I was in Dubai for another weekend and, this time, it wasn’t the same as last February. When I came back a few months ago, my love for you was revitalized and I was happy to be home. This trip was different. For the first time, home didn’t feel like it cared if I was even there. For the first time, I didn’t want to come back.
A year has passed since I stopped to ask myself, “why do you stay?”. A war, a string of explosions, and daily struggles did not scare me and yet, now, I can’t justify my current life choice. The reasons that kept my feet firmly buried in the sand don’t feel comforting anymore, they feel like excuses. I have dear memories but murky thoughts; you’re not what you used to be to me and I don’t know what happened. I am here wondering if I’m limiting myself from the growth that every young adult needs- the kind that is not satiated by rooftop bars, private beaches, and manouche. Growth that comes from being self-sufficient in a functioning forward-thinking society. Have I settled for less than what I deserve? Maybe I woke up, maybe I’m exhausted, maybe I outgrew you. Maybe you don’t want to be who I know you are. Maybe I don’t want to wait until you get your act together, if you ever do. Maybe I need to get my act together first.
Only a few days after returning, I am reminded that danger lurks while the people are concerned with foiled summer plans and football matches. Even I started to wonder how this would affect my social life rather than how it could affect my overall tomorrow or just my drive home from work – that’s when I knew there was a problem. Threats to your safety are not supposed to be seen as an “inconvenience.” I will still defend you to the vacationing foreigner in the hot tub who claims that we’re an aimless doomed country but something has changed. I still love you but something has changed. That future I saw with you is blurry after being in a place with 2020 vision – a place that has a common goal that they’re all working toward, all attempting to make into a reality.
A city can only claim superiority that springs from culture & authenticity for so long before it drowns in its own delusions and inflated pride. While we bask in our rich heritage, destroy what is left of it, and become our own worst enemy, some of our neighbors surpass us in ambition and development leaving us in their towering shadows. We need to work as one, with humility, toward the Lebanon that we dream of while being fully aware that it could slip through our fingers if we lose sight of what really matters.
I’m confident that I’ll find my way back to you. Perhaps then, I’ll be strong enough for the both of us but I feel like I can’t save you at the moment. I need to put the oxygen mask on myself before I try to help you – unfortunately, all the masks here give an inadequate supply leaving me gasping for air.
I have another vacation coming up. Being away for more than just a few days may give us the break we need. However, if I were to leave for good at some point, my greatest fear is that you wouldn’t even notice, you wouldn’t even miss me if I was gone.
But I know I’d miss you.