I’m leaving this party at the German Oriental Institute, I don’t know if it’s the right name. I met a Tunisian-German. I met a German-German. I thought about fucking them, both of them. Is she jealous? Of course she isn’t jelous. I’m drinking wine. She’s drinking arak. We are smoking cigarettes. She tells me she told him, “I love you.” I told her she is stupid. I didn’t use those words. I don’t know. Maybe I did. I don’t know. I drink more wine. She leaves. I talk to other people I know. I wish I left with her. I thought about leaving with her. She would have been mad. Why would she have been mad? I could have told her I loved her. I could have told her she is the only thing that makes sense. Why didn’t I tell her? I’ll never tell her.
So, I waste time. I chat. I pretend I’m interested. I don’t want to be here. I talk about my ex. I talk about how I loved her. I talk about how I fucked it up. I talk about how it was fair. I listen. I don’t care, not really.
I get more wine. I decide to leave. Fuck this shit.
“Hey are you leaving soon.”
“Talk to me in five minutes.”
She isn’t leaving soon. I decide to leave. I’m leaving.
“Bye! I’m leaving. Let’s do something soon.”
“Let’s do something tomorrow.”
“If not tomorrow, this weekend.”
I’m walking on the street. Where the fuck can I find a God damn service? Fuck. I have to walk to the highway. Whatever.
I walk. Should I smoke a cigarette? No. Fuck it. I will smoke when I get home.
I get in the cab. We are driving. I check my phone. I see her message, nothing important. What am I doing? Why did I leave? God damn, I wish I was more social. Fuck those people. I didn’t like them anyway. They will all leave soon. They’re not worth my time. I’m sick of people leaving. Khalas.
“Btfadal. Ana benzel hone.”
I open the cab door.
The driver asks me something about why I’m not paying “taxi.”
He says something about how it’s taxi only now. He is full of shit. He thinks I’m a foreigner. I am a foreigner. I’ve been here four years. I will never be Lebanese.
“Ma 3andi aktar habibi.”
It’s a lie. I have more than $200 in my wallet. I don’t care. This is the game. I get out of the cab. He drives away. I cross the street in front of a speeding car. Fuck it. He won’t hit me. They don’t hit pedestrians.
I’m walking down the side street to my crappy apartment. I stop to light a cigarette. Fuck it. I don’t care. I keep walking. I’m almost home. This is my street.
What am I doing here? Fuck. I just signed that one year contract on that amazing flat. I’m trapped. I can’t leave. I did it again.
Lebanon is like a clingy lover, a relationship that you can’t move past.
I stand outside my building. I’m smoking this God damn cigarette. Fucking Cedars are so God damn cheap. I’m not exercising. I’m not doing anything. I’m not moving forward. I’m stuck. I’m trapped. I trapped myself. Maybe if I told her. I start having the conversation again in my head.
“I love you. You’re the only thing that makes sense. I always want to be with you. I don’t know if I can make you happy. I don’t think you want me like that. I don’t know if I will always want you like that. Sometimes you might want someone else. Sometimes I might not want you. But I love you. I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. I’m scared. I don’t know how to tell you. I will probably never tell you. You won’t care. It’s not like the movies.”
What am I doing here? I’m doing research, research for my novel. It’s a novel I will probably never write.
Let’s be honest. This is just my life. It’s a dream. It’s a mirage. It’s a fantasy or a half truth.
The cigarette is half finished. A couple walks past me, entering our building, this shitty place with the fucking Virgin in the entryway. Maybe I won’t finish this cigarette? Maybe I will never leave Lebanon? Maybe nothing will ever change? Maybe I will never tell her? Maybe it doesn’t matter.
No. I will smoke the God damn cigarette until the end. Then I will smoke another inside. Fuck it.
I finish the cigarette. I put it out in the dirt under the shrub by the entrance. I enter. I don’t look at the God damn Virgin. Fuck her. She is dead. What the fuck.
I’m so happy. I love this shit hole. I love this shitty place. I trapped myself. I can’t leave here. I can’t leave her. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to stay here. There is no future plan. There is nothing without her and this place.
Why not taxi?