Monday, 12 October 2009

Rehashed Post ~ Reflections on Return

A few days ago, friend of mine asked me to submit something I've written about Beirut by today for a reading she wants to do in New York. Being under a lot of pressure work-wise (refer to previous post), I decided to take parts of a post I wrote a while ago, rehash and add and modify. Snip snip stitch glue tada. There is also a whole new Scene added (the first one)

I made the Beirut references more obvious too, since, well.. Not everyone is aware of my situation at the time, or what I am talking about.

anyway. this is it.

Reflections on Return: 
4 Scenes in No Particular Order


The Thames River always saw the worse side of me. As I’d cross the bridge going towards the art museums on South Bank, I’d leer at the murky brown waters from above. A frown would form as I brought my shoulders up around my neck to protect it from the sting of the cold, I’d shake my head offended, then pause at one point, before reaching the other side, to face the waters as I cursed it, calling its feeble attempt to pass as a body of water pathetic and shameful, ending with a dramatic spitting motion. It became a ritual of mine, an infamous tradition that I carried out regardless of the weather that day, or the company I was with, or the mood I was in. With every outburst, I felt the spite within me grow, balanced with a longing and a melancholy that just made my existence harder to cope with. When they asked me why I was so angry, why I was bitter, I told them I was hurt. I told them I took the Thames’ aesthetic (or lack thereof) personally. 
After all, I told them, I was a daughter of the Mediterranean, and next to that, the Thames was a muddy, stagnant puddle on the side of a soulless city highway.


The sun stained the Mediterranean pink, Grapefruit pink, as it melted into the water, dissolving and tinting the sea. The warmth from its glow was slowly cooled by the salt whipped wisps of breeze that kept the hair out of my eyes. The waves rippled slowly, creating an illusion of migrating fluid creatures, moving from one horizon to the other, moving in unison and in tempo, with the music in my ears setting the beat. Rachmaninov, and Moonlight sonata.. As I sat still in front of this sea of love, my sea of love, all seems to make sense. In fact, nothing makes sense except for the sight in front of my eyes... Why would I leave it's side? The waves may snarl at me warning me of its depths.. but it suffices to sit on the sand and watch the sun bring a day to its end, with the glorious city of Beirut behind me. It will rise tomorrow.. the Same Sun. The Same sun sets and rises over this city, we live one day. Our whole lives have been one day continuously, and continues to be one day. Same Sun, but never the same sea.

I'm in the shower, and I'm tired, and agitated and I stand there naked, arms crossed and clinging to my shoulders. Through the small bathroom window the Mosque calls to prayer, and I can hear the laugh track from Seinfield playing on the neighbour’s TV. The rooster inconveniently living on the roof of the building next door crows in unison. I look up through my closed eyelids at the ceiling, letting the hot water flow over my face, over my lips, and divide onto each side of my nose. I splutter out water from my nose and mouth every once in a while, panicking fleetingly and unnecessarily as I suppress my phobia of suffocation and drowning. And then water fills my ears, and the sounds are drowned, literally, except for a low rumble. It's all I hear. Its the twin sound of the rumbling you hear on board a plane. And suddenly I'm on the plane back to London. i've left Beirut and my mother, my friends, my beautiful sea, my bar on Sadat St., and I'm on a plane, strapped in economy, trying to shift away from my neighbour whose asleep, tipping slowly towards my shoulder and beginning to drool. And I move my head. And its gone. All I hear is water hitting the tub floor, and spurting through the shower head, my eyes open and I see my feet, wet and naked, standing the in the shower in my bathroom in Beirut.

I take the long way home after a night out at the Cabin, with music in the passenger seat. He talks, I listen. He tells me of his broken heart, the rain dogs, the barfly, the weight on his shoulders. He recounts stories of catholic girls, the girl at the bottom of his glass, the red house his baby lived in, how we could be heroes just for one day, and sometimes he hums violins and pianos. And I listen. He sings in English, in Arabic, in alto, soprano. He can hit high notes, and low notes. He makes heads turn as I comb the city streets after midnight, a cigarette in my hand, buildings to my left, the Mediterranean to my right. He's my favourite companion. An ironically silent one. And he does not get annoyed if I drift off. After all, I drift off into his arms. It’s with Him, and Here, that I am truly home.

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