A week in Beirut: Monday
Some years ago, when we lived in a converted chapel in a little English village, I wrote this:
When I got home after work I found the first fat bee struggling in the middle of the living room floor. I know there will be more, like there were this time last year. Or perhaps it is just the same determined bee, coming back again and again to be rescued.
Before even closing the front door I got the dustpan and brush and swept up the relentless bee, heavy with sleep and spring, and threw him out into the sunshine, where he landed on his feet.
On Monday evening in Beirut, it was a bird not a bee that needed rescuing, a little rust coloured pigeon stuck in our kitchen. I wish I could have scooped him up with a dustpan and brush, but he wasn’t sleepy like the bee, and his wings, and my heart, were too quick with fear.
In the end we called the concierge’s brother-in-law (replacing him while he visits Syria), who came to the rescue, albeit slightly bewildered by the foreigners afraid of birds. When he picked up the pigeon in both hands, he held it out to us, eyebrows up as if to ask Do you want to keep it? Or cook it? eyeing the pot of boiling water waiting (and waiting for the pasta) on the stove.
He couldn’t quite believe that we just wanted him to set it free. What a waste of a bird! he seemed to say with his shrug as he threw it out of the window into the sunshine, where it landed, lightly, on its wings.