Stories from Afar & Up Close

Home, unnoticed

Coming to Beirut is coming home. Not coming home in a metaphorical or existential sense of 'finally having found a place where I belong' – if anything, Beirut is the slut that makes everybody and nobody feel like she is theirs.

No, Beirut has become home in the way that a hometown is and always will be home: I walk the streets and pass places that I never actively remember when I am not here, but that are part of some kind of physical knowledge, my legs functioning like my fingers that can remember how to play something on the piano as long as my brain doesn't get involved.

Beirut is home because I have memories everywhere, but they, too, are more felt than remembered, not verbalized even in my head.

I've seen places disappear and new places come up, and some of those I've seen disappear as well. It's home because I see it and I don't see it at the same time, the initial place always dominating that location without the shock that it has become something else because I have changed with this city and we both know that all those old things are still inside us as well.

Beirut is home because I am no longer surprised by her.

Beirut is home because I don't notice her anymore.