Last week I arrived in Oman from Dubai, and to my surprise, Mohammad and Arta came to pick me up at the airport. I hadn’t anticipated how wonderful that could be, having two people’s presence upon arrival to assuage the complex, bubbling mixture of fear, happiness, impending loneliness, pseudo-homelessness (I moved out of my problematic home situation before I left Oman). On top of everything, it means so much to be reminded that you have friends to welcome and embrace you upon your return; I think I started half-laughing and half-crying.
The sudden rush of emotion made a couple of things clear to me. First and foremost, I am so lucky to have developed such wonderful friendships here. Relationships like these are so real, it’s as though despite all the defensiveness, the tough-it-out emotional shells we grow over the years, the second we sees such people, a deeper, more vulnerable layer of our identity is exposed. I don’t know how else to put it; the shocking felicity of friendship is disarming.
After I rented a car, the three of us got birthday gifts (I found the most amazing pair of patent leather black stilletos on sale!) and headed to Lux’s party, a gorgeous chocolate cake from a local Iranian bakery in tow. It was equally blissful to see Meena, Kristin, Brigit, Lux, Fernando, Pippi and all my other Muscat friends again upon arriving at the party – not to mention Arta and Fer’s husky, Hapoo, whom I had missed tremendously.
Naturally, we all drank mango spritzers, and then Arta, Suhail and I went out dancing – first to a salsa/bachata club (“Trader Vic’s”) and then to a hiphop club (“Rock Bottom”) – until nearly four am. (I even got to show off my skills at Azonto the global dance craze that originated in Tema in 2012.)
After all, it was the weekend, and work would start up again soon enough. But that night I felt like one of the (21st century) Twelve Dancing princesses, whirling in a strobe-lit firmament until the soles wore off my shoes.