Maybe it’s the fact that Philadelphia is finally starting to look and feel like fall, but sitting in a cozy, low-lit bar last night with Habibi was perfect. We had plans for drinks ahead of time, but my terrorism class got out early so we changed plans for dinner too.
This bar? It is perfect. It would feel cramped if there were ever more than a handful of stragglers there, sitting at the carved wooden bar. Morrocan tea lights hang over tables that, even though they are pressed against the next still manage to feel personal. Habibi is a regular; the bartender is talking to him across the room as I walk in. He smiles, we hug, and I order my usual beer.
Aside from a slight miscalculation (the waitress said that they accept my credit card- after we order it turns out that they don’t) we had a great meal. He ordered his usual burger and fries, I ordered the tomato and broccoli quiche with a salad. The food is surprisingly good; surprisingly only because I have yet to see where the have a kitchen tucked away in the building.
And the conversation? It was intense. You see, Habibi and I dated years ago. It wasn’t serious but it had moments of feeling that way. He traveled to Spain for a month while we were dating and sent me some of the most beautifully written letters I’ve ever received. In one, he sent me a dove’s feather, wrote about how the beaches are covered with doves instead of seagulls. He wrote about how he dreamed about a black-haired girl, who he supposed to be me. We had a great relationship, but we also had a sudden breakup. Not because something was wrong with us, but because he had problems in his life to sort out. We’ve managed to stay close, and I still feel like we have a strong connection from that relationship.
So of course our conversation wasn’t the typical outside-layer talk. We talked about my inability at relationships, how after the Fiance I lost any idea of what a relationship should be. We talked about his mother, about his father. Analyzed our friends. There are few people that I can speak so honestly and so comfortably with; he is one of them. Of all of my friends, it’s his advice that I trust the most. When he tells me that things are toxic, that I need them out of my life, I know he’s right.
We left a few hours later and walked down the fall streets of Philadelphia. It had just rained, so a mist was rising off of the road. And then I realized that I can’t remember a time that I’ve felt calmer, more relaxed. Even my breathing has changed. I slept completely through the night last night, a rarity for me. I woke up this morning still feeling this enveloping sense of calm. Not worried about basketball or crew, not worried about classes. Not worried about Peter or about dating, nor about how my health is. Just calm.