A week in Beirut: Sunday
A bright-eyed Lebanese friend came for lunch, wearing sunglasses and bearing gifts of cherries and stories to share. Among other things, I learnt that:
-If you have blue eyes (like he does and I do) and live in hot countries (like this one) it’s very important that you wear sunglasses all the time you are outside to prevent damage from the sun. He said it was (more than 70 years) too late for him, but not for me.
-If your cherry tree isn’t bearing fruit (like his isn’t) you can cure it by planting ‘pills that prevent pregnancy’ around its base in the winter and then, according to his car mechanic (and a surprising number of other people in Lebanon) it will produce abundant cherries the following summer. He said he was too embarrassed to buy the pills, but I promised to do it for him if we’re still here in winter.
And last, but not at all least
-If you are Lebanese, you have a ‘war story’, whether you were living next door or on the other side of the world from it. A story that can make you turn your face away, like when you try to look directly at the sun, light years away but still unbearable.
Oh Lebanon, how I wish there was a cure as quick as planting pills, for the horror in the hearts of your people.
And how I wish that it was as simple as wearing sunglasses to prevent it from ever happening again.