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Stranger than fiction

Brian Keelan's picture
Mon, 03/04/2019 - 15:19 -- Brian Keelan

My daughter Kate – who lives in Toronto – has a good friend there named Mais: a very attractive, young woman from Iraq. One day last fall, Kate and Mais were at our place for dinner and Mais told Sylvia and I about an experience she’d had as a result of her decision – a few years ago – to try on-line dating.

One of the people she met online was a man named Amir who messaged her with a simple: “Hi. How are you?” After a few back and forths, Mais finds out that Amir is 39 years old, has a medical degree from McMaster and is now doing his residency at St. Mike’s hospital; specializing in internal medicine. He told her he was born in Canada but his parents were from Syria. The online relationship soon moved to telephone conversations and shortly after that, they decided to take things to the next level and met at Moxies where they drank wine and talked until closing time, at 2 a.m. That went well and Mais thought he was a real charmer. Things progressed to a few double dates with Matt and his wife – two friends of Mais who lived in her building.

A month later, Mais’ father asked to meet him. Mais was surprised by how cool her dad was about the situation since this was not how a traditional Iraqi courtship worked. Amir hit a home run with Mais’ family. Her parents and two brothers all liked him; a lot. Her dad even invited him to his Canadian citizenship swearing in ceremony the next week. Amir said he would love to go but he had a wedding to go to that night. Mais wondered why she wasn’t invited but Amir told her he’d received the invitation before he met Mais, “and you know - with the seating and everything.” So, he goes to the wedding and texts Mais often to keep telling her how much he is thinking of her. Mais figures, “What a sweetheart.”

A few months later, Mais gets invited to Amir’s place at Bayview Village. That goes well but Amir tells her that she will not be able to come over very often because he is bringing his aging, traditional, non-English-speaking parents to live with him. Mais begins to get a little frustrated because he is on call so much and she sees very little of him. Amir smooths things over by playing the hard-working ambitious young doctor card.

Eight months into the relationship, Mais tells her mother that something just doesn’t feel right about Amir and she is thinking of breaking it off. Her parents and brothers are very upset because they think Amir is wonderful: he is very attentive to her family and is providing some very helpful medical care to them and friends: the old, “You’ve-got-an-uncle-in-the-furniture-business,” thing. Mais complains to her mother that she hardly ever gets to see him but her mother convinces her that she has commitment issues and Mais decides to stay in the relationship. She even lets Amir use her car while she subways it to work because, “after all, he is doing the lord’s work.”

Even so, after eleven months, Mais is increasingly bothered by the rarity of their time together. They go on vacation to Mexico and she pays for the trip because Amir was using all his money and credit to support his aging parents and his not so-well-off brother. Six months later he paid her back but she had to bug him about it a little… okay, a lot.

After that, Amir proposed to Mais. But, when Mais went to show her ring to her mother, she became somewhat suspicious about the way her mother was acting. She couldn’t put her finger on it and when questioned, her mother said everything was fine. But still - she had a feeling that something was not right.

Soon after that, her parents had a huge engagement party to celebrate the upcoming nuptials and spent a lot of money doing so. Mais and her family were quite surprised when Amir excused himself from the party at 10 p.m. to go to work.

A few days later, her friend Matt and his wife – who live in her building – tell Mais they have some concerns about Amir. They had searched for his name in the medical registry and Amir was not in there. Mais is confused. She has been to St. Mike’s and had lunch with Amir in the cafeteria. He was wearing his lab coat. Mais confides in my daughter about all this, and they conclude that no reasonable person could or would make up a story like this. I mean cummon, the guy’s a doctor. He even has his own stethoscope! Mais tells Matt to stop being so jealous.

A few days later her brothers called and said they were coming over to, “hang out.” They show up with a cousin and as Mais is making dinner for them, they tell her, “We don’t feel right?’

Mais says, “Why is that? You haven’t eaten yet.” (Mais has a great sense of humour)

The brothers tell her they don’t believe Amir is who - and what - he says he is.

In an effort to prove them wrong, Mais sends the brothers to St. Mikes and texts Amir to tell him her brother has an acute anxiety attack and is at the emergency room at St. Mike’s. Amir immediately replies, texting Mais to say he will meet her brother there in twenty minutes.

Her brothers get to the hospital early and – with Mais listening on speakerphone – they ask the receptionist for Dr. Amir Hobooty. The receptionist tells them she has no record of anybody in the system by that name. When Amir does arrive at reception – in his lab coat and with his stethoscope around his neck – the brothers confront him. Amir pleads with them to go back to their place and he will explain everything. Back at their place, he produces documents to back up his claim that this is all just a big clerical mistake. Once again, everybody drinks Amir’s Kool Aid and they continue with the wedding plans.

Mais and Amir meet at Kate’s place and after they leave, Kate and Jino – Kate’s boyfriend – figure, “Naw, nobody would lie about a thing like this. It’s just too preposterous. He could never hope to get away with it.”

On their way home from Kate’s, Amir excuses himself because he is on call at the hospital. Mais goes home alone but is awakened at 11:30 by her brother who tells her that they followed Amir to work that night and he did not go to the hospital. He went to a condo to see another woman.

Amir calls Mais the next day to admit that he is not really a doctor. He is a lab technician but even so, he really loves her. He just felt that a woman like her deserved to be with a doctor. Now Mais goes to see her mother and tell her what has happened and her mother tells her that on the day they got engaged, she gave Amir $20,000 to invest in a property in Chile.

After another conversation, a confused and upset Mais gets Amir to repay the money he borrowed from her mother.

A few days later Mais is in her office and someone from the sales staff comes in and tells her that there is a lady outside who wants to meet her. Mais goes out and meets a woman who says, “I am Christine, the wife of Amir Hobooty.”

Mais tells her, “I am Mais, the fiancé of Amir Hobooty.” They arrange to meet at Christine’s place that night and tell each other their stories.

That evening, Christine is at her place with Amir and he tells her that Mais is just some girl from work who has become obsessed with him. Ten minutes later Mais shows up and knocks on the door. Amir answers it and after having what can best be described as a shit fit, the walls came tumbling down.

Over the next few months it comes out that Amir not only has a mistress in Chile, he has a son with her. He met the Chilean lady when he was on his honeymoon with Christine.

*****

Christine is now divorced from Amir. She and Mais went to the police and filed charges against Amir for impersonating a doctor – which is a felony in Canada. Amir was fired from his job and banned from working in that field for life in Canada. Amir was last seen sleeping on the floor in Union Station

These days, Mais has put that experience behind her and is living in Ajax with her fiancé, a really nice guy named Steve.

After hearing all this, I have three thoughts running through my head.

1: The main difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense. Reality? Not so much.

2: It is good to forgive but it is not smart to forget.

3: Karma’s a bitch isn’t it Amir?

Those are just my opinions and I could be wrong. But I think you’ll have to agree that you just can’t make up a story like this. Nobody would ever believe it. Do you?

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