I’m quivering in Beirut with the rest of the community.
The TV antennas are swaying in the wind like burnt fennel stalks and likely causing additional anguish to the huddled families hoping to capture a clean signal for this evening’s program. Wooden shutters are banging on the walls hoping to be reunited with their better halves. Ugly and torn curtains throw themselves out of balconies, but on second thought draw themselves back in, now cowardly and ugly, torn between wind promises and balcony comforts. A lonely frozen raindrop lands on the windowpane and melts my heart, past all the layers of clothes worn in the wrong order, past my prickly cucumber skin, past my thawing flesh and in spite of the basic discomfort of feeling cold at home. This little spitball of ice unlocks my longing to see Beirut dressed white, its icy veil trailing through the streets, its crystalised eyelashes sparkling in the street lights and then weeping in the rising sun, yes, I want it to snow! I want to wake up in the morning, right at dawn, and run out into the street like I used to as a little girl, barefoot, braveheart, squeal with joy at leaving the first footprints in the immaculate blanket of silence. I shall even set an alarm. I shall even risk slipping. If it snows tonight in my street, I will experience a happiness so profound and inexplicable that if I were to later talk about it at work over morning coffee, I will risk total social quarantine.
The headlines we’ve been reading and the photos we’ve been sharing move me to wonder whether crippling thunderstorms as the current one could possibly be the messiah we’ve been waiting for. If only it would linger, stay a moment, a moth life, a month longer, perhaps the imposed house arrest would humble us and our people, the flooded roads would ultimately cripple even the most highly perched snobirds, and perhaps as an outcome, our catastrophic infrastructure and transport system would receive as much attention as do our billboards - torn away one week, slick, sleek and back up by the next. What mighty deluge must we suffer, how many death counts must we swallow, how many bloated cars must we fish out of the water, how many tires must we replace, how many more hours must we steam in traffic, how many buckets must we buy for leaking ceilings, how much longer do we have to sit and wait for this Leba-non to become a Leba-oui?
In this light, waiting for snow seems less ludicrous…