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I'm sleepless above the ocean.


A hum like a well-oiled engine, hum like the ocean, and then a note rolls in, recedes, builds up, recedes wavering, bass buoyant on a surface of light...

Shimmm el ya-a-smi-i-ne

W dou2. El debs

The quaint hiss of the last -s did it for me. Hamed whispered surrender into my ears, sound surrounding us in our loss. I have seen him always serious and always from afar and that never helped to understand him. Too serious, discrete, like in hiding, and then rebellious and revolutionary, like a rockstar, like always one part of a diptych, the other, a part of a myth.

And then that momentary hiss of an -s. Nostalgic. Sincere. Serious for a reason. Discrete for a reason. Rebellious for a reason. Revolution that follows loss, and it resonates in me, because I'm going to lose. Soon.

Bi t7eeni.



That's when my throat begins to hurt, to turn hard the walls of the hollow tube that empties the insides of my stomach, filling it up with the sense of falling when I think of meeting Imaginary Extraordinary Him. His cheeks in my palms, his warm breath condensing above my upper lip, our lips fusing like mitosis in reverse, the rough wet surfaces of our tongues feeling each other's texture, mine slipping under his into the humid folds beneath his tongue and then giving his tip an upward nudge with the tip of mine, pulling his upper lip from the inside, so that it's far out enough to deliver my terminal nibble. That.


And now it's not about anyone specific, it's about loss, not mine, but Hamed's. It's about a voice.

That, I'm drunk on that.

I lean backwards and close my eyes, feeling the left tear spill over the eyelid and the right one trying to catch up in bursting. I focus on their course, instead of their cause; the metawaterfall too physical, too overwhelming, like a bag of jumbled Scrabble letters, like a mirage of thoughts swirling in a cup.

The pulls exerted by his voice pull at my tears and they cusp my jawline. My hands cup his face like they did when we first met and they hold him long enough to say goodbye without actually saying it.

The whistling, the strum of the guitar encourage me to go through with it. Do it. Do it. Don't back away. C'est la vie. Nothing lasts, only moments that feel like they last forever, and if I will have to say goodbye it will only be because I said hello.

And the dreamy lyrics tawajli albi. It'll be worth it. Even my albi.

I'll buy the ticket. I'll cook him food. I'll iron his shirts. We'll name our kids. We won't make them, but we will make love. We'll forget to forget.

Bass inta bi baitak.

W ana bi Beirut, bi baiti.

W bainetna el bahar.

But now that I'm here, I'll go make memories that I will try to unremember the day when loss will become too much to bare and Hamed's voice will fill me up and soothe the pain.



  1. I love that song. I traveled for about a month over the summer. I would listen to it sometimes, in the evening, and it would always make me cry. Something about the traditional little Lebanese girls hiding within the rebellious avant-garde women that we claim to be; "Maybe the fairytale exists," they whisper, "Maybe there will be a man I'll want to take care of." With love inevitably comes loss. As always, kudos on the courageous prose.

  2. wow!i always end up in tears when i hear the song...great writing! genius...

  3. This song is my 'breakup song' ... too emotional!