So, back to the original weird American.
As I said, it is not really about how weird or not he is as a person. Some people act weird when placed in a weird situation. And the situation was, indeed, odd.
Imagine two young, reasonably attractive (so I say so myself) single girls. One Azeri and one American. On their way to Moscow, for a little city break.
Now, imagine my shock when my friend suddenly announced (pretty much last minute) that a colleague of hers was joining us. A male colleague.
Not only did he join us, he also shared the room with us. I repeat that again: the three of us. In one room.
There are a few important details worth mentioning.
My friend was not dating that guy. I never realized they were such close friends, to share a trip together, let alone a hotel room. To me, that was a slightly strange thing to do. I would not normally offer to share a room with a guy unless I had some ulterior motives. My friend really did not have any ulterior thoughts about this guy. Just friendship.
But, I thought, those guys are Americans. Who knows? Maybe it is the norm in their country to be that friendly?
That happened about 12 years ago. Naturally, I have forgotten mostly everything about that trip. I can only remember that I was constantly annoyed with this guy. He sort of cramped our style. I just remember him not being much fun.
But he was a nice guy. And having returned to Baku determined to never speak to him again, I soon changed my mind. We had been on a trip together. That gives people a special bond, you know? You get to know each other pretty well in one week of living in one small hotel room.
So,12 years later, I found him on Facebook. We quickly added each other as friends and said hello a few times. And then, one night, sitting here, blogging as usual, I received a chat message from the guy. He brought up our trip to Moscow and was remembering things I could not remember even if you paid me.
‘Remember that night I shouted at you? I still feel terrible about that’ he said.
‘You shouted at me?’ I was getting somewhat confused by then.
‘Seriously?’ I asked ‘You shouted at me and got away with it?’
‘No!’ He added ‘Oh, no.... I did not get away with it. You did not hold my hand again after that.’
This was where I stopped blogging and focused on the chat. Hold his hand?
When, how, in which parallel universe, could I have possibly held his hand?
‘Yes’ he insisted. ‘You initiated it.’
He proceeded to explain that one night, when the three of us went to sleep, I reached out and took his hand.
‘No, no, no!’ I said. ‘I really could not have done that!’
What I really tried to avoid telling him was that I found him terribly irritating back then. And if I am not attracted to a man and find him terribly irritating, the chances of me holding any part of him are very slim!
He told me not to worry as it was a friendly gesture. Nothing intimate, nothing sexual. I just held his hand in the dark.
You know this feeling, when someone tells you something so creepy, so weird that you think the only way this could be explained is if one of you was mentally ill?
I tried to probe him for some more details. Was he sure it was me and not my American friend? Americans can be sentimental. Perhaps, in the middle of the night, in wild Russia, missing her cats, my friend felt lonely and afraid. Perhaps, she reached out and held his hand? Because I honestly did not.
But he would not explain any more. I would ask him a leading question and he would answer by asking something else. Like about Christine.
‘By the way, do you remember Christine in Baku? ‘ He asked.
‘No, why? ‘ I panicked ‘Did I hold her hand, too?’
‘No’ he said. ‘Just curious.’
At that point, I realized that not only I was pretty sure I never did hold his hand, I now remembered precisely why I could have never done.
At least, I thought, logging off from the chat, I should be grateful that, in his delusional world, holding hands was the only thing he imagined us doing. It really is kind of disturbing what some people believe happened when it actually did not. Besides, it would have been creepy enough if it did happen, and he still remembered after 12(!!!) years. Let alone when it never did.