The Six Degrees of Separation

That’s my girl Alia. Brown girl magic through and through and through. One of the beloveds; one of the very few who knows every inch of my world.

We don’t believe in coincidence. There is no such thing to a Muslim. Which is why I’m about to tell you a story about how this Universe has protected me, at every turn. Just one story out of actual millions I imagine, of course almost all of which I’m unaware.

Once upon a time, I was involved with a British military kind of human (we met in a war-torn country in 2006; I was there to evacuate people. He was there to be, frankly, some kind of fkn killer or saboteur. They were there off the books.) We kept in touch for years – I would receive messages like “I’m in Nairobi, are you in the neighbourhood?,” and by neighbourhood he meant continent.

Throughout these years, we each had love affairs, and kept things friendly, always sending these insanely long emails to one another detailing what was going on in our lives. (Or so I thought.**)

While together in the middle of a war, I  have one incredibly lovely memory which sits with me still, always – we were walking along the water while bombs were dropping. He reached for my hand, took it gently and tucked my left shoulder behind his right one. The bombs went quiet in my head, and I remember thinking Nothing will happen to me while he’s here.

Until we decided to try things out proper, at his request. Lots of Skype until I had an airline ticket to meet up, and it fell through so I changed my ticket to Cuba instead. I always knew something felt off – always – and there was no way for me to know anything. I had nothing but his address, and his work provided the perfect cover. He lived in Herefordshire but flew out everywhere and he’d send me photos of him all over the world. He had a pager that had to be worshiped and that when beeped, he had to be on a flight 24 hours out. Their life was insane, and had I not met him and his squadron, I would have never believed he did what he did.

They rotate schedules with the pager, by the way. Can’t recall what precisely but x amount of weeks on, then x off.

We would Skype from his home**, but every single sense in me was always ringing. Witchy Senses were always on highest alert and never ever left me calm. My girlfriends couldn’t understand why I was ill at ease; he gave no indication of anything off where they were concerned. But my body was incapable of anything but, like, as though it had an electrical current through it. This current became deafening when we got to seriously planning seeing one another (above trip). I honestly don’t know why I didn’t just bail; curiosity, I imagine. Anyway. I even raised his often conflicting, or inconsistent bullshit when the trip fell through but he handled it perfectly. These are people trained in manipulation – and to excel in their world, they have to 10000000% be some level of sociopath.

No matter that, also recall that no one can grift for too long. Pay enough attention and even someone trained in the art of it, as he is, can’t keep it all on lockdown forever. But I really had no way of knowing, absolutely none. So I did the only thing I could do – I asked Allah to reveal the truth to me. Prayer was all I had.

Back to Cuba, the trip that would replace meeting up with this human. Cuba, where on my last day, en route to the airport, I met C (whom I would eventually date, and who is still a friend I adore). He was reading The Count of Monte Cristo and wearing shorts with flowers on them. I could hear him and his friends throwing jabs at one another and it was clear as day that he was extremely intelligent and hilarious. I was not wrong. C, by the way, received the Distinguished Flying Cross which is quite incredible, though not at all surprising when you spend any amount of time with him and his brain. (As a Canadian, he is able to be a part of any Commonwealth military and so he flew for the British.)

We got to chatting at the airport in Cuba, and I told him what brought me there alone (though I often travel alone and very much love to do so). I named the man in Q.

Whom it turned out C had flown on several occasions. Which is how C knew that the man was married and had a child. He gave me the timelines; his wife had just had their first baby just before he and I met. He gave me all of the information I needed. I confirmed everything from there myself within 24 hours – name of his wife and newborn. I even found a photo of him and his wife. She was cute. They were still married. (The internet is a hellscape if you are misrepresenting yourself; best you have no footprint if you wish to make poor decisions which might eventually haunt you, if you don’t course-correct.) That was that. Truth. Relief.

The Universe brought the information on a platter, as a form of protective shield around me right before I jumped from the ledge. A story, one of dozens, which is why my girlfriends will tell you I am Neo on the rooftop dodging bullets.

And when I write Universe, I in fact mean Allah. Imagine every single choice that had to be made throughout my life and C’s so that he and I might end up on the same bus in Cuba, on the way to the airport at the same time? That my prayers would be answered through him? Insane.

It’s been of my constant prayers since – that Allah reveal to me what I cannot possibly know, but need to know so that I remain protected. He keeps answering this prayer. To this I have added: Please don’t show me everything, but just what I need to stay safe. Because I am not interested in the secret lives of people; just the choices they’ve made which could harm me.

All to say. May Allah never pull such protection from around my dumb ass.

PS The calibre of our friends and lovers are themselves either shields against, or paths to degradation. Careful whose company you choose to accept.

PS to the PS Re or so I thought, and his home**. On the former, he did tell me everything about the things he was telling me, he was simply not sharing anything about one particular part of his life (family), and so nothing about which to lie. Clever. And something that’s been easy to pick up on since with men. Re his home – he had two. One with his wife, and one with someone else from his squadron which is where he lived whilst on his beeper.


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