Beirut is every old building, every skyscraper. Beirut hides in every dark corner, every lost street, and every spooky alley. Beirut has a thousand ways to reach the same destination; it is a maze of stairs, sidewalks and highways linking every corner of the city to the other. Beirut is in the street art, from the shocking statements to the sweet messages on the walls; it is the colorful posters and ads; it is the face of a martyr standing in front of his flag.
Beirut is the laundry on the balconies, the laundry on the rooftops. Beirut is the electric cables bursting out of random places. Beirut is the coffee shops, the library, the supermarket, the butcher’s and the mall.
Beirut is the minaret and the church bell.
Beirut learns to ignore the fact that it woke up to the sound of a dozen cars honking simultaneously. Beirut is the never-ending constructions.
Beirut watches the sunrise behind the cement jungle as it’s waiting for the school bus. Beirut is the smell of coffee in the streets and the sound of two coffee cups thumping against each other at 6AM.
Beirut watches the sunset at the waterfront, waiting for the grey polluted sky to turn red. Beirut is the blinking lights of the boats leaving the port, the deafening sound of the planes landing in the airport.
Beirut is the sound of thousands of generators buzzing three hours a day. Beirut takes electricity cuts into consideration while scheduling its day. Beirut gets out of the most relaxing shower even if the water stopped running just after it poured shampoo on its hair.
Beirut is the cursing of an angry man at the TV every day at 8PM. Beirut loves being a mess and makes everyone talk about it. Beirut is a drama queen.
Beirut is every glass of alcohol poured on a Saturday night; Beirut is the cigarette smoke rising until it reaches the moon.
Beirut never sleeps because Beirut can never do everything it has planned.
Beirut is the old man, smoking his arguileh, playing tawleh in the middle of the road. Beirut is the fake boobs, the fake ass, the fake nose, walking besides a lost child in downtown. Beirut is the veiled woman and her almost naked friend. Beirut knows all about the cab driver’s life after a 10-minute ride. Beirut is the neighbor and his son, the cousin and her dog, the co-worker and his girlfriend, the hairdresser and his mom, the old high-school friend and her husband; Beirut is a family.
But Beirut doesn’t need people’s company: Beirut just needs the city.
Beirut is my best friend drinking a bottle of wine on the sidewalk and laughing her ass off at something that doesn’t even matter. Beirut is my lover smiling and making me forget everything around me.
Beirut is the city you cannot explain, the experience you cannot share. Beirut is the place you can’t shake off your head.
Beirut will always be here, but you won’t. Beirut won’t miss you, but you will. Beirut creates, but you follow. Beirut happens, but you are. Beirut doesn’t need you, but you do.
Beirut is where you were; Beirut is where you are.
Beirut isn’t where you will be.
This is why you crave it so much.
Because Beirut is where you will always want to be.