Leila said, gripping me by the neck and pulling me close. “He’ll like you.”
I put my hand up. “What if he asks more questions?”
She pursed her lips together and smiled like a cat that ate all the birds in the world. “Don't worry. I am a good liar.”
As she kissed me, I began to realize that I was incredibly lucky.
Now I'm going to take some time off to work on some little projects I've been neglecting. Find me on the 28th.
See you next time,
EDIT: May 17, 2012. Edits! I'm doing a lot of these.