Once Upon A Time A Year Ago


“There are some mediocre women out there in this bar wishing they were like you.” I blushed politely at his words.  It had been the first time I had ever spoken to him one-on-one, his beer breath smelled stronger as he leaned forward to grab his next sip. I couldn’t even remember his name, even though we had chatted a few times in our office and he was one of my bosses strong armed blond besties.

This was quite the compliment  but it only made me internally roll me eyes and reminded me of the circular year I had in Afghanistan. I was living in a compound filled with loud horny contractors,  disillusioned ex-military men always trying to sweet talk you – like this American ex-special forces to their spring mattresses using the same boring lines in a confident chuckle(although his had been innovative and a feel good), by the same cookie cutter lame ass guy. A copy paste of losers filled their pockets with the Afghans plights and I was in the mix. Truth was, there weren’t enough good looking woman and I had to deal with these situations.

How was it that I was still here? I vowed I’d never stay longer than three months!

Nothing had changed really in a year with our airline company, except the management, team expansion, team reduction and the elongated amount of minutes I stared at my face every morning wondering why I had more wrinkles around my mouth forming themselves like the sickest joker smile. I hated these lines; they made me look thirty, when I used to look twenty.

My skin had suffered from polluted battery acid air and month long clashes at work. My youth had vanished in this slow moving country, where time stood in the 13th century.

This had never been the type of  of environment suited for my eccentric personality. I loved fashion and prior to Kabul, I was on my way to Hong Kong. My soul wanted to follow the vibrant neon lights, the endless traffic and the stream of life always moving quickly. I’d hang around Lan Kwai Fong or Soho discovering the new cool and latest trends. Dreams of being surrounded by an artist filled fast life had been my goal after university.

I took a major detour, as a friend called me up for this job in Kabul. I had my doubts, as working with des amis can be tricky. I also knew her fickle personality, but said yes because I was really broke.

During a shift at this gritty calypso club, were I hung coats, I caught Zabbaleen’s call between a track that made everyone go wild in a bouncing frenzy and a stupid woman who had just finished arguing how to properly hang her coat. The dribbling beats had made me ask her to repeat three times her sentence and I was well ready to ask to call back when I finally understood.   Her request felt like light in the darkness of this club. It made me think. I did want money, but I explained my goal. She argued: ”Don’t you think you might make more money, by working here two three months and if you hate it so much leave.”

”Yeah, I guess so. But I already bought my ticket from Bangkok to Hong Kong.” I yelled so she could understand.

”Did you by you Montreal-Bangkok portion?” she said quickly. Zab, had always been a fast talker. No one could out talk her.

”Yes, but it is refundable, but the other isn’t.”I yelled again.

”So get a refund. Who cares if you loose money you’ll make more.You don’t even have a plan. At least I offer you a quick option to get out of here.”

She had a point. It was January, cold when I looked outside the coat check, up at the moving crowd, with sounds and spectacles of people I couldn’t stand, who stole my tips and spilled their drinks. I knew I wanted an out and a very quick one.

I warned her of the consequences of us working together, but she preferred to have someone she knew (and maybe control) instead of a Bosnian woman who probably hated her guts.

In a span of a week, I got hired by Daftar Terminals, packed and arrived in what would be an eye opening year. I had become a  Human Resources Manager for an airline that flew contractors from bases to bases in Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, when I had been solicited for this position everyone had failed to mention we were in Afghanistan illegally.

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