I'm sleepless in Beirut.
“Khalas. This is it. I am going to be a drive-by curiosity.” I thought as I jerked forward with my eyes on the rear-view mirror. I didn’t have enough time to judge the speed at which the Honda was coming towards me, but it was so close that the H was already beyond my view. I remember thinking that Dad didn’t know his car was about to be sandwiched.
I looked at the dashboard, no air bags, I looked at Dad, he was intact, I looked at the front of the car, it was inches away from a bumper, I looked at the rear-view mirror, and there was folded blue metal, a genie of steam, a white bubble and a lady in a black and white top rocking back and forth. My dad was already out of the car and on the phone and the lady seemed to be okay; she had the air knocked out of her.
I reached for my seat-belt, only half-ready to see the damage done. I looked at the front first: nothing. I walked towards the back expecting the worst; the Honda stood behind, mauled and with the engine making a loud whirring sound. Our baby was relatively okay, though not without bruises and a trunk that needed a good shove to close.
There was no blood. Nobody in the five cars that had collided was hurt. Everyone was smiling with relief, not a swear word was exchanged. A possible tragedy turned out to be a parody on female driving. Although it must be mentioned that only a quarter of an hour ago, we drove past a guy who had driven his entire car unto the flower bed.
That’s when it hit me. Death could come so suddenly, I wouldn’t even know it. One minute I am here, the next I am gone. Simple as that. What struck me the most was the mundanity of it: it will not be grand, it will not be heroic, it will not be memorable, and it will not necessarily hurt! It will be just another accident, just another trigger for a couple of 7arams and then life will reconfigure itself around it, the blood will dry, the bodies will rot and eventually the memories will fade away until there is not a single trace.
A crystal bowl is filled with candy. A candy wrapper grooms itself in the bright light of the display cabinet. Its paper is blue and shiny, and makes one think of new beginnings when touched. In its neat folds there is promise of something bigger than itself, of something almost perfect. A hand hovers above the bowl for a moment, two fingers zoom in and the candy wrapper feels the warm consequences of its destiny. “So this is what glory feels like,” it thinks as it catches the light so attractively it leaves no room to doubt its chosen” one-edness”. The fingers drop it into a pocket and it is the only candy wrapper in this pocket and the pocket becomes its kingdom. Being a ruler seems to come so naturally, it almost feels effortless. All of a sudden, it is pulled by its hair, crumpled into a ball and thrown in the waste bin.
So don’t get any big ideas about being special. Don’t expect to go out with a bang and a marching band. Death is as mundane as a fly sitting on a wall. Death is as uneventful as an empty page in your schedule. Death is simple. On. Off. Almost desirable amidst the chaos.