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...