The Sun-Dried Man

This is not a love story. This post isn’t trying to tell another tale of boy meets girl, either. This is a true story about a childhood friend who taught me a thing or two about life.

Mo was tall, dark, and handsome in a way that no one could dispute the qualities. He was a smooth and gentle man who got involved in conversations being armed with charm but no dialogue. During gatherings he used to plant his feet evenly to hold himself erect and his body still. His face appeared a bit wrinkled with dry skin as if he had been exposed to the sun for too long. Although he had inviting hazel eyes, he always tended to look away from people. His long battle against stuttering made him selective about getting engaged with strangers. Mo was the only guy who could get a PG-13 rating and still say “Fuck You”. He carried veiled sadness and dreamy vulnerability that had to do with the pain of being sincere at heart.

On a warm day when the sun had an overbearingly exposing presence, Mo met Bita around the place where he used to hang out with me. Bita had a measured and purposeful walking style that made her more attractive. She used to walk as if she was pausing and thinking about each step. I remember; every time I looked at her, I had an involuntarily thought that honked “fuck, she’s gorgeous”. Bita seemed honest. But her brand of honesty was prophylactic. The most pronounced attribute of hers was her pride, which showed itself in the form of relating every conversation to her experiences. Her most used phrase involved “I’ve always been around fantastic people.”

Mo and Bita went through the whole cycle of falling in love, breaking up, deciding to get married, and eventually separating for good –during the 18 months they were in a relationship. I recall; Mo was deeply hurt after their separation, but his feelings for Bita had been clouded long before they separated. Mo knew he couldn’t accept her view of “happy life”. He also believed the timing and circumstances were not right because he was a struggling processional athlete. In fact, one day Mo confided in me and expressed his reasoning to stay in the relationship for as long as he did. He said that he could never convince himself to be the one to end the relationship. Because he couldn’t bear the consequences or the potential damage to Bita’s pride. The phrase he used was “She needs to continue feeling flawless”. So Mo waited intentionally for Bita to bring up the idea of breaking up. This is one of those things that no one could understand or follow these days because we live in such rugged-man society where the acts of selflessness, greatness, and empathy sound cowardice.

Years passed. Bita got married to another man and moved to Toronto. I briefly met her during the summer of 2011 when she still felt the need to remind me of her view of the relationship by saying, “It was a life changing relationship but I had to end it”.

Mo died last week. He lived a hard life with all that he went through -from his unfinished career as an athlete –to his daily struggle of connecting with people. That’s why mortality never fazed him. He was always interested in the thing that happens where there is a breaking point for some people and not for others. For him, it was utterly important to let go of his ego when it came to giving, forgiving, and love. He passed away, and never mentioned a word about what went on in that ordeal of a relationship. In his view, it was all part of the deal.

In loving memory of Mo Shojaee…

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