I’m not going to use his real name because I’m pretty sure he’s in hiding. Let’s just call him Kahlil.
(You can read the first post about time life in Malibu here.)
I was introduced to him by a mutual friend. Kahlil, a bit older than myself, is a good man, loves growing roses, and reading Kahlil Gibran’s poems. He has seen and experienced some truly awful things in his life, and I don’t envy his position.
How do I know Kahlil is Royalty? There’s a video of him getting out of a helicopter, wearing flowing white robes, with scores of minions on the ground, bowing and scrapping profusely.
There’s also the bulletproof Mercedes. Never been in one? Neither had I. It looked like any other Mercedes. And then I rolled down the window – the ¾-INCH-THICK-GLASS window. ???
Sure, maybe he was a drug dealer and I am more naïve than I thought humanly possible.
I asked, “What’s up with the window?”, pinching the 3/4-inch-thick glass between my finger and thumb.
Kahlil (with an accent), very matter-of-fact, “The Mercedes is bullet proof. The doors are also reinforced. My family sends me one every year.”
Me, “Oh.” (Obviously, he was dating me for my razor-sharp wit.)
In my head, “What the f*@# have I gotten myself into?”
Our most memorable date continues…
We drive down to one of his restaurants, a beautiful, high-end establishment overlooking the ocean in Palos Verdes. He was dressed in a nice black suit, sporting a Rolex. I was in a short “sexy but classy”, burgundy-brown, burn-out velvet dress, with a low-cut back (but not obscenely so), strappy high heels, and no Rolex.
We were going to dine with the Princess of Syria and her husband. (No s#*%.) They were a lovely, gracious couple. Who probably don’t ever cuss, even in fake text on their blogs.
Her Highness was dressed in a very classy pants suit. Everyone at the table was no less than 25 years my senior. Maybe more. My father is only 22 years older than myself. I suddenly felt like someone’s young and tarty mistress in my “leggy” dress.
The manners of the royal couple spoke to their status of high breeding: They are among the most gracious, welcoming and non-judgmental people I have ever met. At no time did they indicate they even noticed our age difference or my lack of clothing. She said I was ‘helwa’ – it means beautiful in Arabic. I think.
Her Highness, fluent in Arabic and French, didn’t speak much English. I’m somewhat (as evidenced by my error-riddled prose) fluent in English, but do speak a little Arabic (didn’t see that one coming, did ya?) and a little French. Between that and sign language, we managed to have a decent conversation.
Well, I enjoyed it. She, however, was mortified that I did wildlife rescue in my spare time. She was appalled by the idea of handling little squirrels, among other wild critters, and thought it most unclean. (As an aside: Wildlife rescue is one of the single most rewarding things I’ve done. I highly recommend to anyone interested they find a local center and volunteer.)
At one point, I think she looked a bit concerned hitchhiking fleas might leap off me. Alas, it was too late. Dinner had been going for 45 minutes. Any hitchhiking fleas had by now disembarked “Ship Kernut” and made their way around the table.
My mom always told me, “There are three things you do not discuss in polite company: Politics, religion, and social issues.” The last of those three is a bit fuzzy, I’ve also heard it as politics, religion and either race, sex, or math. Needless to say, volunteer work was supposed to be at the top of the “safe to discuss” list. I guess that only pertains to volunteer work that doesn’t involve handling wild animals with fleas.
Nonetheless, dinner was a success as it ended without my making a complete fool of myself and embarrassing America, destroying foreign relations, or causing global warfare.
So far, so good.
Ah, but this is my life we’re talking about. The date couldn’t possibly just end on that note.