He is from Lebanon, but had left his country many years before I met him. He was wearing a pink t-shirt and introduced himself with a smile. He was going to be my flatmate. We shared a house for the first 6 months I lived in Brazil. He had a lot of nervous energy and he was loud. I got used to the phone calls he made to his mother and the Arabic music coming from his room. I remember very well one Saturday morning, when I woke up and I opened the door of my room and he was there just outside. He was almost in panic because he had to pee, but there was a dead cockroach in the bathroom and he wanted me to take it away first! He had been waiting for over 3h, but he didn't think he should wake me up. We used to work in the same group. He was a theoretician and he was scared of being in the laboratory. He worked constantly and he was very good at his job. He still is, I'm sure. I remember a conversation about him that I had in the lab with my colleagues. They were sure he was gay. I asked them why? Just because he wears pink and he is loud? I had lived with him for two weeks then and I had not thought about that, so they surprised me with their assumptions. They showed me his status on Facebook. He was (is) gay. It was then and there that I realised that being gay or not was not something that mattered to me. It was exactly the same. He also didn't care about other people's comments. Truth being told, he is so likable and funny that even the ones who took longer to tolerate him got used to his personality. It's impossible to not have a good laugh with him. We became good friends and I could tell you a thousand other stories about him. Like the time I made codfish cakes and they were so good that he couldn't resist but steal a few (maybe even a lot!). Like the time HE had to do a stomach exam, and I ended up fainting, so when he woke up from his anesthetics he was the one consoling me and not the other way around. Like the time he was scared of a moth but I couldn't remember the word for it in English so I described it as an animal that eats clothes and he shouted in the middle of the whole department "We are going to be naked!!!!!".
Life brought us apart but I know that I can count on him, the same way he can count on me. I hope he knows that. Because he is special. He is unique. He is Elie.