Oh, God, Buddha, Jesus, النبي محمد, Universe,
I don’t know if you are real or something I imagine. Maybe you are one thing. Maybe Satan is part of you. Maybe you are the embodiment of both good and evil. I do not know. I am only one man. One witness to the power of your creation. One small spark – a single thought, perhaps. Perhaps a collisions between universes. Some friction. Like two pieces of sand paper rubbing against each other. Something catches. There is a snag. And then bang. How many billions of years and then I come into existence. Because of that one singular event. Of perhaps you desire to confuse me and tell me that I thought myself into existence. Your books, supposedly, your word whether it is in a science text book or one heavily layered in musk and incense of the ages, tell me a story. That I was created in the image of something I evolved from. Or from a supernatural act of creation. And you gave us the mind to believe. Anything we choose. You made us love the story so much that we cling to it. Hold on it it. Desperate for some shred of meaning. You let us build a house of cards out into the dark matter. A construct. Like some free magic creature. We assembled a foundation for belief. We marshaled our thoughts into order and told all that were to come after us, to follow the bloodline in our path, that they would not be able to stray outside the perimeter that is the limit of the human mind to conceive. You shall not. It is forbidden. ممنوع Oh, what a cruel joke. Existence.
Christ! I feel like F. Murray Abraham when he prays to Christ on the Cross in Amadeus… “Lord, make me musical… why did you make me mute! make me a great composer and I will give you my loyalty – my chastity, my work.” It’s perhaps the most brilliantly acted scene in all of cinematic history… now it’s my turn to paraphrase.
Lord, give me one perfect day in Beirut again. Bring the sun out over the Cornice. Illuminate the people walking on it. A young or old Lebanese couple strolling down its way. Seeing completely different visions of a city that once was and now is. Or a pack of young Lebanese youth skateboarding and running around – some playing near the water, laughing and screaming for joy, gliding around on scooters. Or perhaps an older Lebanese woman sitting near the mosque. She’s wearing a black hijab. She looks so peaceful. Her crinkled face looking out over Ain El Mreisseh. The call to prayer goes off. It’s one of those times during the day. You can hear it echoing all around the city. Down on the Cornice it mixes in with the calls of gulls and the ebb and flow of human conversation. It is beautiful. Each mosque has its own unique Call to Prayer. Its one of those things that makes Beirut, Beirut. (Getting a little sidetracked here – but this is where I’ll start writing the book I’m going to eventually write on Beirut).
…Lord… give me one perfect day with my two favorite Lebanese people in the whole wide world. The two people who changed my life forever. I feel like they have both abandoned me forever. One attempted to banish me from his heart and the other pursues his dreams. I know I should be grateful for them. For how they changed my life completely and utterly to the point that I have no memory of who I used to be. They are the most amazing people I know. One was the reason I found this city in the first place. This place unlike any other on earth. The other made me fall in love with it. As I sat on the Ferris Wheel with him looking out over its skyline, the sun sinking into the sea, gradually letting its last rays filter through the high-rise residential buildings that so characterize the waterfront of the city. Everything was made of gold. It was as if the sun, now turning orange and red, had uncovered a truth of some sort. At this moment in time everyone was Beirut and Beirut was everyone. There was no differentiating between the two. A city humming with life, while two people rode the Ferris wheel hand in hand. There was such beauty in the moment. As if everything had collided to make that one moment in time possible.
Looks like I can write this book after all.
Was thinking of entitling it… This is Beirut.