Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back to London

I'm on my way to the airport as I write this... A few days ago my grandparents threw a party in celebration of fifty years of marriage. My grandmother (yes, the one who had the stroke) sat while my grandfather, my uncle, my aunt and my mother stood behind her for a family photo. And then we, the grandchildren, joined. I think it is amazing what these two people, my grandparents, have accomplished: a beautiful family. My grandmother breaks my heart, in a way that I feel like sharing the same bed with her and listening to her tell me bedtime stories as in the older days.

I have been in Lebanon since April. I came back to Lebanon because everything went wrong and I needed to get back home to get better... And today I return to the same city, to London that I left last April, hopefully better and stronger and ready to finally complete my doctoral studies. I am filled with motivation and strength but a part of me feels broken for leaving behind many loved ones but most importantly my beautiful mother. She is the home I have in Lebanon. How I shall miss her and need her...

I think as I get older, I grow more sensitive to the cruelty of time. When I was five years younger, I had the heart of an eagle. I would travel and roam around without having to look back - only because I thought I could always come back and things would be the same. But after my grandmother had her stroke and my father discovering a not so common defect in his heart, more like a ticking bomb, and after the passing of many dear ones, I feel this strange fear of loss.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I was back in London at the station and you were there. I ran towards you and threw myself at you as I always would. But you pushed me back. "Who are you?" were the words you said. "It's me handsome. It's me." But you couldn't recognize me. That light in your eyes was gone. And it was as if we, our story, had never happened... I touched your hand but you pulled it away. And just like that, you walked away from me. You walked towards another lady. She looked exactly like me only she wasn't me. She wore my skirt and held my bag. You took her in your arms and played with her hair. And then you took her by the hand and disappeared with her into the crowd. I stood there and I couldn't move. Right then and there my heart stopped. I had died.

And I woke up. I was back in my familiar room and under my cream sheets. I took my phone and hurriedly wrote a message to you. "Saba7 al kheir" I wrote. "Saba7 al ward" you wrote back.

I smiled. It was only a nightmare.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I have walked through graveyards only a few times in my life. But each time it became more apparent to me that love stories are hidden amongst the tombs that mark these graves.

The dried rose petals, the withered jasmine, the burnt candles, all scattered over tombs that rest upon cushions of green. And then there is that one leaf rustling in the wind, breaking through the silence that wraps these graves.

And then in the background, there are the trees, that grow above the church, paying heed to the callous eyes of death. And there are the names that no longer are, and the stories that have ceased to be, some over here and some over there, some even carved into the stones...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I used to love Christmas when I was a little girl. I loved helping my mother decorate the tree and I enjoyed waking up on the morning of Christmas to find gift boxes under the tree. I believed that Santa Claus existed and I would try my best to stay up as late as possible to intercept him. But I couldn't. Those were the days when I was young and had a healthier sleep pattern.

This year my mother asked me to put up the tree - something which I had little interest in doing. But she said she was tired and had been complaining of backaches. What is a good daughter that doesn't do her mother this favor?

So, despite my lack of enthusiasm, for the first time in nearly a decade, I decorated the tree. I spent a whole evening and a few hours the next morning trying to create the perfect Christmas tree.

But meanwhile, it occurred to me that I felt quite uneasy about December, about Christmas, about the red and green and gold, about fairies and angels and dwarfs, about church bells and Christmas carols, about the lights and contrived festive atmosphere, the gifts and the food, the laughter and the noise.

Have I become a bit like Scrooge?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dad this is the song you used to sing for us in the mornings when we were kids. I loved waking up to your gentle voice. I miss you, always...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I recently caught up with an old friend of mine from school and neighbor from the old building where we lived. I remember she was my main competition in our English Literature class and we were always trying to score points with our teacher. But we were also good friends but cautiously so, in the belief that it was best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

It had been some time so we proceeded to recall the good old days and what books we were currently reading. We moved from one book to another author and then to another poet and then to our vast and rich heritage of Arabic literature that we vowed to (re)discover and in depth. A must. And then we were back to our dear William Shakespeare. We began to exhibit our prowess in how much of Shakespearean literature we knew by heart. And I remembered...

...the first time I decided that I wanted to fall in love with Shakespeare. It was after I'd watched Marianne (played by Kate Winslet) in a scene from Sense and Sensibility recite the following stanzas from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116:

Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove: / O no! it is an ever-fixed mark / That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

I don't think that at fourteen I really understood the significance of such a sonnet or the rest of his sonnets for that matter. But I was smitten and so it was the first sonnet that I'd decided to memorize; after I finished the film, I went into my room and repeated the sonnet until I could recite it by heart.

As I watch this scene again, I am taken back to that evening. How time flies. It feels like yesterday although a decade and a half has passed. I think I do understand the sonnet better today than I did then. And the scene too. How in the pursuit of love Marianne was convinced that it was (the unkind) Mr. Willloughby for whom she had traveled very far and with whom her happiness rested when all along her happiness was with the honest and loving Colonel Christopher Brandon. It was only a matter of time before she'd realized it - and she was fortunate he was still there to have her. Life is funny like that.

Sleep is a reconciling,
A rest that Peace begets.
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at e'en he sets
Rest you then, rest, sad eyes,
Melt not in weeping
While she lies sleeping,
Softly, softly, now softly lies sleeping.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

This weekend between morning walks and early dinners, I talked to him about home. He told me that he was able to adapt anywhere and everywhere but that he longed to return to the one and only home, to where his mother lives, to where his ancestors came from, to the land, to the Watan. And his words reminded me of my father because this is what he has always taught us. To long for and belong to the land.

I struggle heavily with the notion of home. And I shall not pretend otherwise. There are times when I feel like a flower in a garden, only I am bending in the other direction. A friend of mine studying psychology once told me that we are forever stuck in our childhoods. I don't know who said it or if it applies to everybody but sometimes it does to me. I sometimes think I am still that little girl in the Watan I once knew in my childhood - it is now but a memory. My father used to always say that the Watan for him was this triad of the land, the wife, and the family.

I am all by myself aimlessly wandering around this large mall and I look around me and observe the Britons and foreigners that surround me, and I wonder if they, like my father, know very well the word Watan...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I have again and again grown like grass;

I have experienced seven hundred and seventy moulds.

I died from minerality and became vegetable;

And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.

I died from animality and became man.

Then why fear disappearance through death?

Next time I should die

Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels,

After that soaring higher than angels -

What you cannot imagine, I shall be that.

- Rumi

Monday, October 24, 2011

This is a song that I love. I listened to it heavily last March. On my way to the supermarket, in the cab, walking to school, at the cafe, and on the tube. I loved listening to it particularly on the tube because it made British public transport seem sweet.

And Ziad Sahhab has the most soothing voice.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I had a dream last night and in my dream, I was back to the city of London in the early winter of 2008. It all seemed real and I was back to that person I used to be. I was at the station waiting for the 73 bus. It was very crowded. People were alighting and others getting on. Suddenly I noticed this old lady. She looked like my grandmother - only she wasn't. She had my grandmother's smile, my grandmother's nose and my grandmother's wrinkles. She had her blonde hair and her blue eyes with her bouffant hairstyle. She was wearing a green tailleur - one of grandmother's favorite. She looked at me and smiled. And in that moment I was inclined to approach her and ask her if she would agree to play grandmother and granddaughter with me. But I did not.

And I awoke.

This dream reminded me of a time when I had just started my doctoral studies and I was exhausted from trying to keep up with the required level of research and I was beginning to feel lonely. And, homesick.

I am glad I am not in that place anymore. It was just a dream.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I know I said I didn't appreciate the film. But I thought the music was beautiful, which was composed by Nadine Labaki's husband, Khaled Mouzannar.

Tonight this song makes a lot of sense.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


When I was a little girl, I was in such a hurry to grow up. I did live in the present, but I fantasized more about the future. I wanted to be so many things that I have not been able to be. Well, maybe soon I will become a doctor. That, I did dream of. Well, kind of.

I was in such a hurry to grow up that now I long for my childhood. It was a time when I thought that life was timeless, deathless, never-ending... I thought I could conquer the world and do many things while at it. I would be a doctor, an actress, a dancer, a maths teacher, a restauranteur, a taxi driver, a footballer, a princess and many other things. That was when I was an 8 year old girl living somewhere in a little home in Africa.

Back then I used to read Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree series. These books outlined my earliest understanding of the world. I believed that anything was possible. There was a time when I actually thought little fairies and magical things did exist. But they only happened to those who believed in them, and I believed. And I thought that if I played under that huge tree in our back garden, fantastic things would happen to me just like in the book.

I was not afraid of bugs and I always looked for grasshoppers. I played with the little white kittens and went on lizard hunts and rode my bicycle in circles around the garden. I flew a heavy kite I'd designed and made after watching a children's TV show. But for some reason, my kite would barely lift. And I'd take it back inside for some remodeling. I'd enter through the front sliding doors into our sitting room and smell beautiful aromas from the kitchen. It would be noontime. Who else but my lovely mommy preparing lunch cause daddy was going to be home soon. And this song would be playing in the stereo. Back then, it was all about cassettes... and this is a song that has never left me.

Tonight I lost over 2500 pictures. Of places, of friends, of family, of grandmother, of my mother's 50th birthday this August...

And a good chunk of them were from my trip to Istanbul. I took particularly beautiful images from the Grand Bazaar. I remember I stopped every few meters trying to capture the shapes, the colors, the hanging ouds, the necklaces and the beads, the lanterns...

Oh well. I guess I'll have to go to Istanbul again and take that walk in the Grand Bazaar.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Plea

To find me you must stop the noise:
silence the guns and the tanks,
the shouted orders
and the shouts of defiance,
screaming and weeping,
and listen.

My voice is very weak.
You must try to hear it.
You will have to come close
and pick away the tumbled stones
carefully, gently.

When you find me, lift me out,
help me to breathe;
set my broken limbs
but don't think it's enough
to give me back a fragile existence.

I need food and water,
I need a home that will last,
health and hope and work to do.
I need love.

You must embrace me
and take me to your heart.
My name is Peace.

Sue Sabbagh, June 2002

from Palestine: History of a Lost Nation by KARL SABBAGH

This is the opening poem from the latest book I've started reading and the book, thus far, seems promising. But the poem, I really loved.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I have been back in Lebanon for over a day now. I am finding it slightly difficult accepting that I have left behind something very special in London. But I take great solace in the fact that we carry with us what is special in our hearts no matter where we roam - that we never leave something behind unless we decide to expunge it from our hearts.

This evening I spent a little bit more than an hour alone by myself with my maternal grandmother. I don't remember the last time I sat with her alone since her stroke and had a proper chat - more like she telling me stories from her younger days. I was quite happy to listen to her.

She related - for the first time to me - how she had applied to work as an air hostess at MEA in the late 1950s. She was even interviewed and almost accepted. "They told me that I matched all their criteria. They were pleased that I was fluent in both Arabic and French and were willing to teach me English" she proudly recounted. But her brother, who was a doctoral student in Paris at the time, wrote her a one-line letter that read:

هذه وظيفة لا تليق بفتاة شرقية 
[This job is not for an Eastern girl]

Like a good girl in our part of the world, she did not question her brother's disapproval. She instead applied for a teaching job in the public service. She got married a few years later and says that she never regretted her choice because it provided a comfortable and stable income - which is exactly what she needed as a working mother.

She loved (and still does as much as her legs and walking stick permit) walking and she would refuse to get a lift from my grandfather, who had a taste for both handsome suits and automobiles. She told me how she would even walk to school during the civil war, that there was always a sense of fear in her heart. "If I saw a huddle of people, I would worry. And if I saw no people at all and the streets were empty, I would worry all the same..." She would then pause and say "الله الحامي" [God protects]. She still took that twelve minute walk to school and then back.

Whenever we visited from Africa, we'd stay over at hers and granddad's. Sometimes she would take me with her to school - it was the last school where she taught because she'd moved between several schools including an Armenian school. She would get me my favorite, a croissant, from the bakery on our way and a bottle of juice. And she would let me make-believe I was teacher by allowing me to scribble on the blackboard. Of course, I don't recall playing teacher with her students. But, I'll take her word for it.

"Our times were better..." she said. Then grabbed her walking stick and stood up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The first books I read for Kamal Salibi were The Bible Came From Arabia followed by Who Was Jesus. I remember spending a whole day and night locked in my room until the faint morning light crept through my window and I'd realized that it was the next day and I was still without a second of sleep. It was November and it was raining outside and foggy and just typical of London. I always loved the weather in London when I looked out of the window - but never when I had to walk out of the door. I had class - and I wanted to speak to my professor about the books - so I changed and braved the rush hour of the tube to get to school.

I used to love our professor, this Indiana Jones type of character who had converted to Islam and married a Muslim woman and stunk of alcohol. I assume he consumed whiskey like water, probably even used it to wash his face and brush his teeth. I was much younger, and I don't mean just in years, and I had found in him someone who was ready to answer my questions in a very captivating manner and from a place of experience and knowledge that I lacked. After class, I followed him to his office. I was at that time most interested in researching and studying the three monotheistic religions, hence why I felt it necessary to study contentious work that defied convention - regardless of whether it was complete and utter nonsense - such as Kamal Salibi or Patricia Crone or Christoph Luxenberg amongst others. As I sat in the mess that was his office, he talked to me about a paper he wanted to share with me that addressed the issue of Paraclete/Parakletos in the Gospel of John. He had always been interested in finding and emphasizing the nexus between, especially, Islam and Christianity.

I told him I had been reading Salibi's works on the Bible. He pleaded with me not to waste my time on such works. "Why?" I exclaimed. "Because it is, to say the least, an exhilarating read, however it is based on an unsound foundation of merely philological examination of history with complete disregard to archaeological evidence and without a multi-disciplinary investigation of varied sources." I remember I did not like how he brought me down and I did not understand why - at least not right away. Now that so many years have passed and I have read Salibi's seminal A House of Many Mansions, I understand what Professor Indiana Jones there was trying to convey to me. Salibi, in this book, presents a reinterpretation of the Lebanon myth(s) and a departure from an earlier history of Lebanon which he had written several decades earlier. While I feel that Salibi is good at disregarding certain facts when writing history (as with many in the business of writing and rewriting history), this book qualifies as a fine examination of the different perceptions of the history of Lebanon as held by the different politico-sectarian groups within the Lebanese makeup. It is one of his best regarded works, particularly when compared with his controversial studies on the history of the Bible.

I am regretful that I had to cancel on a chance to have tea with him some time last year. I had a pressing matter to attend to and I somehow took it for granted that the opportunity to meet with Salibi would not be lost. I wonder what I would have said to him or whether I would have been star struck. My friend tells me that Salibi was quite expansive and talkative and that I would have been at ease talking, rather listening to him. Anyways, I wanted to say something or write something about this man. That he is really brave for asking the questions he did and for looking at the world from a different angle and for undertaking such research and arriving at such conclusions. Whether there may be some truth in his postulations or whether he was completely mistaken. At least he tried. Now that he has passed from this world, I wonder if he has come to learn the truth of what there is after death, who Jesus really was, and whether the Bible came from Arabia.

Here is an excerpt from A House of Many Mansions, which, sadly, still holds true for our Lebanon even after the passing of several decades :

"Officially, the Lebanese Republic still exists within its internationally recognized borders, and so does the state...The state [in reality], however, has long ceased to exercise sovereign control over its national territory. There remains an administrative bureaucracy which continues to provide a cover of legitimacy to public and private transactions, as well as a minimum of public services of deteriorating quality. Otherwise, particularly where security is concerned, citizens are left to fend for themselves. In different parts of the country, different Christian or Muslim gangs are in control...The people of Lebanon remain as divided as ever; the differences among them have come to be reflected geographically by the effective cantonization of their country, and by massive population movements between the Christian and Muslim areas which have hardened the lines of division.

In all but name, Lebanon today is a non-country."

Monday, September 12, 2011

While I drove back home last night, I was blinded by the high beams of this ambulance coming up behind me. I moved over and in a few seconds it had disappeared into the dark. That feeling of sickness in my stomach - that I seem to have been carrying around recently - intensified twofold. I think the ambulance was probably driving at more than 160 kmh. I know because I, too, was driving like I had an urgency. How very irresponsible on my part. I know. But I longed to get home from what seemed the longest drive of my life. A bit exaggerated but it seemed unending. I could only think of how I still needed to park the car, go up to my house, get out of my heels and clothes, get into something comfortable, brush my teeth, wipe my mascara and just hope that exhaustion would numb me into sleep. A few moments later I drove past the scene of the accident, which involved three cars and it seemed terrible. I recited a quick prayer and kept driving as fast as I could.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

When I was going through some old boxes earlier tonight, I happened on a stack of old photographs that I had overlooked and forgotten about. I sat on the floor and spread out the photographs.

Before me was another world. A world that my mother, father, and grandparents belonged to and loved – and often poeticized – and that itself belonged to the past. Not much a distant past because, in some absurd way, I belong to a segment of this past. Who I am is inescapably a consequence of this past that preceded me.

There was a photograph of my grandmother sitting on a chair and behind her was her portable little radio. She looked like she had been caught by surprise in a moment of unreadiness. She was never one to enjoy posing for the camera. I remember sometimes – whenever it wasn’t the news - Umm Kulthoum’s voice on the radio resonating across the house as my grandmother prepared lunch. I had no idea what Umm Kulthoum looked like until one day I saw this woman through the television set standing on stage with her handkerchief reciting in the same voice I heard from the radio. There was an eroticism, in the noble form of the word, that she represented and that later when I grew older, I fell deeply in love with.

That was the television, which represented for me a world of endless possibilities. I was enthralled by its images, sounds and stories. I would wait for everyone to disappear into the kitchen or sit on the balcony and I would take up my favorite hobby – after, of course, playing dress-up in grandma’s shoes and frocks. I was particularly fascinated with old films from Egypt, and I was living vicariously. There was something magical about this melodrama of forbidden love in black and white from the golden years of Egyptian Cinema. But then, I became more interested in colored films from the 60s with the typical virginal heroines and later with the slightly unrestrained women of the 70s. And most of these films, in some way, inspired what cannot be described in words, a certain feeling of sadness - but one that rarely concluded without that glimpse of hope.

And the reason for this excursion? Maybe my attempt to confer meaning on a past that seems to be weathering away, for which I feel a deep sense of regret...

It is nearly five hours past midnight and I can hear the adhan in the background. For as much as it is soothing, it reminds me more than anything of how awfully tired I am.

I walk to the balcony where I sit and write against the backdrop of buildings that have long gone to sleep. I feel stifled by an intense kind of fear. Most of my days I live in a sense of panic that does not necessarily seem to be connected to anything in particular. Or it could be that my stomach is ulcerated. Sometimes I even rethink my need to be around people, even the dearest of people to me. I just feel unable to contain their sounds and voices and words and emotions.

I think I am starting to lose the dream in my heart. This said, it could be very possible that it is only a feeling that shall pass once I get some sleep. I will sit here for a few more moments and listen to this beautiful song that takes me to younger, and happier, days.

Friday, September 02, 2011

It has not been particularly hot this summer, unlike last year. But, many things were different last year... A few days ago it rained in the early hours of the morning, and the day persisted in greys. And today I sat in a bistro with a friend and I could feel the sun shy. It hardly worked its way down my shoulders. I watched a few tourists walk in and out, several women engaged in conversation, and a young couple lounging in the corner. There were very few people around us and many tables were empty. It is as if autumn has arrived – sooner than its time. Somewhere after main course, I could feel a little bit sick to my stomach. It is difficult to explain such a feeling or why it happens to me these days. The most I can say is that the numbness is gone and I am now, perhaps, a bit terrified. But what has made me this way? And my natural instinct is to run away. Or escape but I long more to be found. And I find myself in the midst of a dance, where change and loss flicker around me in a complex reciprocity. I am not sure what to do about it. Sometimes, it is all too much for me. But I love it – maybe because this new, in all its unpredictability, promises beauty, just immense beauty.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Feeling introspective tonight.

I have been trying to learn this beautiful piece over the past few weeks. I will eventually be able to play it without looking at the notes. But, tonight I just want to listen to it. And I want to think of that beautiful little French city on the river. And how far from it I have come.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sorrow - dark, sweet, poisonous - follows me. Sometimes it is fierce and glaring, following closely ahead, every time threatening to subdue me into disability. Sometimes, it is but a shadow that walks behind or beside me, rushing after me in every direction, that it becomes an extension of my self. Sometimes it visits me in the night, as a stabbing pain, or as an augury of death, driving away the slumber from my eyes. Sometimes it paralyses me with fear, that the fear of living becomes more immense than the fear of dying. Sometimes it hangs over me, drawing the kohl on my eyes, and lining the smile from my lips that I seem almost without sorrow. However so, we have never been closer, sorrow and I.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

hüzün in Istanbul

For twelve months, I studied the Ottoman Empire in hopes of one day referring to myself by the boastful title of Ottomanist. I spent many sleepless nights learning the mosques of Istanbul (and Bursa, and Edirne) with absolute devotion. One evening in March I decided to miss class for sleep and was awakened by a phone call from my classmate. She told me that my essay scored the highest in our class. I almost fell off my single bed. I rushed to share the great news with my flatmates - or rather lined the five of them up to have them watch me dance around in a few moments of transient happiness. This was nearly half a decade ago.

However, this fascination for, particularly, the mosques of this period never escaped me. I always imagined that one day I would find myself in the presence of such magnificence as the Süleymaniye or the Selimiye or the NuruOsmaniye or the Fatih or the Sultanahmet. And that they would cause my heart to stop beating. Indeed, for a few seconds.

Below her skyline of domes, minarets and towers, Istanbul is a city that overwhelms the onlooker. With all her colors, textures, smells, sounds, and flavors. Sometimes my head would become overfilled with all things Istanbul. I would often escape into silence on the balcony of my hotel. I would sit in the early evening on my own and watch the Bosphorus in peace - away from all the noise, the hustle and bustle, the people. 

When I walk through the streets and bazaars of Istanbul, my companion has been Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul: Memories and the City. At moments, such as when the sun is setting and the sky is an orange hue, I would look for "hüzün". Or melancholy. In his memoir, Orhan Pamuk devotes a whole chapter to the "hüzün of an entire city", which he explains is shared amongst the inhabitants of Istanbul. 

"To feel this hüzün is to see the scenes, evoke the memories, in which the city becomes the very illustration, the very essence, of hüzün." 

This "hüzün" is a collective melancholy that is rather poetic than just sad, just dispirited, just despondent.

Perhaps I have felt this "hüzün" in the few places I have been. In London, the winds of late September arrive, the paths are covered with fallen leaves, a palette of crimson and gold washes across the oaks and chestnuts, wayfarers rush to escape the imminent frost, the sky is grey and veiled with clouds, the sun goes into hiding, sometimes emerging only to take leave moments later, red double deckers whir down the streets, followed by black cabs, and hurried bicycles, and as the day ages, the air grows progressively colder.
And many miles away in another city, I sit on this bus as it drives by the Bosphorus. I lay the book on the empty seat next to me, and I stop to look from the window. Red wooden summerhouses and baroque palaces line the waterside, ferryboats are travelling across and their reflection on the waters are outlines of crimson, amber, emerald and azure and people are walking before this perpetual tableau. How could I capture such that is only felt? And only passing? One day I shall look back on this fleeting moment of "hüzün" and I shall wonder if ever I were here. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

old habits die hard

It is dark here and everyone is asleep in the house. I walk to the kitchen and open the fridge. I feel a prevailing sense of loneliness. I thought it would disappear once I had returned to Lebanon. It hasn't. But, it is slightly less biting than the loneliness I felt earlier this spring within the walls of my modern studio in the heart of London.

I was looking for something tantalizing to put in my mouth and there in the corner in the lower compartment was a basket full of cigarette boxes. Brand new cigarette boxes still in their plastic film. Partagás, Cohiba Club, Davidoff Slims, Glamour Menthol, More, Vogue SuperSlims. Some of these names I never knew existed and I have spent one third of my life with cigarettes. In my house, they like to collect these lovely looking cigarette boxes. But, they never touch them. Except for one box of Cohiba Club that had already been opened - maybe many months ago - and was missing one cigarillo. The first thing that came to my mind was that I could steal a cigarillo and smoke it on the balcony. But I didn't. Not because of my high sense of obligation towards a promise I made more than three years ago. But simply because I just could not be bothered to be reincarnated into my 16 year old self. Sneaking onto the farthest corner of the balcony and lighting a cigarette at 3 am. Maybe some other time.

Instead, I thought I'd write about it. But, I had already made my grand departure. Who's going to take me seriously again? Well, I don't care too much anymore about what is right or wrong. And I am not very sorry for the big farewell. I truly did believe at that point that I did not want to write. I had promised myself I'd stop writing once it became a burden. And I did stop. I felt such a great sense of relief. Like I had unloaded a crate of bananas from on my shoulders.

I guess the only thing in life that is constant is change. And, I have had a change of mind. I want to write again. I want to print my own words in this black void of (cyber) space. In the other dimension of reality, I have dressed myself in a slightly stiff exterior recently. It is my way of shielding myself. From being vulnerable again. To my own foolish dreams. However, deep down, very deep down, I want to escape these walls I have locked myself within. And here is the place where I could set myself free on a little recess like when we were back in school.

A few days ago, I was on the phone to one of my good friends. She told me how she wanted to return to the world of blogging, how she would adopt a new identity and discuss whatever the hell was on her mind. I felt a sense of wistfulness and I told her how I was beginning to regret "liquidating" my blog. She advised me to follow her example: return with a new persona. While I carry more individuals than I can count in this one little frame, I could only be posh lemon the blogger. To the outsider, this name may represent nothing or maybe someone very silly and pretentious. I don't know. To me, it is my only and dearest nom de plume.

At my first residence in London, I made so many friends - more males than females for obvious reasons (female jealousy and all that). But, they were all lightweight, most of whom are no longer part of my life (or even my facebook). But some remained... A few of these were three unforgettable Black British girls, two from the Caribbean and one from Africa. We became close, the best of friends actually and I had the most amazing time with them - until I started believing the title they had given me. Posh is what the title was. They called me Posh all the time. And Lemon - well, apart from my appetite for limes, lemons, citrus fruits and all things sour, I always wished my parents had called me Lemon. Instead, they picked for me a much less than ordinary name.

I am back. I guess old habits die hard.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This is my last post. Goodbye.

So, it's that time when I write this farewell post. I've said goodbye once before - back in February 2009. But I didn't truly mean it. I didn't even delete my posts and archive. I didn't limit my blog. And I resumed only 3 weeks later.

But this time I mean it. I have given this much and enough thought. And my reasons are many - which I shall not get into. But, I'll just say that it is a feeling that this blog has overstayed it's welcome, and that it has exhausted its charge. However, those 4 years of blogging have, dare I say, changed my life.

I actually had a beautiful post in my draft folder that I had wanted to publish in June. I talked about my trip to the states and how it's been almost a year since I stood in the airport in California and waved goodbye in tears. I stood there and it crossed my mind for a split second, that maybe had it not been for this blog, for being posh lemon, I wouldn't be there in that moment of time. My life, indeed, took a different turn. Maybe I'll leave this for a future book deal - I pray I get one.

And, after over 6 months of deliberation, I finally took this brave decision to delete almost 4 years worth of posts. A small legacy. A posh lemon legacy - if I may.

For those of you who have been reading this blog and sharing your valuable comments and advice, thank you so much. For those of you who have written me emails and had to wait for days and weeks for a procrastinating Posh to respond to you, thank you so much (for being patient with me). For those of you who were tempted so many times to tell me off or lambast me but never did, thank you so much (for sparing my already soft feelings). And for those of you who have invited me to meet and build a "real" friendship and had to bear a rejection from me, thank you so much (for not taking offense and for understanding. I am flattered and I do have some regrets)

And for those of you few bloggers (and you know yourselves), whom I got to know on a personal level beyond this blog, thank you for breaking and entering. I say breaking and entering because that's what happened. It was not necessarily my choice but I am glad it happened despite me. My life wouldn't have been the same. You have truly made that great difference because each of you are very special individuals in your own right. So, for being my friends, thank you so much.

I am not very far away. I am on twitter. As posh lemon. At least for the time being. And, I will still be here. Commenting on your posts. Checking your blogs out. Cheering you on. You can reach me any time.