That Year

15 كانون الأول 2015 | 00:00

I have no other choice.

I Have to find a way out. I ride in the car for hours searching for a solution. Nothing.To cry at this point would be a total waste of time. Tears will not bring him back.

No. I have to find a solution.

I am no longer living a story.

This realization shocks me and leaves me numb for hours. All my life I have lived stories. I cannot survive outside the virtual walls of stories. I become anxious. I start to notice people around me.

I sense their motives and I can see their ugly sides.

No. I need a story. Fast.

Reality is too acute for me.

I keep going in circles for days. Mum makes me egg sandwiches and i eat them absent-minded whilst driving for hours in the car.

I choose the Jdeideh area. Heaven knows why. And I move from one street to the other. I eat the sandwiches and I drive.

It is 2004 and I have just gotten out of a love story.

I am in my early thirties and people around me want me to get married yesterday.

And I have just gotten out of yet another love story.

And suddenly I can see the people in my life for who they are and I don't think i can handle it.

I need a story.

I catch a glimpse of a large bookstore. I put the egg sandwich aside and i park the car next to one display window. I have some money so i might as well indulge in a shopping spree.

It is 2004 and shopping for me is equivalent to books and pens and notebooks.

Once inside the huge store I glance on the left side and i see colors. hundreds and hundreds of paint tubes and canvas and coloring pencils.

The books and pens and notebooks can wait.

I vaguely remember that at nineteen, when we first moved from Cyprus to Beirut, I took to coloring and drawing silly figures to pass the time and get over my home sickness for Cyprus where I had grown up.

My feet take me to those endless colorful stands and I slowly, deliberately start to pick coloring tubes and brushes and different shapes of canvas.

Once home, I lock myself in my room and I savagely, ferociously start to mix the colors on the canvas. I sit on the carpet and I swing the canvas on the legs of a chair and hours pass and I am throwing my anger and disappointment on the canvas.

I am in my own world, lamenting through colors about the fact that I am no longer living a story.

Then I look up from my thoughts, and the shocking colors I have thrown on the canvas stare back at me defiantly.

And then days pass, and as soon as i finish writing my articles in the newspaper I head back to the bookstore picking up my art provision, and once home i lock myself in my room and i surrender to the shapes and colors and i dance to the rhythm of the brushes.

I am not a professional so I mix different styles together without knowing what i am doing.

But somehow it seems to work.

I almost forget that i am not living a love story.

I finish canvas after the other, and once they dry, i hide them in my closets. And to reward myself, I go for long rides in the car listening to music. I choose the nights for my rides and the afternoons for my color mixing.

The mornings are for the Arabic language in the newspaper.

One night during my habitual long ride, I find a stray dog sitting quietly on a pavement in the industrial area of Jdeideh. I give him what is left of my egg sandwich.

He eats it happily.

I come back the next night and there he is. This time I give him my whole sandwich. He wolves it down in seconds.

Then one night i find him hanging out with some more stray dogs.

Well, I guess mum must make more sandwiches.

Weeks pass.

I write, I mix colors, I feed the stray dogs who have become my night companions...and even though I have a less than average voice, one night i accompany a singer on my radio whilst doing my evening ride.

The next day I decide to take singing lessons...

Days later, I am in my first singing lesson with Peter,( who has since became a close friend).

I am choking on my tears whilst trying to nail my first song-The Girl From Ipanema- Peter does not understand why I am crying. "I am not living a story", i answer midst my heavy tears.

He stares at me in shock.

More weeks pass.

I write, I mix colors, I feed the stray dogs, I sing.

And then One morning as i am drinking coffee with mum, I suddenly stand up, go to my room, fetch a small notebook and pen, then once back in the living room with mum, I start to write my first diary entry.

Even more weeks pass.

I write my articles, I mix colors on my canvas, I feed my stray furry friends, I sing with Peter who is by now accustomed to my tears, I write diary entry after another.

Then I get a phone call.

Nazha.

My old actor friend.

He invites me over to his place for coffee. we gossip for hours. I keep on returning to his house day after night, midst all the activities I am now religiously pursuing.

"Can I cook tomorrow when I come over?" I ask him one day.

More and more weeks pass.

I write my articles at work as though they were masterpieces, I mix shapes and colors on Canvas in such a ferocious way that even my parents are amazed at the results, I feed tens and tens of stray dogs who have by now become my family, I sing with a newly found confidence I never knew existed in me, I write so many feelings out in my diary entries, that somehow it seems I no longer need any tears...

and at Nazha's place I cook meal after meal, and i play it by ear, mixing ingredients with the same wonder present when I mix colors.

And by George do we gossip!

A whole year passes.

I pursue those activities on a daily basis. All of them.

I have stopped crying.

I am no longer fretting outside the realms of a story...because By George!... I AM LIVING ONE!

مزرعة "TerrAyoun" في جبل صنين: مسكن ملوّن في أرض الأحلام

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