The man who knew my name after 15 years.

Life to me is a complicated maze, fulled with a tremendous amount of feelings, strange stories, bad decisions, bitter moments, mysterious tales, ugly realities, and in opposite of all that, there are good people, looking out for you, helping you in your keeping you sane. Because, as known, you can’t pass this life alone, you need a good number of people to help you and To guide you through it.

My father was lucky enough to have a friendship of that sort, a friend who kept his company for over four decades, and it’s not like this is a miracle to be written about. But it’s very special to me, because, well, as a kid who grew in his parents’ house and wasn’t into school that much, I had nothing much of entertainments but the opportunities to sneak to the guests room and to my father’s side when he was having guests. He won’t ask me to leave, not when he was discussing an important topic with a guest, instead, he’d hold my hand so tight till it hurts, as a punishment for impinging on him without his permission, he didn’t do it for more than five seconds, then he’d let go my hand and. That was the agreement.

My father and this man’s friendship was and still something I can’t figure out. They’ve known each other for over 45 years, since primary school. That equals my whole life and ten years more. His name was Mosaed. I first met him in 2001, that was the first time. We went together, my father and my old brother with him and his four sons in one car for a picnic 200 km away from home in a Thursday morning and came back at midnight. That was a long time ago, I can hardly remember the details. But I can’t forget the many laughs I had that day. He was a nice guy in general, even though that was 15 years ago, but as the Arabic saying goes “ Take a trip with a man to know him for himself.” That’s what happened, and that’s what I known him for.

Five months ago, March, 2016, I was in Riyadh accompanying my father in his last days as an employee, and then attend his retirement party. I didn’t want to miss it for the world. So, I dressed up and toke my camera and headed to the ministry building where things will take place. As my father and I got into the building, he asked me to wait for him in the waiting room, because he wanted to say hi to some people. I entered the waiting room and sat in the right row. I knew no one, I could stare at them for a half an hour and still won’t recognize anybody. Less than a half minute after I sat in my chair, the guy next to my uttered “hello Abdulmohsen.” I was literally shocked, no one there knew my name, not even the closest people I, personally, know. And I can swear nobody there’d know me, let alone my name. But that guy did. I replayed :“hello, how are you?” he then said, abruptly: “fine, where’s your father?” I said : “he’s outside greeting a couple of his friends and he’ll be here any minute”. He nodded and the conversation was over. Five minutes later, my father entered the waiting room and walked towards us, I was waiting impatiently to know who’s the guy and how he knew my name. My father started shaking the hands of three men who sat before us in the first row, then he reached this strange man, I was expecting a warm hug or loud cheers, Arab-like, since he asked for him by name, but it wasn’t anything like that. It was by all means a normal meeting. I didn’t know why. That’s how things went. They sat and started speaking in a normal tone, when another friend of them joined them and the three of them started kept chatting together.

Later on, when the during the party, I whispered to my father asking who was that man? he said that he was the guy we went with him to a picnic when I was very young.

The retirement party night was a memorable night, an unforgettable one, a night where I was able to, rarely, see my father being, completely, himself, to the point where I though he forgot I was with him because he made a joke he’d never make in front of me. Ever. The three met after years of being parted, years of working together in the same workplace. The first, my father moved to another city, the second Mosaed, transferred to another ministry, and now he’s retiring. The third, I couldn’t remember his name, but I’d never forget his funny jokes about my camera, was there to make fun of how the two are getting old, and other inside jokes I couldn’t follow. The three didn’t stop making jokes about their past years, remembering things that made laugh, people who used to work with them, and everything else for the rest of the night.

The thing which I still remember to this day, is how that guy knew my name, after more than a decade of seeing me for the first and only time, I’ve changed a lot and I have two brothers who have the same outlook as me. One of them was mistook to be me for an entire evening.

The bottom line, he who remembers his friend’s son name after all these years is someone who actually cares. To that I thank God for giving my father such friend.

Mosaed died very young this Saturday 27 of August 2016, four months after his mother died. May his fine soul rest in peace.