They say home is where the heart is. But when your home breaks your heart, do you look for a different home?
That’s essentially me. Over the past four years, sometimes on the pages of this blog, I shed all the broken pieces of the heart that Lebanon broke. In 2005, when a car bomb put the country on an existential trajectory, I shifted gears, changed my cause, and started an epic to defend a picture of Lebanon that, looking back, had never been, and will probably never be.
Around the same time, my heart was acquiring a different home. The move began one sunny morning in a city otherwise known for its fog, and continued when two angels came into my life, giving me a new sense of purpose, and anchoring me to a new reality.
Lebanon became my past, and though it survived in words I typed on this blog, it started to take the backseat with every diaper change and every family celebration outside the Lebanese box. Last year, fate had it that I became a US citizen without any family by my side, as if to test my new loyalty. I waved the American flag alone, swore to defend my adopted country, and promised to renounce allegiance to my birthplace. From then on, the USA became first. Lebanon was past tense.
It became harder to blog. It had been gradual. It was one disappointment after the other. It’s not like I didn’t know what to expect. But my past just did not want to end. It continued into my present, shackling me with a weight that I could not bear. Not if I wanted to live free. The end came, however, when I saw the passport. Like others like me, it seems, I had been waiting for the ship. And when the ship came, I took it, willingly, and with a sense of satisfaction mixed with the sweet taste of revenge. I am finally where I can be better.
My new American dream replaced my Lebanese nightmare, at least during the day, when ghosts hide under pillows. At night, however, they rear their ugly heads, redrawing that path of self-torture that raised me. I will probably always dream of the shells, the darkness of the shelter, and the frustrations of living small in a place that pretends to be large. But when the light rises from behind the hill, I am new. Remember that myth about the Phoenix rising from the ashes? It is true. But in my case, life came back somewhere else.
That was my past. Thank you for reading. This blog is over. My story begins.